Manufacturers across all industries are often faced with the task of precise, cost-efficient, and effective metal cutting of a wide variety of metallic materials. In approaching a metal cutting project, manufacturers are faced with several types of cutting equipment to choose from, including laser, plasma and waterjet cutting machinery. Waterjets are an increasingly popular choice among manufacturers when it comes to metal cutting, as they are widely applicable to a multitude of metallic materials, including brass, copper, titanium, steel, aluminum, and more. The versatility of waterjets for metal cutting comes from the fact that waterjets use both water and an added abrasive agent or jewel to cut metals.
Waterjet cutting technology harnesses the natural power of erosion by forcing a highly pressurized water stream through a small opening for the purpose of clean, precise line cutting, piercing, or contouring.
Within the waterjet cutting industry, you will most often hear the term “Abrasive Waterjet” when discussing waterjet metal cutting, as these waterjets are most often used to cut harder, metallic materials like stainless steel and titanium. An abrasive waterjet implies that the waterjet system uses an added abrasive agent, usually a jewel or gem such as garnet, to maximize its metal cutting power and accelerate the metal cutting process.
Waterjets are a wise choice vs. laser and plasma cutting technologies for metal cutting, with several clear advantages. For example, waterjets do not produce any Heat-Affected Zones (HAZ) or HAZ-associated damage, and therefore are ideal for metal cutting of heat-sensitive materials. More material damage means more wasted product and/or more secondary finishing work post-metal cutting. This also guarantees no hardening of the material along the cut line, and no hazardous fumes or vapors produced from a material that becomes toxic when heated. Additionally, waterjets produce very little kerf, meaning that your valuable metallic materials are used as efficiently as possible, with little material removed. This means that more parts per sheet are produced overall, saving time, money, and materials.