What Is the Difference Between Pure and Abrasive Waterjet Cutting?

Not sure what is the difference between pure waterjet cutting and abrasive waterjet cutting, and which one is the best cutting method for your business?

Within the below blog, we will take a closer look at both water and abrasive cutting so that you can ensure you are choosing the right waterjet technology for the materials being cut in your workplace.

What is pure waterjet cutting?

Pure waterjet cutting uses a pressurised stream of water to make precise cuts in a wide range of materials. Less powerful than abrasive waterjet cutting, pure waterjet cutting is ideal for cutting through soft materials such as:

  • Felt
  • Foam
  • Food products like cake, chicken, and fruit
  • Rubber
  • Paper
  • Thin plastics

There are several advantages to using pure waterjet cutting machines, including:

  • Faster cutting speeds
  • Less heat generated
  • Suitable for very light or delicate materials
  • Leaves minimal damage behind
  • Easy to operate
  • Low cost – both initial outlay and maintenance
  • Highly accurate

On the other hand, there are also a few disadvantages that you should know about:

  • Low cutting rate
  • Not suitable for thicker materials
  • Uses green technology
  • Close loop system means less water is needed

What is the Difference Between Pure and Abrasive Waterjet Cutting?

What is abrasive waterjet cutting?

As the name suggests, abrasive waterjet cutting is a more powerful form of water jet cutting and has the ability to cut through harder and more dense materials.

When using an abrasive waterjet cutting machine, typically, a garnet abrasive is added to the water stream via a mixing chamber found in the cutting head.    

Abrasive waterjet cutting is ideal for cutting materials such as:

  • Metals including aluminium, steel, and copper
  • Ceramic
  • Thick plastic
  • Stone

There are several advantages to using abrasive waterjet cutting machines, including the fact there is more flexibility but less stress to the material. In addition, there will be no hazardous waste, a low amount of heat is generated, and it uses green technology. If this wasn’t all, it also requires very little water but is capable of high precision cuts and 3D shapes.

However, there are a few drawbacks you may want to consider:

  • A longer cutting time
  • Higher risk of mechanical failure
  • Higher initial costs
  • The abrasive material can be costly
  • The nozzles are fragile and have a short life span
  • Not suitable for cutting softer materials

How to Choose the Right Cutting Method

You need to think carefully before you decide which type of waterjet cutting process to select for your operation.

Firstly, you need to think about what materials you need to cut. How hard are they? How thick are they?

Secondly, you must consider the level of precision required. Do you need a precise cut every time, or perhaps speed is more pertinent?

Here at Kerf Developments, we offer a wide range of high-quality waterjet cutting machines that are able to cut through almost any material. If you are not sure which type of waterjet cutting machine you should invest in, all you need to do is get in touch with our knowledgeable team, and we will help you make the right decision.

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