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How does waterjet cutting work?

The hair-thin waterjet operates 80,000 psi can quickly cut metals, gaskets, foams, plastics and thin rubber. The design of water jet tools is extremely simple and efficient. Water is pumped into a nozzle where it is mixed with an abrasive material.

Usually, the water pumping part falls in the area of ultra-high pressure pumps, which can deliver pressures between 40,000 psi and 80,000 psi. The abrasive material is made of a mixture of grit and other additives, such as garnet and aluminum oxide, although water jet cutters can be used without the abrasive compound when slicing through soft solids.

As the water-abrasive material mix exits the nozzle of the device at speeds of up to 1440 kilometers and impacts the surface of the material that needs to be cut, it basically starts stripping tiny bits of matter away from it at high speeds, creating what we observe as a cut in the material.


Although abrasive waterjets are ideally suited for tough, and lucrative, applications such as titanium, inconel, brass, tool steel, glass, stone or composites, the most commonly cut materials include aluminum and steel. Cutting and piercing delicate glass works is not a problem either using waterjet technology.

From cutting of intricate stained glass to piercing holes in glass. The abrasive waterjet cuts any stone or tile, without a change in tooling. It can drill, or 'pierce', its own starter hole. It can pierce holes in most materials without any special consideration. With this option, even the most delicate glass, stone or tile can be pierced.

The abrasive waterjet does not impart any heat or surface stress onto the stone or tile. Therefore, the material retains original appearance and strength.


Why use waterjet cutting?

  • Complex Shapes - Ideal for cutting complex 2-dimensional shapes and some 3D shapes using our 3-axis head. Small diameter holes are also possible.
  • No tool changing - A wide range of conventional processes can be performed with this single tool allowing us to provide rapid delivery to our clients:
  • Abrasive Water Jet vs. Milling:
    • Rapid clean-up
    • Faster and easier programming
    • Ability to machine a wider range of materials ranging from brittle hard materials to soft, 'gummy' materials
    • No tool change-out.
  • Abrasive Water Jet vs. EDM: 
    • Much faster and therefore less expensive machining
    • Process non-electrically conductive materials such as plastics, glass, ceramics, and stone
    • Does not require pre-drilling pilot holes
    • No heat-effected zone
    • Capable of processing larger parts.


  • Abrasive Water Jet vs. Lasers:
    • Abrasive jets do not cause thermal distortion or require post cutting heat treating
    • Lower capital equipment cost reducing machining price
    • Ability to process reflective materials
    • No scale on edges reducing clean-up cost
    • No potentially dangerous fumes are generated using abrasive waterjets
    • Ability to cut thicker materials.
  • Abrasive Water Jet vs. Plasma or Flame:
    • No thermal distortion or heat effected zone
    • No scale on edges reducing clean-up cost
    • Cut a wider range of materials including plastics, foams, and rubber.

Latest news

Mon, 14 May 2018

David Meadows Managing Director for Hooton Engineering is pleased to announce that following a recent audit Hooton Engineering has successfully completed the transition onto the new ISO 9001-2015 Standard. 


Certificate Number 12880
ISO9001, BS EN 1090

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