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waterjet cut gaskets

waterjet cutting machine

At NEDC we operate many pieces of cutting machinery. We operate state of the art conventional die cutting machines, laser cutting machines, and waterjet cutting machines. In this blog post, we thought we would delineate the differences between all of these machines so our customers had a better idea of what is required and when. Should they be die cut gaskets, waterjet cut gaskets, or laser cut gaskets?

Calling out Cutting Method on a Print- Good Idea/Bad Idea?

We often see on build to print items “MUST BE WATERJET CUT” or “MUST BE CNC MACHINED”(we don’t do CNC machining) Of course, we will do what the print says, however we would encourage customers in most cases to refrain from doing this but we understand there are cases where its required to prevent obvious or less than obvious mistakes. 

Reasons why it may not be a good idea to call it out on a print:

  1. Increases cost- When you call this out on a print, you can very easily paint yourself into a corner by accidentally making the part cost more through tooling costs, or simply labor cost. For example, you can ask for it to be die-cut, but now a $750 tool is required for ten die cut gaskets.
  2. You might get the same problems you were trying to avoid, or different problems. If you say “MUST NOT BE WATERJET CUT” a gasket supplier may decide they are going to use a CNC machine to cut thermal pads which generally is not a good idea.
  3. It will limit the amount of people who ultimately can make a quality part. There are a lot of die cutters out there including NEDC that know what they are doing. We know what a quality part looks like. If browned edges are the reason laser cutting is prohibited we understand why – however most converters should know that brown, charred edges are not acceptable.

With all of that said, we included some of the pros and cons of cutting materials on each individual machine. 

Waterjet Cutting

Pros:

-High quality cuts.

-Many materials can be cut regardless of thickness.

-Prototyping/no tooling is an obvious plus.

-Geometry has nearly no limitations.

-Tolerances can be dialed in very close.

Limitations:

-Cleanliness can be an issue especially with many parts.

-High Quantities can start to be a limiting factor.

Laser Cutting

Pros:

-Many materials can be cut on this machine.

-Prototyping/no tooling is an obvious plus.

-Geometry has nearly no limitations.

-Tolerances can be dialed in very close

Limitations:

-Charring can be an issue on certain materials.

-High Quantities can be a limiting factor.

Steel Rule Die Cutting

Pros:

-Economy of scale is easy to surpass, and can continue cutting thousands of parts for a long time.

-Labor time is the lowest among all the methods here.

-When tooling is required, it can be made relatively quickly

Limitations:

-Thicker materials can be a limiting factor – this creates the crush-burst effect that leaves an hourglass shape. Thick die cut gaskets usually need to be waterjet cut.

-Hard materials can be a limiting factor.

-Geometries, especially bigger complex parts can be difficult to accommodate sometimes

For more information on custom gaskets or the methods for cutting them, please contact sales@nedc.com.

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