Water cutting is a popular form of cutting just about any material for a production facility, and it can be used instead of lasers or standard sawing and drilling for most applications. If you manage a production facility and need materials cut, you might consider water cutting versus laser cutting, welding, and the like. Note a few questions you might have about the process and why it's so beneficial, and then discuss these with a water cutting contractor if you need more information.
1. Can water cutting work on any material?
Some soft materials such as paper or cloth are best cut with a water cutter so that they don't burn up from the heat of a metal type of cutter. Other materials such as wood, granite, and other stones can typically be cut with a water cutter as well, and usually with little to no surface prep.
2. Why opt for water cutting over a laser cutter?
Lasers are often chosen as cutters because they're so precise and can cut with little waste, but note that lasers cannot cool the surface of something being cut as can water. Lasers also don't remove dust and other debris when a material is being cut; water can help to reduce dust and then also collect and control the creation of dust, making for a cleaner cut overall.
3. Is an abrasive used in water cutting?
Cutting very hard materials such as granite or stone may mean that abrasives are added to the water. These may be small garnet particles that are hard enough to create the abrasion needed for a precise cut but which don't damage the surface of the material being cut. The abrasives are then typically rinsed away and collected with the water.
4. Is water cutting an eco-friendly method of cutting?
One reason that water cutting may be more eco-friendly than other types of cutting is that it does work to control dust so that it doesn't settle into the ground. This protects the soil and groundwater. The garnet that is used in the cutting process for an abrasive is also typically collected so that it can be recycled and reused for future cuts. Because water cutting is so precise, there is less waste of material to collect and dispose of. If you are concerned about making the most eco-friendly choice, ask a water cutter (like Intracut) if they collect any waste or scrap and have it recycled so this material doesn't clog landfills and less virgin materials need to be harvested.