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A fully automated waterjet abrasive removal system from RT Engineering Corporation

Utilized widely throughout countless industries, waterjet cutting is a versatile process that employs high-pressure water with entrained sand-like abrasive to cut components from metal, plastic, rock and a number of other materials.  With the addition of specialized cutting heads and software, waterjet cutting can cost-effectively produce complex and precise three-dimensional components.

However, the benefits of waterjet manufacturing have been offset by the major headache and cost of handling and disposing of the spent cutting abrasive.

During operation, the spent abrasive from the cutting process settles and fills a collection tank located under the cutting table. Once the collection tank is full, the waterjet system must be shut down for 2 - 3 days while the tank is drained and tons of wet sand is manually removed.

For companies, this time-consuming and laborious task means:

  • Lost Time: Manual tank cleaning may take 2 - 3 days or more.
  • Lost Worker Productivity: Skilled operators and their wages are wasted on manual labor; shoveling wet sand over the walls of the collection tank and into wheel barrows or hoppers for removal.
  • Lost Revenue: Lost production upsets delivery schedules.
  • High Disposal Cost: Conventional dumpster disposal of the tons of wet abrasive is not possible. Special disposal requirements include multiple partially filled dumpsters to meet maximum tipping weight or extra heavy duty tipping and hauling equipment and associated costs.
  • Worker Safety: Workers unaccustomed to shoveling for days must climb in and out of the cutting tanks and work around the sharp edges of the cutting table supports, risking serious injury. Lost work days with associated liability and claims further compounds production and revenue loss.

After RT Engineering Corporation’s own painful experience with waterjet cleanout, we researched all options for abrasive removal. We were unable to find an effective solution, so we initiated design and testing of a system based on a technology completely new to the problem.

Riptide_001-1.jpgRIPTIDE from RT Engineering Corporation

We are pleased to introduce RIPTIDE, a fully automated, simple and robust abrasive removal system, designed to solve our problem—and now available to solve yours.

RIPTIDE eliminates the quarterly production halts and losses required for manual cleaning.  It offers a more robust solution and lower operating costs than other mechanical systems.  With RIPTIDE, your employees are more appropriate and safely employed, which thereby improves production and revenue.

RIPTIDE employs a high-volume, low-pressure swirl concentrator technology that ensures continuous abrasive removal.  Abrasive-laden water enters the swirl concentrator tangentially, concentrating spent abrasive for discharge to the hopper, while clarified water flows to the pump for the agitation system.  Water returning to the tank through the agitation system keeps the abrasive in suspension and moves it to the separator pump and into the concentrator.  Abrasive discharged to the self-tipping disposal hopper settles and excess water overflows back to the cutting tank.

Typically, the hopper fills every few days.  A standard forklift carries it to your dumpster where each load is easily carried off in the conventional waste stream.  Additionally, the RIPTIDE system automatically adjusts to higher cutting rates or waterjet use with the sole difference being increased hopper tipping.

The Advantages of RIPTIDE

RIPTIDE offers a number of benefits including:IMG_0339.jpg

  • Speed and Simplicity: RIPTIDE works while you work, continuously keeping your tank clean. Hoppers need to be emptied about twice a week, that’s about all you do.  Regular disposal of abrasive eliminates overweight dumpsters and extra handling fees.
  • Versatility: RIPTIDE can be integrated with any waterjet cutting system.
  • No Downtime: You do not need to shut down your waterjet cutter for abrasive removal. Even when the hopper is being dumped, production will not need to slow down.  This means you will never pay your skilled operators to shovel again.
  • Workplace Safety: No slips, trips or sprains. Designed with workplace safety in mind, RIPTIDE’s self-dumping hopper can be emptied and replaced by a single worker from the safety of the forklift cage.

At RT Engineering Corporation, we are proud to share a product we built for ourselves that you too can use to eliminate the down side of waterjet operation. 

For more information, download our RIPTIDE Product Guide.

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