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06.16.2006

Befesa's cleaning division has demonstrated the advantages of hydro-cutting in special application for the industrial sector

The use of water at extremely high pressure to cut materials has been commonplace for different industrial applications ever since high-pressure pumps were developed. At present, there are industrial uses that require great precision in the cutting such as special pieces and non-industrial applications such as, for example, surgical cutting tools with collimated jets of high-pressure water to cut fabrics.

Befesa TLI has used pressurized water for different cleaning applications and has also executed numerous hydro-demolition projects with high flow and pressure pumps and has demolished concrete structures that met H150 or higher specifications. In 2005, a customer from the paper sector had a very complex technical problem: the customer needed to make cuts in steel of a thickness in excess of 15 mm and on support beams, in a classified area where the risk of fire impeded the utilization of traditional methods (cutting torch, shearing machine, etc.). The problem was quite a considerable one as the cuts had to be one at a height of more than 15 meters on the walls of a tank, and the total length of the cuts was more than 180 meters.

The Aragon Regional Office designed the innovative solution to the problem through the use of cutting accessories with special nozzles, connected to a pump of more than 300 CV. In this way, cutting at speeds of more than 2 meters/hour was achieved without any safety risks. As of from this first experience, the method has been employed on other applications: cutting of oil product tank surfaces to make them machinery accessible, cutting of special alloy 500 mm diameter pipes at a height of 60 meters, with product inside, at a refinery, and 150 mm thick convex head cutting of a reactor without damaging its interior, for a refinery.

Hydro-cutting has many advantages: the cut is done with water and abrasive; there is no flame; the direction can be controlled with guide devices and therefore the cut is clean and of excellent geometry; and it can be done by remote control and does not deform the surface or alter its properties due to exposure to heat.