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Manufacturing Processes

Manufacturing: Introduction

Overview The word manufacturing is derived from the Latin manu factus, meaning made by hand

Manufacturing involves making products from raw materials by various processes or operations

Manufacturing is generally a complex activity, involving people who have a broad range of disciplines and skills and a wide variety of machinery, equipment, and tooling with various levels of automation, including computers, robots, and material-handling equipment

Manufacturing activities must be responsive to several demands and trends:

• A product must fully meet design requirements and specifications

• A product must be manufactured by the most economical methods in order to minimize costs

• Quality must be built into the product at each stage, from design to assembly, rather than relying on quality testing after the product is made

• In a highly competitive environment, production methods must be sufficiently flexible so as to respond to changing market demands, types of products, production rates, production quantities, and on-time delivery to the customer

• New developments in materials, production methods, and computer integration of both technological and managerial activities in a manufacturing organization must constantly be evaluated with a view to their timely and economic implementation

• Manufacturing activities must be viewed as a large system, each part of which is interrelated to others

Such systems can be modelled in order to study the effect of factors such as changes in market demands, product design, material and various other costs, and production methods on product quality and cost

• The manufacturing organization must constantly strive for higher productivity, defined as the optimum use of all its resources: materials, machines, energy, capital, labour and technology

Output per employee per hour in all phases must be maximized

Many processes are used to produce parts and shapes

There is usually more than one method of manufacturing a part from a given material

The broad categories of processing methods for materials are:

Metal Casting Metal Forming & shaping Plastics Molding & Forming

Expendable mold and permanent mold

Rolling, forging, extrusion, drawing, sheet forming, powder metallurgy, and molding

Blow Molding, CNC Machining, Centrifugal Casting, Continuous Strip Molding, Compression Molding, Profile Extrusion, Continuous Lamination, Injection Molding, Filament Winding, Thermoforming,Vacuum Forming, Pressure Bag Molding, Pressure Forming, Pulshaping, Twin Sheet Forming, Pultrusion, Liquid Resin Molding, Reaction Injection Molding (RIM),

Rotational Molding, Resin transfer molding (RTM)

Rapid Prototyping




Turning, boring, drilling, milling, planing, shaping, broaching, grinding, ultrasonic machining, chemical, electrical, and electrochemical machining and high-energy beam machining

Finishing Operations

Honing, lapping, polishing, burnishing, deburring, surface treating, coating and plating processes


Non-Traditional Machining Processes

Introduction When people hear the word "machining" they generally think of machines that utilize mechanical energy to remove material from the work piece

Milling machines, saws and lathes are some of the most common machines using mechanical energy to remove material

The tool makes contact with the work piece and the resulting shear causes the material to flow over the tool

All traditional forms of metal cutting use shear as the primary method of material removal

However, there are other sources of energy at work

Chemical energy has a significant effect on every turning operation

Think of the effect that different kinds of coolants have on the cutting action of a tool

Some amount of chemical energy is being used in most metal cutting operations

All forms of manufacturing use more than one type of energy

The category of nontraditional machining covers a broad range of technologies, including some that are used on a large scale, and others that are only used in unique or proprietary applications

These machining methods generally have higher energy requirements and slower throughputs than traditional machining, but have been developed for applications where traditional machining methods were impractical, incapable, or uneconomical

Nontraditional machining can be thought of as operations that do not use shear as their primary source of energy

For example, abrasive water jet operations use mechanical energy, but material is removed by erosion

Non traditional machining methods are typically divided into the following categories:





These machine tools were developed primarily to shape the ultrahard alloys used in heavy industry and in aerospace applications and to shape and etch the ultrathin materials used in such electronic devices as microprocessors

Non-traditional Machining Processes Abrasive Flow Machinging

Electron Beam Machining (EBM) Ion Beam Milling

Abrasive Flow Machining (AFM) Abrasive Flow Machine (AFM) is a nontraditional machining process that is used to deburr, polish, radius, and remove recast layers of critical components in aerospace, automotive, electronic and die-making industries

Extrude Hone patented the Abrasive Flow Machining (AFM) process in the 1960's as a method to deburr, polish and radius difficult-to-reach surfaces

AFM operates by flowing an abrasive laden viscoelastic compound through a restrictive passage formed by a workpart/tooling combination

Inaccessible areas and complex contours both internal and external can be finished economically and productively

The workpiece is hydraulically clamped between two vertically opposing media cylinders

The AFM process starts with the lower cylinder filled with the proper volume of the abrasive laden media

The media is then extruded through the work-piece and into the upper media cylinder

The procedure is reversed as the media is fed back through the part and into the lower cylinder

This combination of one upstroke and one downstroke constitutes a complete AFM cycle

AFM can work within areas that are inaccessible to conventional manual finishing methods

Unlike conventional processes, AFM can be

fully automated to provide a much more cost-effective method of finishing extrusion dies and aircraft and aerospace components

AFM is used in a wide range of finishing operations

It can simultaneously process multiple parts or many areas of a single workpiece

Inaccessible areas and complex internal passages can be finished economically and effectively

Automatic AFM systems are capable of handling thousands of parts per day, greatly reducing labor costs by eliminating tedious handwork

By understanding and controlling the process parameters, AFM can be applied to an impressive range of finishing operations that provide uniform, repeatable, predictable results

Anywhere that the media can be forced to flow represents a practical application

Chemical Machining Chemical Machining aides in the manufacture of light gauge metal parts

The photo etching process (also called chemical etching and chemical milling) allows people to produce intricate metal components with close tolerances that are impossible to duplicate by other production methods

It is also known as chemical milling

Applications Chemical Machining is utilized in the manufacturing of encoders, masks, filters, lead frames, flat springs, strain gauges, laminations, chip carriers, step covers, fuel cell plates, heat sinks, shutter blades, electron grids, fluidic circuit plates, reticles, drive bands, haptics, and shims

Chemical Milling Chemical Milling aides in the manufacture of light gauge metal parts

The photo etching process (also called chemical etching and chemical milling) allows people to produce intricate metal components with close tolerances that are impossible to duplicate by other production methods

It is also known as chemical machining

Applications Chemical Milling is utilized in the manufacturing of encoders, masks, filters, lead frames, flat springs, strain gauges, laminations, chip carriers, step covers, fuel cell plates, heat sinks, shutter blades, electron grids, fluidic circuit plates, reticles, drive bands, haptics, and shims

Electrical Discharge Grinding

Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM), also known as spark erosion, employs electrical energy to remove metal from the workpiece without touching it

A pulsating high- frequency electric current is applied between the tool point and the workpiece, causing sparks to jump the gap and vaporize small areas of the workpiece

Because no cutting forces are involved, light, delicate operations can be performed on thin workpieces

EDM can produce shapes unobtainable by any conventional machining process

Ram EDM A process using a shaped electrode made from graphite or copper

The electrode is separated by a nonconductive liquid and maintained at a close distance (about 0

A high DC voltage is pulsed to the electrode and jumps to the conductive workpiece

The resulting sparks erode the workpiece and generate a cavity in the reverse shape of the electrode, or a through hole in the case of a plain electrode

Permits machining shapes to tight accuracies without the internal stresses conventional machining often generates

Also known as “die-sinker” or “sinker” electrical-discharge machining

Wire EDM A process similar to sinker electrical-discharge machining except a small-diameter copper or brass wire is used as a traveling electrode

The process is usually used in conjunction with a CNC and will only work when a part is to be cut completely through

A common analogy is to describe wire electricaldischarge machining as an ultraprecise, electrical, contour-sawing operation

Applications EDM permits machining shapes to tight accuracies without the internal stresses conventional machining often generates

Useful in diemaking

Electrochemical Discharge Grinding (ECDG)

Electrochemical-discharge grinding is a combination of electrochemical grinding and electrical-discharge machining

The process is very similar to conventional EDM except a grinding-wheel type of electrode is used

Material is removed by both processes

Like any EDM process, the workpiece and the grinding wheel never come into contact


Electrochemical Grinding (ECG) Electrochemical grinding combines electrical and chemical energy for metal removal with an EDM finish

It is a non-abrasive process and, therefore, produces precise cuts that are free of heat, stress, burrs and mechanical distortions

It is avariation on electrochemical machining that uses a conductive, rotating abrasive wheel

The chemical solution is forced between the wheel and the workpiece

The shape of the wheel determines the final shape


Electrochemical Honing


Electrochemical machining (ECM) Electrochemical machining (ECM) also uses electrical energy to remove material

An electrolytic cell is created in an electrolyte medium, with the tool as the cathode and the workpiece as the anode

A high-amperage, low-voltage current is used to dissolve the metal and to remove it from the workpiece, which must be electrically conductive

ECM is essentially a deplating process that utilizes the principles of electrolysis

The ECM tool is positioned very close to the workpiece and a low voltage, high amperage DC current is passed between the two via an electrolyte

Material is removed from the workpiece and the flowing electrolyte solution washes the ions away

These ions form metal hydroxides which are removed from the electrolyte solution by centrifugal separation

Both the electrolyte and the metal sludge are then recycled

Unlike traditional cutting methods, workpiece hardness is not a factor, making ECM suitable for difficult-to-machine materials

Takes such forms as electrochemical grinding, electrochemical honing and electrochemical turning

Electrochemical deburring is another variation on electrochemical machining designed to remove burrs and impart small radii to corners

The process normally uses a specially shaped electrode to carefully control the process to a specific area

The process will work on material regardless of hardness

Advantages of Electrochemical Machining (ECM) 1

The components are not subject to either thermal or mechanical stress

There is no tool wear during Electrochemical machining

Non-rigid and open work pieces can be machined easily as there is no contact between the tool and workpiece

Complex geometrical shapes can be machined repeatedly and accurately 5

Electrochemical machining is a time saving process when compared with conventional machining 6

During drilling, deep holes can be made or several holes at once

ECM deburring can debur difficult to access areas of parts

Fragile parts which cannot take more loads and also brittle material which tend to develop cracks during machining can be machined easily through Electrochemical machining 9

Surface finishes of 25 µ in

can be achieved during Electrochemical machining

Electrochemical Turning (ECT) A variation of Electrochemical Machining


Electron-beam Machining

The process is performed in a vacuum chamber to reduce the scattering of electrons by gas molecules in the atmosphere

The electron beam is aimed using magnets to deflect the stream of electrons and is focused using an electromagnetic lens

The stream of electrons is directed against a precisely limited area of the workpiece

on impact, the kinetic energy of the electrons is converted into thermal energy that melts and vaporizes the material to be removed, forming holes or cuts

Typical applications are annealing, welding, and metal removal

A hole in a sheet 1

EBM equipment is commonly used by the electronics industry to aid in the etching of circuits in microprocessors

Ion Beam Milling

The grains of sand are actually submicron ion particles accelerated to bombard the surface of the work mounted on a rotating table inside a vacuum chamber

The work is typically a wafer, substrate or element that requires material removal by atomic sandblasting or dry etching

A selectively applied protectant, photo sensitive resist, is applied to the work element prior to introduction into the ion miller

The resist protects the underlying material during the etching process which may be up to eight hours or longer, depending upon the amount to be removed and the etch rate of the materials

Everything that is exposed to the collimated ion beam (may be 15" in diameter in some equipment) etches during the process cycle, even the resist

In most micromachining applications the desired material to be removed etches at a rate 3 to 10 times faster than the resist protectant thus preserving the material and features underneath the resist

Applications Ion Beam Milling is used in fabricating electronic and mechanical elements for a wide variety of commercial, industrial, military and satellite applications including custom film circuits for RF and Microwave circuits

Laser-beam machining

LBM is particularly suited to making accurately placed holes

It can be used to perform precision micromachining on all microelectronic substrates such as ceramic, silicon, diamond, and graphite

Examples of microelectronic micromachining include cutting, scribing & drilling all substrates, trimming any hybrid resistors, patterning displays of glass or plastic and trace cutting on semiconductor wafers and chips

Applications The LBM process can make holes in refractory metals and ceramics and in very thin materials without warping the workpiece

The laser can scribe, drill, mark, and cut thin metals and ceramics, trim resistors, and process plastics, silicon, diamond, and graphite with tolerances to one micron

Laser Cutting Laser cutting is the process of vaporizing material in a very small, well-defined area

The laser itself is a single point cutting source with a very small point, (0

001" to 0

020" / 0

025mm to 0

The advantages of cutting with a laser make it a preferred choice over conventional cutting methods

Laser Cutting Advantages 1

There is almost no limit to the cutting path

the point can move in any direction unlike other processes that use knives or saws

The process is forceless allowing very fragile or flimsy parts to be laser cut with no support

Since the laser beam exerts no force on the part and is a very small spot, the technology is well suited to fabricating high accuracy parts, especially flexible materials

The part keeps its original shape from start to finish

The laser beam is always sharp and can cut very hard or abrasive materials

Sticky materials that would otherwise gum up a blade are not an obstacle for a laser

Lasers cut at high speeds

The speed at which the material can be processed is limited only by the power available from the laser

Cutting with lasers is a very cost effective process with low operating and maintenance costs and maximum flexibility

Laser Drilling Laser drilling is the process of repeatedly pulsing focused laser energy at a specific material

The laser beam consistently drills holes down to 0

Holes with length-to-diameter ratios of up to 50 can be drilled with reliable, high quality results

With lasers it is possible to drill in very difficult locations using mirrors to bend the beam

Laser drilling at very high rates, 1000 pulses per second or greater, is also possible

Laser Drilling Advantages

Using laser system software, the operator instantly can control hole shape and size to produce round, oval or rectangular holes, or any shape imaginable

This eliminates downtime due to tool changes

Very small holes can be laser drilled in production

A focused spot can be as small as 0

Since the tool is a beam of light, the tool never needs to be replaced eliminating downtime because of punch breakage

Photo Chemical Machining

This technique avoids burrs, no mechanical stresses are built into the parts and the properties of the metal worked are not affected

Hardened and tempered metals are machined as easily as regular metals

The technique is ideal for machining thin metals and foils

Parts with very precise and

intricate designs can be produced without difficulty

The photo chemical machining/milling processes can precisely etch lines and spaces on all types of metals (alloys: kovar, nickel, brass, beryllium, copper, stainless steel, aluminum, and others) with detailed accuracies

This is used for creating specialty flex circuits, plus in engineering of other rigid technologies

This results in a burr free part with very close tolerances

Applications The technique is ideal for machining thin metals and foils

Parts with very precise and intricate designs can be produced without difficulty

Plasma Arc Machining Plasma-arc machining (PAM) employs a high-velocity jet of high-temperature gas to melt and displace material in its path

Called PAM, this is a method of cutting metal with a plasma-arc, or tungsten inertgas-arc, torch

The torch produces a high velocity jet of high-temperature ionized gas called plasma that cuts by melting and removing material from the workpiece

Temperatures in the plasma zone range from 20,000° to 50,000° F (11,000° to 28,000° C)

It is used as an alternative to oxyfuel-gas cutting, employing an electric arc at very high temperatures to melt and vaporize the metal

Applications The materials cut by PAM are generally those that are difficult to cut by any other means, such as stainless steels and aluminum alloys

It has an accuracy of about 0

Ultrasonic Machining Ultrasonic machining (USM) is a mechanical material removal process used to erode holes and cavities in hard or brittle workpieces by using shaped tools, high frequency mechanical motion, and an abrasive slurry

A relatively soft tool is shaped as desired and vibrated against the workpiece while a mixture of fine abrasive and water flows between them

The friction of the abrasive particles gradually cuts the workpiece

Materials such as hardened steel, carbides, rubies, quartz, diamonds, and glass can easily be machined by USM

Ultrasonic machining is able to effectively machine all materials harder than HRc 40, whether or not the material is an electrical conductor or an insulator

Waterjet Machining A water jet cutter is a tool capable of slicing into metal or other materials using a jet of water at high velocity and pressure

It is often used during fabrication or manufacture of parts for machinery and other devices

It has found applications in a diverse number of industries from mining to aerospace where it is used for operations such as cutting, shaping, carving, reaming

The cutter is commonly connected to a high-pressure water pump (a local water main does not supply sufficient pressure) where the water is then ejected out of the nozzle, cutting through the material by bombarding it with the stream of high-speed water

Additives in the form of suspended grit or other abrasives, such as sand and silicon carbide, can assist in this process

Because the nature of the cutting stream can be easily modified, water jets can be used to cut materials as diverse as fish sticks and titanium

Beyond cost cutting, the waterjet process is recognized as the most versatile and fastest growing process in the world (per Frost & Sullivan and the Market Intelligence Research Corporation)

Waterjets are used in high production applications across the globe

They compliment other technologies such as milling, laser, EDM, plasma and routers

No noxious gases or liquids are used in waterjet cutting, and waterjets do not create hazardous materials or vapors

No heat effected zones or mechanical stresses are left on a waterjet cut surface

It is truly a versatile, productive, cold cutting process

The most important benefit of the water jet cutter is its ability to cut material without interfering with the materials inherent structure as there is no "heat affected zone" or HAZ

This allows metals to be cut without harming their intrinsic properties

The waterjet has shown that it can do things that other technologies simply cannot

From cutting whisper thin details in stone, glass and metals

to rapid hole drilling of titanium

to cutting of food, to the killing of pathogens in beverages and dips, the waterjet has proven itself unique History of Waterjets WaterJet Cutting is a technology that has mainly evolved in the past two decades and it has created ripples within the manufacturing industry during this time, due to its versatility and flexibility in usage

Many types of water jets exist today, including plain water jets, abrasive water jets, percussive water jets, cavitation jets and hybrid jets

Norman Franz is regarded as the father of the waterjet

He was the first person who studied the use of ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) water as a cutting tool

The term UHP is defined as more than 30,000 pounds per square inch (psi)

Franz, a forestry engineer, wanted to find new ways to slice thick trees into lumber

In the 1950's, Franz first dropped heavy weights onto columns of water, forcing that water through a tiny orifice

He obtained short bursts of very high pressures (often many times higher than are currently in use), and was able to cut wood and other materials

His later studies involved more continuous streams of water, but he found it difficult to obtain high pressures continually

Also, component life was measured in minutes, not weeks or months as it is today

Franz never made a production lumber cutter

Ironically, today wood cutting is a very minor application for UHP technology

But Franz proved that a focused beam of water at very high velocity had enormous cutting power — a power that could be utilized in applications beyond Dr

Franz's wildest dreams

Only in the 1970s did the usage of water for cutting start advancing noticably

Today the water jet is unparalelled in many aspects of cutting and has changed the way products are manufactured

AbrasiveJet Machining Abrasive waterjet cutting systems (abrasivejet) use a combination of water and garnet to cut through materials considered "unmachineable" by conventional cutting methods

Using small amounts of water while eliminating the friction caused by toolto-part contact, abrasivejet cutting avoids thermal damage or heat affected zones (HAZ) which can adversely affect metallurgic properties in materials being cut

The ability to pierce through material also eliminates the need and cost of drilling starter holes

Because abrasivejet cuts with a narrow kerf, parts can be tightly nested thus maximizing material usage

Abrasive waterjet can cut through materials ranging from 1/16 inch (1

The typical orifice diameter for an abrasivejet nozzle is 0

010" to 0

014" (0

25 mm to 0

The orifice jewel may be ruby, sapphire or diamond, with sapphire being the most common

Diamond is recognized to last longer than the other two, but most operators find that it is not worth the additional cost

A typical high-quality jewel assembly consisting of a sapphire orifice and a precision stainless steel mount with integral abrasive feed chamber costs about $50

A similar assembly using a diamond orifice would cost several hundred dollars and does not provide a reasonable payback

Ruby and sapphire are very similar in their life expectancy, neither having a distinct advantage over the other

In theory, a jewel orifice should operate reliably until dissolved solids and minerals in the water build up next to the water passage

The jewel does not really fail, but it no longer produces a straight, smooth stream of water because of scale build-up

In reality, however, many jewels fail when struck by dirt or abrasive particles that have managed to get upstream of the jet during nozzle changes or overhauls

This causes the jewel to crack or pit, substantially altering water flow through the jewel

Once water flow through the jewel is disturbed, the cut quality will be poor and the mixing tube life will be shortened dramatically

A cracked $50 jewel assembly can quickly ruin a $150 ceramic mixing tube

Many operators change the jewel orifice as a matter of course whenever they overhaul a nozzle

Abrasive waterjet is excellent for the cutting of complex shapes, and in fragile materials such as glass, the high failure rate due to breakage and chipping of corners during conventional processing is virtually eliminated

Whatever your industrial need, abrasivejet is an accurate, flexible, and efficient cutting system

Materials Abrasivejet cutting is used in the cutting of materials as diverse as: Titanium Brass Aluminum Stone Inconel Any Steel Glass Composites History In 1979, Dr

Mohamed Hashish working at Flow Research, began researching methods to increase the cutting power of the waterjet so it could cut metals, and other hard materials

Hashish, regarded as the father of the abrasive-waterjet, invented the process of adding abrasives to the plain waterjet

He used garnet abrasives, a material commonly used on sandpaper

With this method, the waterjet (containing abrasives) could cut virtually any material

In 1980, abrasive-waterjets were used for the first time to cut steel, glass, and concrete

In 1983, the world's first commercial abrasive waterjet cutting system was sold for cutting automotive glass

The first adopters of the technology were primarily in the aviation and space industries which found the waterjet a perfect tool for cutting high strength materials such as Inconel, stainless steel, and titanium as well as high strength light-weight composites such as carbon fiber composites used on military aircraft and now used on commercial airplanes

Since then, abrasive waterjets have been introduced into many other industries such as job-shop, stone, tile, glass, jet engine, construction, nuclear, and shipyard, to name a few