The process: Waterjet cutting processes begin with a water of the highest purity that is pressurized to 55,000 psi and then released through a small orifice. The material is eroded away with a tolerance accuracy of up to .005". This process is used for soft materials such as plastics and rubber.

For harder materials, such as metal, glass, and stone, the Abrasive Waterjet Process (AWJ) is used. AWJ is a process in which an abrasive (such as garnet) is added into the waterjet stream and accelerated to speeds faster than the speed of sound. The abrasive speeds the erosion process and allows processing of harder materials up to 8" thick.

The entire cutting assembly travels along a track which is controlled by CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. We have the capability of generating custom design to meet your specifications or use your existing files, provided they are compatibly produced.

Scroll down to read answers to common questions...

What types of materials can be cut with your water jet cutting system?
The waterjet can machine any known materials including composite, laminates, plastics, rubbers, castings, forging, aluminum, stainless steels, titanium, hardened or tool steel, exotic alloys, heat sensitive materials, synthetics that may release harmful vapors when cut using other methods and most assuredly any future materials that technology could require and produce. The machines do this all without affecting the material properties or the temper. 

How intricate can my design be?
A kerf (thickness of a cut) of as little as 0.010 inches and cut accuracy of ±0.005 inches enables waterjet cutting systems to cut extremely intricate designs accurately and with little or no filing or finishing. Pieces to be cut can even be stacked directly on top of one another to reduce waste. Computer controlled cut paths ensure that intricate designs can be replicated easily and reliably.

Will waterjet cut my material? What are its limitations?
The following list describes the types of materials that are typically not good applications. Wood is often a poor application, due to its fibers' absorption of water, which causes them to splay and become rough. Many fabrics do not cut well, as the fibers "squirm" out from under the cutting stream, rather than remain in place during the cutting process. However, the most common application that is incompatible with waterjet is pipe. Any material requiring the waterjet to cut through one layer, cross a void, then cut through another layer does not produce desirable results. The cutting stream does not remain cohesive after cutting through the upper layer, causing a poor edge quality on the next layer.

How thick can your water jet cut?
It varies with the softness or hardness of the material being cut. This can range anywhere from a 1/4 inch up to 30 inches thick. Hard materials are normally cut within a 1/4 to 2.5 inch-range.

Can the water jet cut detailed marble inlays for my architectural project?
Whatever design you can conceive, the waterjet can cut. It's that simple. Cutting marble, granite, tile, Corian, ornamental irons, brass, or intricate patterns in brushed or polished stainless steel - whatever the material, you will be impressed.

Since water jet cutting is the best way to cut, is it also outrageously expensive?
You'd be surprised how affordable you'll find New England Water Jet Cutting. The final cost of the job will depend upon the intricacy of the cuts, the number of cuts, the material and turnaround time. Call us for a free estimate!

What are the advantages over plasma and laser cutting systems?
Speed: Waterjet cutting can be faster than many conventional methods. Materials which can be cut include heavy marble, as thick as five inches and one inch plate glass.
Heat/Distortion: Waterjets produce no heat. This means that your material does not distort or become ragged at the edges and the integrity of the material is maintained throughout. Waterjet cutting also produces a smoother cut and a narrower kerf, meaning less waste
Environment: Waterjet cutting systems produce no environmentally unsafe by-products. Water and abrasives are captured in a receiving tank and recycled.
Materials: A waterjet system is the ideal cutting solution for many materials. Titanium, brass, aluminum, and stainless steel are only a few examples of the wide range of materials that a water-jet system can cut.
Accuracy & Repeatability: Waterjet cutting enables repeatable cuts with accuracy as close as ±0.005 in.
Material Thickness: Here the capabilities of waterjet cutting far outperform other cutting systems. Imagine a slab of marble 5 inches thick, or stainless steel 3 inches thick.

What about the waste product that water jet cutting leaves behind? Is it safe, and how is it disposed of?
The waste products are Abrasive, cut material, and dirty water.
Typically solid waste product is Garnet abrasive, mixed small amounts of whatever has been cut.  It can usually be disposed of in land fill.  If toxic materials such as lead are machined then they must be disposed of as hazardous material.
The water is typically treated as "Gray water" which can be recycled, or sent directly to the sewer. If cutting something toxic, there may be a need to filter water, and recycle or dispose of it in special circumstances.

Is your equipment portable? For example, can We have very heavy material at our site which needs cutting...
Our water jet system is designed for use in our shop. Suitable water, power, abrasive inlets and the size and weight of the machines themselves prevent us from making "house calls". However, we are conveniently located off Route 18, near I-195 and route 24 in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Why don't you see systems higher than 60,000 PSI?
There have been many pumps developed that can put out pressures higher than 60,000 PSI, but it is not practical to run them at beyond 60K except for maybe in the testing laboratory.  All the high pressure fittings and plumbing fatigue and fail quickly at higher pressures. Because of this, most  manufacturers of pumps purposefully limit them to under 60,000 PSI.

Have other questions? Call us at (508) 993-9235