Waterjet cutting is an erosion-based process that uses extremely high water pressures – 4137 bar (60,000 psi) or higher – to cut material. Used with or without an abrasive, waterjet systems excel at very precise cutting of a wide range of material, with no heat-affected zone.

Waterjet system components

Waterjet components

  • Waterjet pump – source of high-pressure water
  • Abrasive regulator
  • Nesting software
  • Controller
  • Cutting table
  • Cutting head – available in abrasive or water-only versions Abrasive cutting head vs water-only cutting head
  • Consumables
    • Orifices – diamonds or rubies
    • Nozzles
    • Replacement kits
    • Supporting equipment
    • Bulk abrasive storage – transfers the abrasive to the abrasive regulator
    • Closed loop cutting water recycling – for cutting hazardous material or water recycling
    • Abrasive recycling – can recover approximately 50-70% of abrasive for reuse
    • Reverse osmosis system – TDS < 250 parts per million (if higher, water must be purified to extend component life)
    • Abrasive removal system – system inside tank that transfers spent abrasive into a hopper

Classes of waterjet

  • Abrasive
    • Hard rock (sharp edges) – used for hardest materials
    • Alluvial (rounded edges) – used for less hard materials
  • Non-abrasive
    • Water-only applications – used for softer materials

Waterjet applications

  • Where heat-affected zone is not acceptable
  • Where secondary process is undesirable
  • Situations where material type is highly variable (e.g. job shops)
  • Application requiring tight tolerances (+/- 0.005 in. or 0.013 cm)
  • For fine feature cutting
  • Cutting very thick materials (greater than 2” or 5.08 cm)

Industries and markets include:

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