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Water jet cutting and tiles – the perfect combination?

The versatility of water jet cutting might be well known, but this could create an impression that while it is suitable for many jobs it might not always be the best option.

How does this form of technology stack up with a specific, common task? 

Cutting tiles is an incredibly common requirement, is water jet cutting a good choice? How does it compare to other technologies, is it as accurate and cost effective as mechanical cutting or laser cutting?

Depth of Cut

One key advantage of water jet cutting is that it can cut to greater depths than many technologies. 

Water jet cutting can cut to 10 times the depth of laser cutting – up to 25cm in most materials – and so is suitable for any standard tiles. In many cases, lasers will simply lack the cutting force to be an option for tiles.

Mechanical methods can cut thick tiles, but the brittle nature of the material makes imperfections a risk, this not a problem with water jet cutting.

Accuracy of Cut

Water jet cutting is perhaps best described as accelerated erosion and it is this approach to cutting that provides a key advantage.

The water jet, mixed with abrasive garnet, does not create heat, it simply erodes along the line to be cut. On the cut part, there are no imperfections, simply an accurate cut.

Other options can introduce imperfections. Laser cutting can for instance create an edge with discolouration, this because the edge is essentially burnt. Mechanical methods that rely on force risk creating jagged edges and cuts that are not uniform.

Water jet cutting is also controlled by state of the art technology with a cutting head that can follow any pattern. Tiles can therefore be cut to any design, with complex shapes and angles cut as required.

Tile Cutting – Cost of Cut

Water jet cutting can cut in high volumes with the cutting head following the path as specified, as such being largely self running. 

The technology also uses only simple materials – water and the abrasive garnet – and there is little to be disposed of, only the shavings from the cut edge and the water and inert garnet.

This all leads to a technology that is highly competitive on price – certainly anyone requiring a number of tiles cut should compare the cost of water jet cutting against other options.

The cost effective nature is demonstrated by the fact that those who need quality but without huge budgets turn to this form of cutting. At TMC Waterjet for instance we have worked with artists using water jet cutting and public exhibitions, for instance cutting the tiles for a public art exhibition in Switzerland.

The art exhibition required the tiles to look stunning, the pattern had to be exact, quality had to be perfect. We believe it demonstrates the advantages of water jet cutting that a Swiss art exhibition chose to work with a water jet cutting company in the north of England. 

Having the tiles shipped across Europe and working with a company in another country was a better option than using other forms of technology available locally.

Size of job

Good water jet cutting operators do not discriminate by size of job.

Of course, as with any business, it is useful to have major jobs on the books but ultimately the machines are either in use or idle. Having one in use to fulfil a small order is never a problem.

In fact, the smaller jobs are often the most interesting – at TMC Water Jet we perhaps remember working with a vicar who needed new church keys, or the Star Wars enthusiast we made replica helmets for more than some of the jobs for industry,

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.