Abrasive waterjet cutting technology is one of the fastest growing major machine tool processes in the world due to its versatility and endless capabilities to cut virtually any material.

What makes waterjet cutting so popular?  Waterjets require few secondary operations, produce net-shaped parts with no HAZ (heat –affected zone), heat distortion or mechanical stresses caused by other cutting methods. Waterjets cut with a narrow kerf, minimal burr and can provide better usage of raw material since parts can be tightly nested.

Comparisons with other heat cutting technologies.

Waterjet vs. Laser:

• Waterjets can machine many materials lasers cannot.
• Reflective materials such as aluminum, polished stainless,
  copper and brass can also be difficult for lasers.
• Waterjets create no thermal distortion or hardening of the material.
• No noxious fumes

Waterjet vs. Plasma:

• Waterjet is more precise and no HAZ.
• Waterjets leave a cleaner edge with no slag to remove.
• Waterjet cutting allows for tighter nesting of parts.

Waterjet vs. EDM:

• Waterjets cut much faster with less setup involved.
• Waterjets can cut non-conductive materials.
• Waterjets pierce without the need for pre-drilling.
• Waterjets have a larger work area which allows for bigger parts and the ability to
  cut in one setup.

Waterjet is an alternative cutting option. Each cutting process has its strengths and weaknesses. Waterjet is not always the most cost-effective method. As a rule, if the finished product is presently being acceptably cut using laser, plasma or oxyfuel and no secondary work is required to the part after being cut, it is unlikely waterjet will be an economical solution. However, as soon as any secondary work (e.g.  threading a hole, cleanup of slag or finish milling), closer tolerances or removal of the Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) is needed, waterjet  is the solution.