Water Jet Cutting vs. Abrasive Jet Cutting - Which is Best for You?

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Water Jet Cutting vs. Abrasive Jet Cutting - Which is Best for You?

16 January 2017
 Categories: , Blog

There are a vast number of manufacturing methods available to the modern manufacturer, regardless of which industry you're operating in — and water jet cutting is one of the most versatile methods.  In the past, water jet cutting was restricted to use in soft materials only, but there are also ways of making this method work for stronger materials such as titanium.  Either way, the materials are cut using an extremely high-pressure water jet, either with or without additional abrasive materials such as gravel.  It's a precise and highly efficient process.  But which of the two options is most suited to your manufacturing project?

Water Jet Cutting

Sometimes referred to as pure water jet cutting, this method uses no abrasive materials to strengthen the stream of water and cuts purely with water pressure.  As such, it is suited to softer or less dense materials such as paper, clay and wood.  As only the water is used to cut the materials, there is no associated heat output.  This is one of the key benefits to water jet cutting, as many other methods incur high temperature changes which can damage or adversely affect some products.

Abrasive Jet Cutting

If the materials you wish to use are strong, such as granite or titanium, then abrasive jet cutting is the preferable option.  With the addition of the abrasive — sometimes aluminium oxide, but many different alternates are used — the water pressure can provide just as accurate and precise a cut through hard materials as pure water jet cutting can through soft ones.  Just like pure jet cutting, there is no associated temperature change.

Additional Benefits

There are few limits to the complexity of design that water jet cutting can permit.  Some angles of cutting may be difficult and require complex solutions, but if this is the case, an expert will likely be able to help you rethink the manufacturing process to avoid this.  Equally, the method is extremely clean; it is often used in the food industry, for example in meat-cutting, because it does not require a blade or cutting device of any kind to touch the product.  As such, if contamination is an issue for you, this could be an ideal method.


Some materials are simply too strong even for abrasive jet cutting; specifically, the material must be softer than the abrasive being used.  You can speak directly to a water jet manufacturer about this.

Whatever you will be manufacturing, using a water jet cutter is well worth your consideration as a manufacturing process.