Wood working11.10.2011

Waterjet cutting also suits plywood

Pure waterjet cutting is highly suitable for cutting thin plywood, small details and intricate arcs and shapes.

Pure waterjet cutting is highly suitable for cutting thin plywood, small details and intricate arcs and shapes.

Waterjet cutting can be used on a multitude of materials, for example thick coated plywood, different metals and one-millimetre-thick plywood. Koskisen collaborates with two Finnish waterjet specialists, Ultracut and Jetmasters, which have common customers.

Waterjet cutting is a highly effective, yet very gentle cutting method. A waterjet does not cause any thermal or chemical changes in the material, and there is no burning, melting, gas or slag formation, cracking or fracturing during the process.

When properly executed, waterjet cutting does not cause tearing of the material on the exit side of the cut. The material does not bend, and polished surfaces remain undamaged. There are two types of waterjets: pure waterjets and abrasive waterjets. In abrasive waterjet cutting, the waterjet stream accelerates abrasive particles, such as grit, that cut through hard and tough materials.

Pure waterjet cutting is highly suitable for cutting thin plywood, small details and intricate arcs and shapes.

Make or buy?

Jetmasters engages both in pure waterjet cutting and abrasive cutting in two locations, Kajaani and Loimaa.

- In Loimaa we focus only on pure waterjet cutting, for instance on cutting cards and decorative items from thin plywood, while in Kajaani we use abrasive cutting for stronger materials. Cutting plywood accounts for a major share of our production, explains Marjo Korhonen, head of Jetmasters’ Loimaa unit.

The actual cutting process is based on AutoCAD drawings in DWG format, delivered by the customer.

- The more detailed the design, the more detailed and accurate the drawings must be for the end result to be as desired, Korhonen says.

He advises makers of design, gift and decorative items in short runs to think about the option of having the items waterjet cut instead of doing the work themselves on a jigsaw.

It may turn out to be more cost-efficient to make a slightly bigger batch by waterjet cutting than making just a few pieces at a time yourself.

Shift from design to industry

Based in Vaasa, the company UltraCut and Koskisen have been co-operating since 2007.

- We have pretty close co-operation. During high season we talk on the phone on a weekly basis, and we meet approximately twice a year to discuss issues relating to customers and our co-operation, says UltraCut’s Managing Director, Sami Rönkä.

Ultracut cut its first plywood products soon after the company was established for a company that manufactures plywood gifts. Over the years the clientele has expanded, but waterjet and abrasive cutting of plywood products still make up a major share of UltraCut’s operations.

Right now we are cutting the plywood parts of design lamps. We cut everything from design products to industrial products, such as transport platforms and inlet panels, Rönkä explains.

According to him, satisfied customers and different fairs are the best publicity there is. - Awareness of all the possibilities of waterjet cutting is growing, as customers are increasingly contacting us directly.