Quality Waterjet Newsletter 02/21/2006

Development of the 1st Commercial Waterjet Cutting System in 1971


Nowsday waterjet cutting has become a very mature technology. It is interesting to look back in time to see how it all started. This time your attention is directed to an article on the development of the 1st commercial waterjet cutting system, by Walstad and Noecker*.


The idea of cutting with a high-pressure waterjet was first proposed and investigated by Dr. Norman C. Franz. His ideas and research experiences were combined with the manufacturing experience of McCartney Manufacturing Company, leading to the birth of the 1st commercial waterjet cutting system. Prior to that, McCartney Manufacturing Company had been in the business of making high pressure intensifiers used for catalyst injection in the production of polyethylene.


Walstad and Noecker’s article clearly described this first intensifier pump used for high-pressure cutting. Because cutting applications require continuous operation, a V-ring type packing seal used in catalyst injection failed in this regard. Consequently, a controlled leakage seal, based on a similar design used in autofrettage pumping system, was successfully developed. To reduce pressure fluctuation caused by the reciprocation, an accumulator was added to the high-pressure fluid circuit. This accumulator, utilizing the compressibility of water and the elasticity of the pressurized chamber, was able to reduce the pressure fluctuation to the ratio of 12:1. Pressure control was done by pneumatically controlling the position of a hydraulic pump serve valve, which controls the discharge volume of the hydraulic pump and thus the output water pressure.  This article also described the check valve, a 3,000 psi hydraulic system, and the reciprocation mechanism. This intensifier was nominally rated at 40,000 psi and 100 US gph. It can also be used with an optional polymer mixer to add small quantities of polymers to the cutting water.


On November 15, 1971, this intensifier pump was placed in a commercial establishment. The application was to make contour cuts on papertubes, formed with up to half-inch thick laminated paper, for furniture manufacturing industry. The contour profile was achieved with a rotational motion of the papertube combined with a vertical motion of the jet. The operation of this first commercial waterjet cutting system was a great success.


*Walstad, O.M. and Noecher, P.W., “Development of High Pressure Pumps and Associated Equipment for Fluid Jet Cutting,” Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Jet Cutting Technology, Coventry, England, April 5-7, 1972.

Beyond High Pressure

·      Fredrick Equipment, located north of Atlanta, Georgia, has been servicing the southeastern United States waterjet market for 20 years. As a recognized distributor of high pressure piping components, Fredrick is proud to offer QualJet/OHP’s line of waterjet pumps and OEM replacement parts along with sapphire and diamond orifice replacements, tools, gauges, and accessories. With over 10,000 parts and perhaps the largest stock of piping components in the US, Fredrick can meet all your waterjet needs. Call toll-free at 1-888-928-3758.


QualJet LLC

Quality Waterjet

Spare Parts Specialist

·  Quality Waterjet Spare Parts

o    Meets/exceeds OEM standards

o    30% longer operation life time than competing products

·  Extensive Parts Coverage for:

o    Flow style, IR Style

o    40K/55K pumps

o    Intensifiers

o    On/off valves

o    Cutting head

o    Swivels

·  OEM Expert

o    20+ year waterjet OEM experience (via OH Precision)

o    Accept small OEM order


40K PSI Direct Drive Pumps

·  Long operation lifetime

·  Highly cost-effective

·  Light weight and compact

·  Contact us for

o    Custom power end

o    50K psi models

o    Private labeling

o    Custom design











QualJet LLC

12819 SE 38th Street, #240

Bellevue, WA 98006

1-866-QUALJET (782-5538)

Fax: 425-378-7776

Email: info@qualjet.com

Website: www.qualjet.com


To unsubscribe the newsletter: unsubscribe@qualjet.com


For newsletter archive:









Copyright ©2005, QualJet LLC