What Thickness of Metal Can a Waterjet Cutter Penetrate Through?

If you are looking for a metal cutting solution that fits your specific requirements, then you need to take water jet cutters into consideration.

Waterjets are one of the most effective cutting methods you can use for metal, providing a whole host of benefits. 

Not only does the waterjet approach offer the widest range of metal cutting thicknesses, but it is relatively environmentally friendly, especially when compared to other metal cutting methods. Whether you are looking to implement long or short production runs, need an impressive level of accuracy, or need to pump out products quickly, this solution can deliver. 

As a result, if you are looking for a flexible cutting method that can cut thick pieces of metal, you need to consider a waterjet cutter.

Here is what you need to know about waterjet systems and the level of metal thickness they can penetrate through:

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Waterjet Cutting?

Benefits of waterjet metal cutters

Firstly, it is critical to appreciate the many benefits of a waterjet cut, especially when compared with the various other metal cutting solutions available. 

Waterjet systems offer one of the highest quality cuts available on the market. This would not be so noteworthy if it weren’t for the fact that it also provides one of the fastest and most efficient cuts, too. This tempting combination of speed and accuracy makes it ideal for both high and low volume production runs. 

Within these two key benefits lie hidden, easily overlooked advantages

Usually, creating a one-off prototype product to test or show to a client is a costly and time-consuming process. Many production methods only become efficient when producing items en-masse, which is tricky when you only need a single example. 

When you use a waterjet cutter, this process is made simple and cost-efficient because the process is so rapid. 

Furthermore, waterjet cutting is regarded to a great extent as an environmentally-friendly form of metal cutting because it is a cold process. Although this will be elaborated upon later on, for now, it is worth noting that because there is no heat generation involved, a waterjet cutter won’t require any lubricating or cooling oils. It uses water only. The upshot of this is that you don’t need to get rid of any contaminated chips afterwards, which could damage the wider environment or generate toxic fumes during the cutting process. 

If you are interested in learning more about waterjet cutters, feel free to contact us

The waterjet metal cutting process explained

Now it is time to discover more about the waterjet cutting process and the levels of metal thickness it can cut through.

As its name suggests, the waterjet cutter uses a mechanical sawing process to cut through a material - rather than using heat to create a chemical reaction. 

Think of it like an extremely powerful saw, using a huge number of individual teeth to cut away at the extent from one surface. 

It then injects a narrow current of high pressure water into the metal using serrated pieces of garnet (or similar types of rock). To ensure that the abrasive waterjet cuts through the metal, this process has to happen at an extremely high speed. 

The water is then compressed using high pressure pumps and injected into the metal through a tiny hole, which in turn accelerates the velocity of the ultra high pressure water. 

This method is enough to cut through an extremely thick slice of metal. As a rule of thumb, waterjet cutters can manage up to around three inches thick of metal. While you can theoretically manage a thicker amount, the overall cutting process will be lengthened, and it will become less efficient as a result. 

The metals that a waterjet machine can cut include aluminium, titanium carbon fibre, and transition elements like copper, which are also classed as a chemical element. If in doubt about your chosen material, you can always check in the periodic table.

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