Waterjet Cutting – Foam, Solid Gaskets


Waterjet cutting sponge rubber with adhesive

NEDC operates only with state-of-the-art equipment that can handle a wide variety of materials. One of the most sophisticated machines NEDC owns is our Waterjet Cutters. The Waterjet cutting happens through a very unique process. The process starts with a high-powered pump that creates a lot of pressure for the water. The water then exits the head of the waterjet through a premounted sapphire/diamond orifice. All of this action produces an extremely powerful waterjet stream that is forced from the head at incredible speeds, (30,000-50,000psi). This streams pierces the gasketing material creating a clean cut with the most avaiable commodity on the planet, water. The waterjet cutting process allows parts to be nested in a very economical fashion. NEDC is a leading waterjet cutting supplier for gaskets, insulators, and other elastomeric products. 

Foam Gaskets:

Foam or Sponge gaskets are also cut with our waterjet machine. These materials can be flexible and cause issues in conventional die-cutting. This is due to the elastic nature of these materials; causing the material to snap-back into an hourglass like shape. However, with a waterjet focusing on one hole/feature/cut at a time, meeting tolerance requirements becomes easier.

Solid Rubber Gaskets:

At NEDC, the main function of our waterjet is used to cut solid gaskets. These gaskets can range from nitrile rubber, to neoprene rubber. The reason we do this is because typically when our customer is looking for a few gaskets, we can make them quickly and accurately on our waterjet. It also helps us dial in tight tolerances. Some of these materials include neoprene, fluorosilicone, silicone, nitrile, EPDM, or other conventional rubber materials.

Advantages of a Waterjet Cutting Machine:

  • Extremely Accurate Cuts of Complex Parts
    Waterjet cutting offers an incredible amount of accuracy through a coordination of computer software and tight controls. Tolerance can be held as +/- .002” on some materials.
  • Maximizes Yield of material through nesting software
    Parts can be easily nested to offer our customer the best price possible. In some situations, when a part has a very unique geometry, sometimes the way it may be nested is not quite as linear as a simple horseshoe like part. In these cases, waterjet machines are able to flip, turn, and match the shape in many different directions utilizing every inch of material.
  • No tool investment is necessary for water jet cutting
    No tool is needed to be made, the DXF is the tool! Please provide an electronic file to aid in programming/cutting. This saves time and money because this file is cut to your specifications.
  • Quick Prototypes
    At NEDC, we strive to provide prototypes quickly. Waterjet Cutting offers the advantage of the customer being able to engineer the part through their DXF and see what the part will look like in production. The benefit of creating a DXF gives a side benefit of being able to move into production in a much quicker fashion by reducing the time between each prototype rendition. No tool is required to be created, so parts can be cut extremely fast.
  • Cut parts from CAD/DXF files, to ensure perfect accuracy of every cut, every time. High degree of repeatability¬†
    The DXF is executed by the software in the waterjet cutting machine. When cutting with a DXF file, you can guarantee that no tool will wear/abrade. The waterjet stream itself is always offering a consistent water stream that makes each part nearly identical to the last. This makes reproducibility a huge asset for the machine.
  • Allows materials to be cut without the typical compression of conventional die-cutting
    Die-Cutting thick foam/sponge materials can result in concavity because of the “burst” action of the die; with a waterjet it is possible to avoid this compression distortion because the waterjet is not compressing the material in the way a conventional die cutting operation would. The difference is, it is slicing through the material in a vertical direction.
  • Size of gaskets/parts has little limitations
    Cutting gaskets has nearly no limitations when it comes to custom. However, size becomes a concern the bigger the gasket becomes. With waterjet cutting, the only limitation becomes the size of the bed of the waterjet itself. With that said, NEDC has cut 7 foot gaskets before on its waterjet machine. 

Limitations of a Waterjet Machine

  • Size of parts have limitations

While we just said above that bigger gaskets are easier to cut with a waterjet- as it gets smaller, it may become more difficult. This is because the waterjet stream has a size too, and that starts to limit the features it can cut with accuracy. If the stream and the feature become competitive in size, it can become a challenge.

  • Amount of parts being cut

While waterjet cutting is pretty quick, the amount of parts being cut can become a challenge because as mentioned above, cutting with a waterjet only works on one feature at a time. This is in comparison to die-cutting that cuts everything all at once. This is one of the tradeoffs when using a waterjet cutting machine. This drawback generally falls under speed of the overall process.

  • Some materials just do not work

Some materials just do not cut well on a waterjet. Fibrous, or otherwise paper like products generally have a tough time cutting because either they soak up the water or they explode when cutting them. It is wise to consult with an experienced waterjet operator before asking a part to be waterjet.

If you have a gasket/part that you believe could be waterjet cut, please send your question or drawing to sales@nedc.com. NEDC has experienced waterjet operators that understand what the machine can do well.