01625 610 441

Water Jet Cutting: Abrasive vs Pure Water Jet Cutting

There are two key types of water jet cutting – abrasive and pure with each suitable for a different range of applications.

In this post, we outline the key differences.

The Main Difference Between Abrasive and Pure Water Jet Cutting

Pure water jet cutting is just that, it is only water to make the cut, while abrasive water jet cutting sees the water jet mixed with an abrasive garnet.

water cutting news

Both deliver water at extreme high pressure through a narrow cutting head, however, the addition of the abrasive greatly increases the power and ability to cut both a wider range of materials and also those to a greater depth.

Pure water jet cutting is the form of the technology that existed until the mid 1980s, at which point the mixing of the abrasive became common.

The original version of the technology remains useful and is still used for a wide variety of applications, but the addition of abrasive has made water jet cutting a technology that has overtaken laser and metal pressing as the means for cutting parts for industry.

In a way, you can think if them as different technologies in that they are used for very different projects.

The Technical Difference

Obviously, the addition of the abrasive is a technical difference, this is facilitated through different cutting heads.

The abrasive water jet cutting machine requires a cutting head that has a mixing chamber and nozzle, the abrasive pulled through in the required volume, mixed with the water and forced through the nozzle to create a potent cutting force.

Pure water jet cutting creates a fine stream that makes a very precise cut, an abrasive machine creates a stream that is larger and more powerful.

Pure Water Jet Cutting Is Perfect For…

The limitations of pure water jet cutting, the fact it is only water, mean it cannot cut through thick material.

However, its accuracy means it can be perfect for cutting foam, felt, paper, rubber, thin plastic and some food stuffs.

A pure water jet cuts quickly and is extremely accurate, it also won’t produce heat to damage the cut edge (this true also of the abrasive water jet process).

If a pure water jet is suitable then it is also likely to be cost efficient; clearly there is no point saying to have an abrasive added when that abrasive is not required.

Abrasive Water Jet Cutting is Perfect For…

It is worth noting that an abrasive water jet can cut everything the sure water jet can cut.

In addition, this technology is used for cutting thick material – at least 25cm of virtually any material – and it can cut a far wider range.

Ceramic cutting, the cutting of all metals, plastics and stone are all possible – it is far easier to list the things that can’t be cut – diamond and tempered glass about the only things falling into that category.

An abrasive water jet cutting machine is incredibly versatile – we work with major industry but also artists and sculptors – it is ideal when a part has to be cut accurately and also in a cost-effective manner.

A further advantage of abrasive water jet cutting is that the edge is not damaged – for parts made for industry for instance this can be crucial and it removes all risk of structural imperfections.

Which Is Right For You?

If you require a thick sheet of metal cutting, then abrasive water jet cutting will be the only suitable option, but in other instances the choice might be less clear cut.

For food processing, or the cutting of thin plastic or rubber it may be hat both could perform the task, so which should you choose?

We are happy to offer advise – if you send us the details of the cut we can always provide a best course if action and provide an obligation free quote if that is required.

Ultimately, water jet cutting is suitable for virtually any type of task.

About TMC Water Jet

AT TMC Water Jet, we are a leading UK water jet cutter with clients across the UK and, increasingly Europe. We pride ourselves on bringing unmatched quality to jobs of all sizes for clients across every sector.

We work with major industries, so too with artists and small businesses.

At our state of the art facility, we have high pressure water jets capable of 87,000 PSI, we were also the first in the UK to introduce XD Cutting, this a cutting head that can move through multiple axis and so perform the most complex, delicate of cuts in a single process.

If you have a tile cutting job for which you would value an obligation free quote, please contact us today.

Call us on 01625 610 441 or use our Contact Form.