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Water Jet Cutting Machines FAQs 

Experienced, knowledgeable support from the technical team at Waterjet Sweden UK

If you’ve got a question we haven’t covered then please drop us a line and we’ll be happy to advise. We’re adding to this page all the time so please check back regularly for updates!

A water jet cutting machine uses highly focused water jets for cutting work. This non-thermal cutting process is as follows:

• Ordinary tap water is filtered and pressurised in an Ultra High-Pressure pump then fed into the cutting heads with several thousand bar pressure.

• A small diameter orifice will concentrate the water beam and the pressure turns into velocity. The supersonic water beam cuts all kinds of soft material like plastic, foam, rubber and wood. This process is called Pure Water Jet Cutting (PWJ).The cutting heads move according to a fixed pattern over the material.

• To increase the cutting power, grains of an abrasive are added to the stream and the water beam turns into high-speed sandpaper cutting all kinds of hard materials like stone, glass, metal and composites. Thus, high-precision cuts can be carried out without thermal distortion even on materials of various types and thicknesses.This process is called Abrasive Water Jet Cutting (AWJ). For micro components and really narrow cuts there is the Fine Abrasive Water Jet process (FAWJ), based on the same principles as AWJ.

Waterjet cutting is associated mostly with metals as this is what most manufacturers started using the AWJ process for. Metal for fabrication often comes in sheets and plates, making it amenable to cutting by a variety of means, including waterjet cutting, laser cutting and guillotining. However, water jet cutters can be used to cut virtually any material quickly and precisely in any shape or size. Waterjet cutting can be used to cut and etch glass. It is commonly used to cut and shape stone, and it can be used for cutting wood. In fact, some musical instrument manufacturers use waterjets to accurately cut precision parts for violins, cellos and double basses. Waterjets are also regularly used for cutting rubber, plastics and food.

Water jet cutting is a non-thermal cutting method using only natural sand and water to cut almost any material. The brittle cutting process give a smooth cutting surface with no slag or heat affected zones, and there is less need for post processing. All materials can be cut by the same water jet machine, from soft rubber and plastics to the hardest metals and ceramics. A CNC operated water jet cutter ensures identical parts independent of volumes and with high material yields. To find out more click on these links, Metals, Composites, Glass, Stone & Ceramic, Rubber & Plastics, Wood.

Waterjet cutting can be faster, cheaper and more precise than other cutting techniques, including laser cutting, for a wide variety of materials. Waterjet cutting can be used on shiny / reflective metals unlike CO2 laser cutting which has trouble with these metals, and of course with a thickness capability up to 300mm in even titanium and exotic metals has a much larger scope than even the latest fibre laser systems. Furthermore, as materials cut by waterjet are simultaneously cooled by the water tank surrounding the cutting bed, materials are not distorted by the heat generated by other cutting methods.

The incoming water from mains should be kept below 20 degC as it enters the intensifier. This prolongs the life of high pressure seals and other consumables. The water is normally passed through a number of particle filters to around 2µm and if necessary is also softened to meet the specification of each pump manufacturer. Different incoming water supplies may require specific treatment.

Since the process is by nature an abrasive one, there is a temperature rise in the tank due to the cutting process that is handled by the throughput of cool cutting water and thermal convection. It is important to understand the thermal effects for specific applications.

No, waterjet cutting canbe used to fashion intricate designs, sharp and precise features as well as curvedprofiles with or without any straight edges. 5-Axis movement is provided bytechnology such as Beveljet60™ where freeform 3D shapes can be contoured fromthe programming of 3D cad models.

Every Water Jet Sweden machine is built to order to meet the specific requirements of the customer. As a result, the cost of a Water Jet Sweden water jet cutting machine can vary greatly depending on the following criteria:

  • Desired size of the working zone
  • Desired number of cutting heads
  • Desired cutting method (2D / 3D)
  • Material to be processed

A water jet cutting machine can also be equipped with a range of function tools and features at an added cost to support your specific production requirements.

In addition to purchase costs, the cost of water, electricity, abrasives and wear parts should be taken into account in the planning.

Waterjet can cut up to 12” of most materials. Many customers report cutting material even thicker than that however most waterjet cutting is 3 inches thick or less. Cutting thicker than that usually reduces the tolerance that can be maintained and increases the amount of time to cut a part.

Maintenance of a waterjet cutter primarily involves servicing and changing consumable items in the cutting head and the pump. In the cutting head, orifices, nozzles, wear inserts, needle and seats, and abrasive delivery tubes will wear out. The pumps will need high-pressure seals, check valves and low-pressure seals serviced and changed as they wear.

Do a few test cuts of the different sections of the part at the speeds with which you expect to cut.

Generally as your speed increases you will have an increased amount of drag and taper on your part, but when cutting at the correct speed for your material you should be able to hold +/- 0.003 - 0.005". The speed that these changes occur at is going to vary depending on the material that you are cutting. It is recommended that you use our cutting speed calculator. This will provide you with cutting speeds for different quality finishes with different materials.

The normal overflow water and cooling water from your tank should be able to go down the drain without causing any environmental problems. You will not be able to do this though if any of the material you have been cutting with your waterjet is considered hazardous.

When calculating the overall production cost, water jet has repeatedly come out as the most profitable cutting method compared to traditional thermal methods.

Smooth cutting edge – With a precision of 0.1 millimeter, the surface can be made so smooth that there is no or very little need for additional processing.

No negative heat effects – With the cold waterjet cutting method, the material will always keep its characteristics. No micro cracks, stress and hardened surfaces. This also eliminate impact by dust, toxic gases and deformation by slag and dross.

High-precision cuts – A pure waterjet beam makes thin incisions of 0.1-0.25 mm. An Abrasive Water Jet makes 0.4-1 mm wide cuts, in up to 300 mm thick solids at a tolerance of 0,025 mm. The FAWJ cutting head on Micro cutting gives a 0.2 mm incision at the extreme tolerance of 0.01 mm!

Simple and versatile – You can cut different materials and shapes – from prototypes to serial production – with simple programming, with the same cutting tool and with very short setup time.

To complement laser and plasma
The main reason for the laser and plasma industries to invest in water jet systems is the fact that they can cut a comprehensive range of materials and thicknesses without thermal impact on the material.

Preparation before milling
Water jet cutting is ideal for preparation of parts before milling. Cut two dimensional solids quick and easy – and you will save both processing time and tool wear.

To streamline EDM
When the EDM tolerances are not needed, water jet cutting is a cost-efficient complementary cutting method. The water jets also cut non-conducting materials like composites and glass.

To increase profit
Water jet cutting can either be a substitute for or a complement to your present cutting solution. It all depends on your needs and requirements. Let us assist you in making the calculus and find the best solution for you.

If you are in the UK and have problems with your water jet cutting machine, Water jet Sweden UK is always available for you. We offer these services around your system:
• 24 hours support via our hotline
• Original Spare Parts
• Custom-made comprehensive service and maintenance contracts
• Support in the process of expansion and relocation
• On-site training
Please contact us to find out more.

Latest Technical Bulletins 

How to minimise waste when processing expensive materials

Turning waste into added value

Use waterjet cutting in your machining process to improve your material recycling and usage.

Simple Customisation Turns Waste into Added Value
Instead of drilling to cut out holes in the production of Inconel cylinders the use of waterjet technology with its narrow incision and fine kerf allows separate pieces to be cut out of the same material.


FiveX - 5 Axis Machine System

FiveX - 5 Axis Machine System

Ideal for repeat high precision free form cutting of full 3D components

Welcome to the first in a series of technical bulletins, this month we focus on FiveX, the 5-axis machine system from Water Jet Sweden providing a custom machine tool solutions developed to shape high-tech materials into advanced 3D parts.


Take a look at some Waterjet Sweden machines in action

5 Axis Water Jet Cutting
Microcut Waterjet Cutting
Single Head Water Jet Cutting

Why choose Water Jet Sweden UK?

World Class Expertise

The worldwide patent for the integrated guide system, high performance cutting heads and valves, alongside working with Fanuc and Siemens, world-leading control suppliers has made it possible to manufacture a full range of 2D and 3D CNC water jet machines to provide maximum accuracy and performance.

Highest Technical Standards

Our water jet cutting machines do more than just fulfil the daily requirements of productivity, flexibility and profitability. By using components tested over many years and using the latest manufacturing techniques in high pressure water jet cutting and drive engineering fields, Water Jet Sweden offers CNC machines of the highest technical standard.

Dedicated UK Technical Support

Our team of approved and experienced, Water Jet Sweden factory trained water jet cutting engineers is based in the UK and on hand to solve any problems 24 hours a day. Our UK Technical Centre also provides test cutting and training.

If you can't find the information you were looking for then please contact us here

Our Clients

At Water Jet Sweden we have the expertise and knowledge to satisfy the most demanding waterjet cutting machine requirements. Here’s just a small selection of Water Jet Sweden clients in the UK.

Gavin Bell

Gavin Bell
General Manager

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