HOW DOES WATERJET CUTTING WORK? 

 HOW DOES WATERJET CUTTING WORK? 

A waterjet cutting machine, also known as a water jet cutter or water jet, is an industrial cutting tool capable of cutting a wide variety of materials practically in any form. It is a non-thermal cutting method that is based on a high velocity of a waterjet.

Water is pressured into extremely high pressure (up to 6200 bar) and this jet is focused on the material that needs to be cut. With the power of erosion, the jet will go through the material separating the pieces.

There are two main types of waterjet cutting: pure water cutting with only water and abrasive waterjet cutting where abrasive is mixed to the waterjet. Pure water cutting is used for softer materials such plywood, plastic, or rubber as there the waterjet has enough energy to pierce and cut the material. Adding abrasive and thus creating a mixture of abrasive and water is increasing the energy of the jet and this can be used to cut hard materials such as metals, stone, glass, or carbon fiber. Both methods can be referred as waterjet cutting.

waterjet head parts

Why would you choose waterjet cutting over another cutting method?

Versatility

Virtually no material limitations, very thin (< 1 mm) and very thick (>350 mm) materials can be cut by waterjet cutting.

Quality

No material changes due to heat affect zone (HAZ), no material distortion, process enabling strict tolerances.

Efficiency

Minor loss of material due to effective nesting and thin cutting kerf. Wide unmanned cutting options

Speed

No additional finishing usually needed, cutting can be done with several cutting heads and stacked materials

Complexity

Practically all cutting shapes are possible with 5-axis cutting or robot cutting

Environment

No hazardous waste, no toxic fuses

Simplicity

All you need is electricity & water, and abrasive for hard materials

Comparison table between waterjet, laser, and plasma cutting

Method of cuttingWaterjet

(abrasive)

Laser beamPlasma beam
Suitable materialsAllHomogeneous,

no reflective bodies

Metals & conductive

materials

Material thicknessThick and thinThin and mediumMedium and thick
ShapesComplicatedComplicatedSimple
Material hardeningNoYesYes
Thermal deformationNoYes,small areaYes,wider area
Hazardous vapoursNoYesYes
Multilayer cuttingPossibleImpossibleImpossible
Precision cuttingHighHighMedium