The Anatomy of Abrasive Water Jet Cutting

What is abrasive water jet cutting and how does it work? The working idea behind water jet cutting is the use of water in cutting through light and soft materials which may include paper and even food.

Over the years, we looked into and developed high-pressure technology and the resulting equipment based on these were developed. Later on, we fine-tuned them. 

Today, water jet abrasive machining is one of the more popular precision metal cutting techniques. The classic waterjet cutting applications are found in the intricate shapes cut out from large-scale composite material sheets, even the thick ones.  

Basically, this cutting-edge technology makes use of a high-pressure stream of water, which is sometimes can be mixed with an abrasive. The strong stream of high-pressure water is directed to a narrow line on the workpiece. By virtue of erosion, the material is removed, slowly. 

Abrasive grains, primarily granite powder, can be added to help boost the high-PSI water system’s ability to cut. By virtue of adding granular abrasive material to the nozzle water, it will enable the machine to switch between water containing abrasive material and water-only. This feature allows you to use your machine with water-only for positioning. In the machining parlance, this is referred to as the “rapid”. 

Often times, the abrasive waterjet cutting method is being lined alongside oxy-fuel cutting, plasma cutting, and laser cutting. All due to their ability to create and form intricate shapes cut in the C and Y axes of a flat sheet of material. 

Plasma cutting may well qualify as having the lowest operating costs. But, besides that, it is also brutal and naturally tends to make the largest kerf. Although this does not necessarily take away it’s being indispensable for to some cutting settings.

Now as for the oxy-fuel cycling technique, this method involves a chemical reaction. It is best described as rapid controlled rusting. But despite this having denigrating description, it is capable of producing for you smaller kerf with smooth edges and ends.  

One of the good advantages of waterjet cutting is that it won’t generate heat. Aside from which, it is also capable of cutting through non-metallics with smaller kerf, although with some complications.

Getting in the lead with waterjet cutting is laser cutting. It is the main challenger in many appropriate applications and is reputed to produce small kerf, the smallest so far among the four methods of cutting.  

To Use Water Jet Cutting Or Not To Use Water Jet‭?

When cutting intricate shapes off a large material sheet, there is always one good logic explaining the reason why anyone would want to choose waterjet cutting.

Or even other methods, laser, oxy-fuel, and plasmas. But we are going to leave this type of discussion on the hands of the industry experts. 

For applications like the 2-axis cut-off of rods, wires, or small precision tubes, other methods would often prove to be the better choice.