Waterjet Cutting and Abrasive Waterjet Cutting

About Waterjet Cutting

Waterjet Cutting is a process that employs high-pressure water with garnet (abrasive waterjet cutting) in suspension as the cutting medium. Some of the advantages customers receive from using Abrasive Water Jet Cutting include:

  • 5-axis control
  • No heat input and no recast
  • Ideal for non-metallic materials and super-alloys
  • Thick cross sections (up to 3″ in Steel,, 4” in Titanium 6″ in Aluminum)
  • Fast and accurate
  • Highly repeatable

The Value of Water Jet Cutting

Benefits of Water Jet Cutting

  • Water Jet Cutting creates superior edge quality
    • Typical finishes 125-250 microns – Q1 through Q5
    • Dependent upon materials and thickness
    • Reduced need for secondary finishing
    • No cutter-induced distortion
    • Low cutting forces on workpiece
    • Limited tooling requirements
    • Little to no cutting burr
    • Small kerf size (.020″-.045″) reduces material scrap
  • Water Jet Cutting preserves metallurgical integrity
    • No heat-affected zone
    • Localizes structural changes
    • No cutter-induced metal contamination
    • Eliminates thermal distortion
  • Water Jet Cutting can perform composite cutting – nonmetallic
    • Minimal delimitation of edge cut surfaces
    • No fraying of edge cut surfaces
    • No thermally induced cracking
    • No splintering
  • Water Jet Cutting creates smooth cuts
    • No slag or cutting dross
  • Water Jet Cutting is omnidirectional
    • Precise multiplane cutting of contours, shapes, and bevels of any angle


Limitations of Water Jet Cutting

  • Cannot drill flat bottom, “non-through” holes
  • Cannot cut materials that degrade quickly with moisture
  • Surface finish degrades at higher cut speeds, which are frequently used for rough cutting

Abrasive Waterjet Typical Finishes

abrasive_waterjet_finish_1 Excellent Edge Finish, Light Striations, Minimal Edge Taper

abrasive_waterjet_finish_2 Good Edge Finish, Limited Striations

abrasive_waterjet_finish_3 Clean Cut, Moderate Bottom Striations

abrasive_waterjet_finish_4 Through Cut

abrasive_waterjet_finish_5 Separation Cut, Requires Force to Separate


Comparative Cutting Rates

The Waterjet Cutting Process

High-pressure water as a work tool has reached the machine tool industry with great benefits. The Abrasive Waterjet Cutting process is controlled with CNC programming and can hold tolerances normally associated with Laser Cutting. Our Abrasive Waterjet Cutting system has 5-axis controls, allowing for complex geometries, as well as flat sheet processing capabilities. The Abrasive Waterjet Cutting system operates at a maximum pressure of 55,000 psi (technology is allowing for the introduction of higher pressure capabilities), flowing through a ceramic orifice and mixing tube.

The pressures required to operate the Waterjet Cutting (and abrasive water jet system) system are generated through high-pressure intensifiers (pumps) and high-pressure attenuators (smoothening the peaks and valleys of the pumps). The orifice finely focuses the water stream to a pinpoint, creating an intense water stream projection. The Abrasive Waterjet Cutting system’s mixing tube facilitates the introduction of a cutting media; typically the abrasive material is garnet. The combination of expulsion from the nozzle at speeds reaching 2.5 times the speed of sound, and the near homogenous mixture of abrasive and water, creates an extremely powerful cutting device.

How it Works

The Waterjet Cutting process is not a thermal process and therefore does not introduce recast, remelt, or heat-related distortion. This attribute of Abrasive Waterjet Cutting creates a tremendous value for subsequent operations, with little finishing needed.

WardJet Flat Sheet

Multi-head, 55,000 PSI


Par – Vector

Integrated 5-Axis Wrist, 55,000 PSI

CNC Wrist

Par – Vector

Integrated 5-Axis Wrist, 55,000 PSI

CNC Wrist