US20090305611A1 - Device and method for improving accuracy of a high-pressure fluid jet apparatus - Google Patents

Device and method for improving accuracy of a high-pressure fluid jet apparatus Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090305611A1
US20090305611A1 US12134867 US13486708A US2009305611A1 US 20090305611 A1 US20090305611 A1 US 20090305611A1 US 12134867 US12134867 US 12134867 US 13486708 A US13486708 A US 13486708A US 2009305611 A1 US2009305611 A1 US 2009305611A1
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high
pressure fluid
fluid jet
light
jet apparatus
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Abandoned
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US12134867
Inventor
Silviu Anton
Jim Riddell
Matt Osler
Soo Lum Steve
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Flow International Corp
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Flow International Corp
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B24GRINDING; POLISHING
    • B24CABRASIVE OR RELATED BLASTING WITH PARTICULATE MATERIAL
    • B24C9/00Appurtenances of abrasive blasting machines or devices, e.g. working chambers, arrangements for handling used abrasive material

Abstract

A calibration device provided for use with a high-pressure fluid jet apparatus includes a body configured to be coupled to the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus, and a light-emitting device positioned toward the first end of the body and configured to project light on a target element at a location substantially identical to a location at which the high-pressure fluid jet contacts the target element during operation with fluid, allowing calibration of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus before operation with fluid.

Description

    BACKGROUND
  • 1. Technical Field
  • The present disclosure generally relates to high-pressure fluid jet apparatuses, and more particularly, to a device and method for calibrating the projection accuracy of the exiting high-pressure fluid jet.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • High-pressure fluid jets, including high-pressure abrasive fluid jets, are used to cut, machine, or treat a wide variety of materials in many different industries. In such systems, high-pressure fluid, typically water, flows through an orifice in a cutting head to form a high-pressure jet, into which abrasive particles are entrained as the jet flows through a mixing tube. The high-pressure abrasive fluid jet is discharged from the mixing tube and directed toward a work piece to cut, machine, or treat the work piece along a selected path or within a selected area.
  • Various systems are currently available to move a high-pressure fluid jet along a selected path. (The terms “high-pressure fluid jet” and “jet” used throughout this disclosure should be understood to incorporate all types of high-pressure fluid jets, including but not limited to, high-pressure water jets and high-pressure abrasive water jets). For example, the cutting head assembly can be moved via a motion assembly along a desired path in an X-Y plane, and can be raised and lowered relative to the work piece, as may be desired. Furthermore, computer programs can be used to control the movement of the cutting head assembly and conform the movement to the desired pattern.
  • Many high-pressure fluid jet applications, such as machining of constituent parts of an assembly, have strict dimensional tolerances, and thus require accurate machining. However, potential defects or misalignment of high-pressure fluid jet devices, the positioning thereof, or potential flaws in computer programs that direct movement of these devices, or errors in administration of such programs, are some factors which can contribute to defective parts. Typically by the time these defects are corrected or the apparatus is correctly aligned, one or more parts or work pieces may be sacrificed because the defects are generally discovered by errors that occur during the actual machining of the work piece.
  • Applicants believe it is desirable and possible to provide a system for accurately calibrating and detecting potential errors in the accuracy of high-pressure fluid jet machining and treating before operation of the high-pressure fluid jet system with fluid. The present disclosure provides these and other improvements over existing systems.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY
  • The present disclosure is directed to a calibration device for use with a high-pressure fluid jet apparatus having a mixing tube and operable to produce a high-pressure fluid jet that exits the mixing tube and contacts a target element at a location thereon. In one embodiment, the calibration device includes a body having a first end and a second end, the first end being configured to be coupled to the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus. The calibration device further includes a light-emitting device coupled to the body and configured to selectively project light on the target element at a location substantially identical to the location at which the high-pressure fluid jet contacts the target element during operation with fluid, allowing calibration of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus before operation with fluid.
  • In accordance with another embodiment of the present disclosure, a high-pressure fluid jet apparatus includes a cutting head body configured to withstand passage of high-pressure fluid and form a high-pressure fluid jet, a mixing tube configured to be coupled to the cutting head body, the high-pressure fluid jet exiting the mixing tube and contacting the target element at a location thereon during operation with fluid, and a calibration device configured to be coupled to the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus. The light-emitting device includes a light-emitting element configured to project light on the target element at a location substantially identical to the location at which the high-pressure fluid jet contacts the target element during operation with fluid, allowing calibration of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus before operation with fluid.
  • In accordance with yet another embodiment of the present disclosure, a method of calibrating a high-pressure fluid jet apparatus having a cutting head body coupled to a mixing tube through which the high-pressure fluid jet exits the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus and contacts a target element at a location thereon during operation with fluid, includes mounting a light-emitting device to the cutting head body, projecting light from the light-emitting device on a location on the target element substantially identical to the location at which the high-pressure fluid jet contacts the target element during operation with fluid. The method further includes calibrating a positioning of at least a portion of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus such that the light is projected on a location on the target element substantially identical to a location at which it is desired for the high-pressure fluid jet to contact the target element during operation with fluid. Calibrating the positioning occurs before operation of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus with fluid.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a side view of a portion of a high-pressure fluid jet system including a mixing tube according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 2 is the side view of the high-pressure fluid jet system of FIG. 1 with the mixing tube replaced with a calibration device according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 3 is an isometric view of a calibration device for use with a high-pressure fluid jet system according to one embodiment.
  • FIG. 4 is a detail view of a portion of the high-pressure fluid jet system of FIG. 2 according to one aspect.
  • FIG. 5A is an isometric exploded view of the calibration device of FIG. 3.
  • FIG. 5B is a cross-sectional view of the calibration device of FIG. 3, viewed across section 5B-5B.
  • FIG. 6 is a side view of a portion of a high-pressure fluid jet apparatus including a calibration device according to another embodiment.
  • FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of the high-pressure fluid jet system of FIG. 6 according to one aspect, viewed across section 7-7.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100 according to one embodiment. The high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100 includes a cutting head body 102 coupled to a mixing tube 104. During operation, the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100 is fed with a fluid, and in some embodiments an abrasive, which mixes with the fluid and exits the mixing tube 104 as an ultrahigh-pressure fluid jet. The high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100 is typically used in applications such as cutting, machining, and surface treatment and cleaning, and may use fluid at pressures up to and beyond 80,000 PSI. In many applications, it is important that the exiting high-pressure fluid jet contact a desired location on a surface of a target element 106, such as a work-piece or assembly component, with accuracy. This is especially important in applications involving machining of industrial components having strict dimensional tolerances.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus of FIG. 1 with the mixing tube 104 removed and a calibration device 108 installed in place of the mixing tube 104. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the cutting head 102 includes a coupling portion 117 for removably receiving the calibration device 108. The coupling portion 117 is also configured to removably receive the mixing tube 104. When installed, the calibration device 108 operates to project a light onto the target element 106. A user can thus emulate an exiting path of the high-pressure fluid jet and predict the location at which it contacts the target element 106 before subjecting the target element 106 to the impact of the high-pressure fluid jet. Therefore, the user can calibrate the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100, a component thereof, such as the mixing tube, or a motion or clamp assembly 109 supporting the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100, prior to operation of the jet apparatus 100 with fluid, as discussed in greater detail below.
  • In some applications, a computer program is used to control the movement of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100. The computer program can be configured to effect a movement of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100, by moving the motion assembly 109 coupled to the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100 via a clamp 111, to achieve the desired machining pattern. However, defects may be present in the positioning of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100, a component thereof, the motion assembly 109 or the clamp 111, or in the manner in which the computer program is developed or administered, any combination thereof, or any other defect, which may contribute to inaccuracy of the exiting high-pressure fluid jet path.
  • These and other defects, when present in existing devices, are often discovered during or after the work piece is machined or otherwise treated with the high-pressure fluid jet. Accordingly, by the time the defects are cured, one or more work pieces may be sacrificed due to being undesirably machined or treated while the system is being calibrated to correct these errors.
  • In contrast to existing devices, the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100 having the calibration device 108 can expose defects that may affect the accuracy with which the high-pressure fluid jet exits the mixing tube 104 and machines or treats the target element 106 as described in more detail below.
  • FIG. 3 illustrates one embodiment of the calibration device 108 removed from the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100. The calibration device 108 includes a first end 110 and a second end 112, opposed to the first end 110. The calibration device 108 further includes a body 116 and an activation switch 118.
  • Toward the first end 110, the calibration device 108 includes at least one structural feature 114 configured to couple the calibration device 108 to the cutting head 102. In one embodiment, the structural feature 114 includes a plurality of threads formed on an outer surface of the body 116 of the calibration device 108 toward the first end 110. As illustrated in FIG. 4, these threads are complementary to a plurality of threads 113 formed on an inner surface 115 of the coupling portion 117 of the cutting head 102, which is configured to receive the mixing tube 104 and the calibration device 108, respectively.
  • FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate exploded and cross-sectional views of the calibration device 108 of FIG. 3. As illustrated in FIG. 5A, the body 116 can include a first portion 120 removably coupled to a second portion 122. The first and/or second portions 120,122 house a light-emitting device 124. The light-emitting device 124 can include any element or device operable to emit light, such as a light-emitting diode (LED), a laser diode, a semiconductor light-emitting device, a fluorescent device, an organic light-emitting device (OLED), or any other suitable light-emitting device.
  • With the calibration device 108 installed, one or more simulations of the machining operation can be conducted to ensure that the high-pressure fluid jet will contact the desired location or machine along a desired path on the target element 106 upon operation of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100 with fluid. In these applications, the user may apply indicia on the target element 106 for indicating the location, path, or pattern along which the target element 106 is desired to be machined. For example, referring to FIG. 2, in a case where the target element 106 is a work piece and the work piece is desired to be cut or machined along a path 107, an outline of the path 107 is drawn or otherwise indicated on the work piece. Typically, a computer program, which has been programmed with the desired path, governs the motion of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100 to affect the machining or treating of the work piece. Prior to operation of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100 with fluid, the calibration device 108 is coupled or mounted to the cutting head body 102 and the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100 is subjected to the same motion as that during operation with fluid.
  • During this simulation of the desired motion, the light-emitting device 124 is activated and projects light on the work piece at a location substantially identical to the location at which the high-pressure fluid jet would contact the work piece during operation with fluid. Therefore, as the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100 travels along the programmed motion, the projection of light on the work piece can be observed and calibrated as required such that the projection is substantially coincident with and travels along the drawn outline of the desired path 107.
  • In some applications, the exiting high-pressure fluid jet has a thin diameter with insignificant dispersion to contact the target element 106 with a controlled diameter. In these applications, it is preferred to use a light-emitting device operable to emit light having a controlled wavelength, such as a laser diode, to optimize the emulation of the exiting high-pressure fluid jet during the calibration process discussed above.
  • A controlled wavelength light-emitting device, such as a laser device, emits a light beam that is monochromatic, coherent, and very directional. The light beam is monochromatic in that it contains one specific wavelength of light resulting in one color. The coherency of the emitted light results from it having organized photon wave fronts that launch in unison and form a tight beam that is concentrated with negligible dispersion. The high-pressure fluid jet exiting the mixing tube 106 at extremely high velocities also exhibits minimal dispersion as it travels in a tight stream toward the target element 106. Therefore, the light beam projected from a controlled wavelength light-emitting device 124 can accurately emulate the path of the exiting high-pressure fluid jet. Accordingly, the light-emitting device 124 can be used to verify that the high-pressure fluid jet will impact the target element 106 at a desired location and/or along a desired path, and to calibrate the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus 100 using the light-emitting device 124.
  • In other applications, the exiting high-pressure fluid jet may exhibit dispersion, such as a stream or a spray that has a width when contacting the target element 106, such as applications in which a surface of the target element 106 is treated in a limited area thereof to give it a certain texture or remove a layer of material thereon. In these applications, the light-emitting device 124 can be selected from a device that exhibits similar dispersion to accurately predict the area that will actually be treated by the high-pressure fluid jet during operation with fluid.
  • Furthermore, as illustrated in FIGS. 5A and 5B, the light-emitting device 124 is electrically coupled to at least one power producing device 138, such that electrical power can be selectively applied to the light-emitting device 124. In one embodiment, the power producing device 138 can be portable and housed within at least a portion of the body 116 of the calibration device 108. When the calibration device 108 is installed in the high-pressure fluid jet system 100, a user can activate the light-emitting device 124 to project light by pressing or otherwise manipulating the activation switch 118. For example, the activation switch 118 can be configured to couple to or come in contact with a biasing device 140, which is electrically conductive and is, in turn, coupled to a conductive plate 142. Further, the activation switch is in electrical contact with the light-emitting device 124. When the activation switch 118 is pressed, the biasing device 140 and the plate 142 place the switch 118 and light-emitting device 124 in electrical contact with the power producing device 138.
  • In one embodiment, the activation switch 118 includes a conductive portion 144, which is configured to contact the biasing device 140 toward one end, and is electrically coupled to the light-emitting device 124 toward another end thereof, to transfer electrical power conducted through the biasing device 140 to the light-emitting device 124. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that other configurations for selectively connecting and disconnecting the light-emitting device 124 to and from the power producing device 138 or other power source, are possible and within the scope of this disclosure.
  • One of ordinary skill in the art will also appreciate that modifications can be made to the above embodiments which fall within the scope of this disclosure. For example, the structural feature coupling a calibration device to a high-pressure fluid jet assembly need not necessarily be threads, and can include any other feature that securely and removably couples the calibration device to the cutting head. Additionally, the coupling portion of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus need not necessarily receive both the mixing tube and the calibration device in the same manner.
  • In another embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 6, a fluid jet apparatus 200 includes a distinct coupling portion 217 for removably coupling to a calibration device 208. In this embodiment, it is not necessary to remove the mixing tube 204 before installing the calibration device 208 because the mixing tube 204 and calibration device 208 are fixed relative to each other when installed in the coupling portion 217, such that calibration between the mixing tube 204 and the calibration device 208 is not needed.
  • The calibration device 208 includes a body 216 and a light-emitting device 224. To compensate for the offset between the respective positions of the mixing tube 204 and the calibration device 208, the body 216 can be shaped and/or the light-emitting device 224 be positioned such that the projection of light on a target element 206 occurs at a substantially identical point or region A, at which the fluid jet exiting the mixing tube 204 impacts the target element 206 during operation with fluid.
  • The calibration device 208 can be threadedly coupled to the cutting head 202 similar to the embodiment described above. Other embodiments may include alternative structural features for coupling the calibration device 208 to the cutting head 202. For example, in one embodiment, the structural feature 214 includes a detent mechanism as illustrated in FIG. 7.
  • More particularly, the detent mechanism includes at least two curvilinear balls 226, which protrude out from apertures 228 formed in the outer surface of the calibration device 208. Each of the balls 226 is coupled to a biasing device 230, such as a coil spring, which is positioned in the aperture 228. The biasing device 230 is positioned between a wall of the aperture 228 and the corresponding ball 226 to bias the ball 226 toward the protruded position. The outer diameter of the calibration device 208 can be slightly smaller than a diameter 219 of the inner surface 215 of the cutting head coupling portion 217. When in the protruded position, a dimension 232 between outer terminal ends of the balls 226 is larger than the diameter 219 of the inner surface 215 of the coupling portion 217.
  • Accordingly, as the calibration device 208 is inserted into the coupling portion 217 of the cutting head 202, each of the balls 226 is forced by an entry portion 234 of the inner surface 215 into the corresponding aperture 228, and the biasing member 230 compresses. As the biasing member 230 compresses, it exerts a biasing force on the balls 226 toward the inner surface 215 of the coupling portion 217. Passed the entry portion 234, the inner surface 215 includes a recess 236, such as a groove or gutter formed in at least a portion of a perimeter of the inner surface 215. Therefore, when the balls 226 pass the entry portion 234 of the inner surface 215 and reach the groove or gutter 236, they snap outward in the recess 236 in response to the biasing force, to couple the calibration device 208 to the coupling portion 217. To remove the calibration device 208, the device 208 can be pulled, the inner surface 215 exerting inward pressure on the balls 226 to overcome the biasing force and shifts the balls 226 into the apertures 228, allowing the calibration device 208 to slide out from the coupling portion 217. Other configurations are possible.
  • The various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments. All of the U.S. patents, U.S. patent application publications, U.S. patent applications, foreign patents, foreign patent applications and non-patent publications referred to in this specification and/or listed in the Application Data Sheet, are incorporated herein by reference, in their entirety. Aspects of the embodiments can be modified, if necessary to employ concepts of the various patents, applications and publications to provide yet further embodiments.
  • These and other changes can be made to the embodiments in light of the above-detailed description. In general, in the following claims, the terms used should not be construed to limit the claims to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification and the claims, but should be construed to include all possible embodiments along with the full scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled. Accordingly, the claims are not limited by the disclosure.

Claims (25)

  1. 1. A calibration device for use with a high-pressure fluid jet apparatus having a mixing tube and operable to produce a high-pressure fluid jet that exits the mixing tube and contacts a target element at a location thereon, the calibration device comprising:
    a body having a first end and a second end, the first end being configured to be coupled to the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus; and
    a light-emitting device coupled to the body and configured to selectively project light on the target element at a location substantially identical to the location at which the high-pressure fluid jet contacts the target element during operation with fluid, allowing calibration of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus before operation with fluid.
  2. 2. The calibration device of claim 1 wherein the first end of the body is configured to be removably coupled to a portion of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus to which the mixing tube couples, after removal of the mixing tube.
  3. 3. The calibration device of claim 2 wherein the body is configured to threadedly engage the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus toward the first end of the body.
  4. 4. The calibration device of claim 1 wherein the light-emitting device is configured to emit light having a controlled wavelength.
  5. 5. The calibration device of claim 1 wherein the light-emitting device includes a laser diode.
  6. 6. The calibration device of claim 1, further comprising:
    at least one power-producing device electrically coupled to the light-emitting device for selectively delivering electrical power thereto to illuminate the light-emitting device.
  7. 7. The calibration device of claim 6 wherein the at least one power-producing device is portable.
  8. 8. The calibration device of claim 6 wherein the body includes a first portion and a second portion removably coupled to the first portion, at least one of the first and second portions being configured to house the light-emitting device and the power-producing device.
  9. 9. The calibration device of claim 6, further comprising:
    a switch configured to selectively electrically connect and disconnect the power-producing device to and from the light-emitting device, respectively.
  10. 10. A high-pressure fluid jet apparatus comprising:
    a cutting head body configured to withstand passage of high-pressure fluid and form a high-pressure fluid jet;
    a mixing tube configured to be coupled to the cutting head body, the high-pressure fluid jet exiting the mixing tube and contacting a target element at a location thereon during operation with fluid; and
    a calibration device being configured to be coupled to the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus and having a light-emitting element, the light-emitting element being configured to project light on the target element at a location substantially identical to the location at which the high-pressure fluid jet contacts the target element during operation with fluid, allowing calibration of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus before operation with fluid.
  11. 11. The high-pressure fluid jet apparatus of claim 10 wherein the calibration device includes at least one structural feature for coupling the calibration device to the cutting head body.
  12. 12. The high-pressure fluid jet apparatus of claim 10 wherein the at least one structural feature includes a detent mechanism.
  13. 13. The high-pressure fluid jet apparatus of claim 10, further comprising:
    a coupling portion, the calibration device being configured to be removably coupled to the coupling portion.
  14. 14. The high-pressure fluid jet apparatus of claim 10 wherein the calibration device is configured to be coupled to a portion of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus to which the mixing tube couples, after removal of the mixing tube.
  15. 15. The high-pressure fluid jet apparatus of claim 10 wherein the light-emitting element is configured to emit light having a controlled wavelength.
  16. 16. The high-pressure fluid jet apparatus of claim 10 wherein the light-emitting element includes a laser diode.
  17. 17. The high-pressure fluid jet apparatus of claim 10, further comprising:
    at least one power-producing device electrically coupled to the light-emitting element and configured to selectively deliver electrical power thereto to illuminate the light-emitting element.
  18. 18. The high-pressure fluid jet apparatus of claim 17 wherein the at least one power-producing device is portable.
  19. 19. The high-pressure fluid jet apparatus of claim 17 wherein the body includes a first portion and a second portion removably coupled to the first portion, at least one of the first and second portions being configured to house the light-emitting device and the power-producing device.
  20. 20. The high-pressure fluid jet apparatus of claim 17, further comprising:
    a switch configured to selectively electrically connect and disconnect the power-producing device to and from the light-emitting device, respectively.
  21. 21. The high-pressure fluid jet apparatus of claim 10 wherein the mixing tube and the calibration device are both coupled to the cutting head body, the calibration device being fixedly positioned with respect to the mixing tube when the mixing tube and calibration device are coupled to the cutting head body.
  22. 22. A method of calibrating a high-pressure fluid jet apparatus having a cutting head body coupled to a mixing tube through which the high-pressure fluid jet exits the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus and contacts a target element at a location thereon during operation with fluid, the method comprising:
    mounting a light-emitting device to the cutting head body;
    projecting light from the light-emitting device on a location on the target element substantially identical to the location at which the high-pressure fluid jet contacts the target element during operation with fluid; and
    before operation of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus with fluid, calibrating a positioning of at least a portion of the high-pressure fluid jet apparatus such that the light is projected on a location on the target element substantially identical to a location at which it is desired for the high-pressure fluid jet to contact the target element during operation with fluid.
  23. 23. The method of claim 22, further comprising:
    removing the mixing tube; and
    mounting the light-emitting device in place of the mixing tube.
  24. 24. The method of claim 22 wherein calibrating the positioning includes subjecting the high-pressure fluid apparatus while it projects light to a motion substantially identical to a selected motion of the apparatus during operation with fluid and aligning a motion of the projected light with a path on the target element along which it is desired for the high-pressure fluid jet to contact the target element during operation with fluid.
  25. 25. The method of claim 24, further comprising:
    applying reference indicia on the target element indicating the path along which it is desired for the high-pressure fluid jet to contact the target element during operation with fluid.
US12134867 2008-06-06 2008-06-06 Device and method for improving accuracy of a high-pressure fluid jet apparatus Abandoned US20090305611A1 (en)

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US9636798B1 (en) * 2015-10-23 2017-05-02 Flow International Corporation Contour follower apparatus and related systems and methods
US9884406B2 (en) 2014-01-15 2018-02-06 Flow International Corporation High-pressure waterjet cutting head systems, components and related methods

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US9003936B2 (en) 2011-07-29 2015-04-14 Flow International Corporation Waterjet cutting system with standoff distance control
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US9636798B1 (en) * 2015-10-23 2017-05-02 Flow International Corporation Contour follower apparatus and related systems and methods

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