Waterjet Carves a Broader Niche

Advances in waterjet technology have made that process more viable as an alternative to both laser cutting and wire EDM.

A waterjet cleaves into 2 ¼-inch titanium at Midwest Precision. 
 
Abrasive waterjet makes a big splash in this month’s “Better Production” section, where two product-solves-problem success stories detail how very different shops use the technology as a cost-effective alternative to other processes. For Midwest Precision, a fabricating shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the right combination of motion system and high-pressure pump have expanded the range of work that can be processed via waterjet rather than laser cutting. Meanwhile, Hanson, Massachusetts-based Jack’s Machine has been known to cut parts for free just to prove that its waterjets are a viable option for work that potential customers deem better suited for wire EDM. 

The takeaway from this coverage shouldn’t be that abrasive waterjet is somehow “better” than laser cutting or EDM. Rather, both stories demonstrate that all of these processes have their place. Although waterjet technology has certainly come a long way in recent years, Midwest Precision is no more likely to give up on laser cutting than it was a decade ago, nor is Jack’s Machine any more likely to give up on wire EDM. For both of these shops, the advantage of more advanced waterjet technology is additional flexibility in selecting the best process for the job.