You use a water pump to move water from one place to another, say, from the water storage tank to the tap. But a high pressure pump will do more than just move water; it expels the water in a high-pressure jet or stream.
Water jetting is a popular application of high pressure pumps.
A high pressure water jetting pump is equipment designed to clean and maintain surfaces using high pressure water streams to remove adhered rust, coatings, corrosions, deposits, or other materials.
Water jetting refers to the use of water and compressed air to clean and prepare surfaces. When abrasives are added to water and compressed air, the process is called wet abrasive blasting. Wet abrasive blasting is not only useful for cleaning and preparing surfaces; they’re also often used for cutting materials.
Wet abrasive blasting and water jetting serve similar purposes and are equally valuable in materials preparation. Plain water jetting can clean steel just as thoroughly as wet abrasive blasting.
However, note that a water jetted steel surface will not have the surface profile ideal for coating adhesion. To attain such a surface profile, use wet abrasive blasting.
According to the Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP), the following are the different water jetting methods used in materials cleaning and preparation. They are arranged in descending pressure or intensity.
1. Ultra High Pressure Water Jetting
Ultra high pressure water jetting refers to jetting water onto surfaces at pressures greater than 30,000 pounds per square inch (psi). This much pressure can remove non-skid coatings on flight decks. You may also employ ultra high pressure water jetting before dry abrasive blasting.
2. High Pressure Water Jetting
High pressure water jetting systems can deliver water jets at up to 30,000 psi of pressure, and this much pressure can chip and abrade concrete, and eliminate deposits and mill scales — the black scales produced when steel is heated.
3. Water Jetting
Water jetting systems expel water at more than 10,000 psi of pressure. Water jetting at this pressure level typically prepares surfaces for inspections. You can also use it as a preliminary step to coating applications.
4. High Pressure Water Cleaning
High pressure water cleaning systems deliver water at 5,0000 to 10,000 psi of pressure. You can use this to scrape paint and accumulated dirt off surfaces, clear pipes of obstructions, and remove scales, sludge, rust, and cement, among many others. It has enough power to erode concrete surfaces and expose the bare aggregate.
5. Low Pressure Water Cleaning
Low pressure water cleaning systems are known as power washers. This low-pressure cleaning method requires jetting water at pressures below 5,000 psi, effectively removing loose dirt and growth from surfaces.
6. Water Cleaning
Water cleaning is simply rinsing with water, which should be sufficient for removing unadhered dirt from surfaces.
The following are several water jetting applications.
1. Abrasive Cold Cutting
Ultra high pressure water jets with mineral abrasives can cut through steel and other metals.
Abrasive cold cutting requires a variety of pressures, even up to 40,000 psi, depending on the material being cut. The cut can be precise or destructive, depending on the nozzle used. Modern ultra-high-pressure water jetting systems will let you control the pressure and the cutting remotely.
Abrasive cold cutting is ideal in poorly ventilated spaces and cutting projects where extremely high heat, sparks, and metal dust will put people and equipment at risk.
2. Marine Growth Removal
Water jetting can resolve marine fouling and scrape off light to heavy marine growth from ship hulls, caissons, docks, subsea structures, and wharves.
To be effective, your water jetting system must be able to deliver high-pressure water cleaning, that is to say, water jets at pressures between 5,000 to 10,000 psi. You will need lower pressures to get rid of looser growths and higher pressures to clear denser contaminants.
3. Pipe Clearing
You can use a high-pressure water jet pump to clear away obstructions in pipes. You need a versatile water jetting system — one that can provide variable pressure levels through a simple fluid end conversion. You won’t know until you start pipe clearing how much pressure you will need.
4. Drill Pipe Cleaning
Drill pipes are essential pieces of equipment in drilling rigs. But drill pipes are easily blocked. Thus, they require regular maintenance to decontaminate them and ensure that they continue working efficiently and effectively.
To clean drill pipes, you need to have a water jetting system capable of jetting at 40,000 psi. You will want a decontamination unit custom-built to your drill pipe specifications. It will also be great if your drill pipe water jetting system automatically loads and unloads drill pipes so that you can control everything remotely inside a control station.
Naturally, your drill pipe decontamination unit must contain run-off water to ensure compliance with applicable contamination regulations.
5. Sewer Cleaning
Water jetting is used in maintaining sewers and drains and clearing blockages from pipes and drains.
A water jetting system with specialized sewer cleaning nozzles is preferable if you run a sewer and drain maintenance or management company. You want a trailer-mounted system, so you can bring it where it is needed and, of course, integrated robotic solutions for ease of access and blockage removal.
6. Surface Cleaning and Preparation
Water jetting is primarily used in preparing and cleaning surfaces, typically metal and concrete.
For instance, if you need to repair a boat hull, you must first clear it of paint, surface rust, marine growth, buildup, and other things that may obstruct assessing the extent of the damage. If you want to give your deck floor a fresh coat of industrial waterproofing coating, you will need to strip it of its old coating first.
Ultra-high-pressure water jetting systems that can blast water at pressures up to 40,000 psi can provide a very thorough, standards-compliant clean surface without requiring the use of abrasives. This minimizes repair and maintenance downtimes.
Water jetting, which utilizes compressed air to jet water at extremely high pressures onto surfaces, is an excellent technique for cleaning and preparing surfaces. The addition of inert, mineral abrasives can turn water jetting systems into wet abrasive blasting equipment.
Just remember that your needs will dictate what type of water jetting system you need.
For versatility and convenience, go with a water jetting system that can yield low to extremely high pressure jets with a simple fluid end conversion.