Advanced Metalworking Solutions for
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Abrasive Waterjet Cutting for Shipbuilding Applications

Abrasive Waterjet Cutting for Shipbuilding Applications

Objective

Developed and demonstrated the ability to perform abrasive waterjet cutting dockside or in a dry-dock setting.

Background

Repair and refurbishment of shipboard structures and components often requires removal of structures to obtain access to the damaged or malfunctioning components. Oxy-fuel or plasma arc torches are typically used for this process; however, they generate high temperatures which can result in undesirable thermal distortion, metallurgical effects, residual stresses and other damage in the cut material. The flame cutting process also produces noxious fumes and metal slag. Abrasive waterjet cutting is an alternative technology that offers excellent after-cut properties including near net shape, low distortion and no heat-affected zone as compared to thermal cutting operations. Waterjet technology has the capability to cut thicker plate materials, variable thickness components, composites and other non-metallic parts without the threat of fire or fumes and welded components.

Technical Approach

The development of a flexible mobile abrasive water jet system for use in repair and refurbishment operations onboard the ship or to cut access holes into ship hulls at the dockside would provide the following benefits:

  • Elimination of a fire hazard and fire watches
  • Increased reuse of removed components due to the ability to cut without imparting distortion into a component
  • Reduced rework of removed material due to the small kerf and no heat affected zone or slag on the cut edges
  • Increased component/structural removal capabilities because with one cut, the abrasive waterjet is able to cut composite materials, painted components, variable thickness structures, insulation, wiring harnesses and various metallic materials.

Benefits

The development of a flexible mobile abrasive water jet system for use in repair and refurbishment operations onboard the ship or to cut access holes into ship hulls at the dockside will provide the following benefits:

  • Elimination of a fire hazard and fire watches
  • Increased reuse of removed components due to the ability to cut without imparting distortion into a component
  • Reduced rework of removed material due to the small kerf and no heat affected zone or slag on the cut edges
  • Increased component/structural removal capabilities because with one cut, the abrasive waterjet is able to cut composite materials, painted components, variable thickness structures, insulation, wiring harnesses and various metallic materials.

Implementation

The prototype developed demonstrated the ability to cut an access panel into a ship or submarine hull at dockside without producing noxious fumes, to control and collect the working fluid and to complete this task without the threat of fire.

Status

Completed