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Waterjet and Wind Energy: Powering Sustainable Solutions

 

The aerospace, automotive, and manufacturing industries probably come to mind when thinking of waterjet. But the technology is also an integral part of the energy sector.  

Waterjet is used to cut wind turbines – those towering white poles with three horizonal blades you’ve likely seen on stretches of highway during road trips – and is an effective tool for cutting composite materials often found in wind-powered machines.  



But why is waterjet such a great candidate to work on devices that create solar power? And what does the process look like? Here we’ll cover waterjet’s capabilities in creating sustainable energy solutions as well as different use cases.  
 

What Role Does Waterjet Play in the Energy Sector? 

Believe it or not, when you turn on your bedroom light or charge your smartphone, waterjet likely helped provide the electricity to do so.

Wind turbines are a sustainable form of solar energy that create electricity through wind power. And waterjet is one of the most common methods used to cut these turbines’ blades, which come in both vertical and horizontal form. 

When the wind blows a turbine’s blades, the blades power a generator which subsequently creates electricity. It’s a sustainable form of energy that doesn’t require coal or other greenhouse-gas-emitting fossil fuels. 

Wind turbines are often made of composites, materials made from two or more different substances. Fiberglass is the most common material used to make the wind turbine blades, while the remainder of the devices contains a combination of materials including steel, iron, aluminum, and electronics.   


What Makes Waterjet Uniquely Equipped to Create Wind Turbines?  

Waterjet cuts composite materials extremely well, making it an ideal application for creating wind turbine blades. 

Fiberglass – and other composite materials – pose challenges for fabrication, namely because its material can burn or sustain other damage during the cutting process. Composite materials are nonetheless popular options for large projects as they’re lighter than materials like steel but just as strong. 

Here’s where waterjet comes in. The technology cuts by means of erosion instead of heat, meaning that it removes small amounts of material at high speed, therefore eliminating the risk of heat damage. The quick cut means lower costs and increased productivity, too. 



Waterjet also creates minimal kerf, allowing for more accurate and intricate cuts. By creating no thermal damage during the process and requiring little-to-no secondary finishing, waterjet is a fitting application for cutting wind turbine blades. Waterjet virtually eliminates delamination and edge fraying, common challenges with cutting composite materials.

Learn more about Flow Waterjet’s composite-cutting capabilities here.