Abrasive Waterjet FAQ's

1. How do Abrasive Waterjet Systems work?

The abrasive waterjet uses a high pressure stream of water, with the addition of a cutting median (garnet) to erode material away. The water is moving at twice the speed of sound, it accelerates the garnet particles across the material, which in-turn erodes the material way in very tiny pieces in rapid succession. The speed of erosion is dependant on: water speed and quantity, abrasive hardness and quantity and material hardness and thickness. The fine jetstream creates high tolerance accuracy and the material retains its original properties as there is no heat effected zone

2. What’s the difference between water-only and Abrasive Waterjet machining?

Waterjets range in cutting pressures from 30,000psi – 60,000psi, this pressure alone directed through a fine nozzle (Jetstream) is often enough to cut through some soft materials – foam, rubber. The only difference between Water-Only and Abrasive Waterjet cutting is the addition of a cutting median, which is usually garnet. There are no “tool changes” required to switch between water only and Abrasive cutting, only a different quality of cut in the Intelli-Max machining software.

3. What materials can be cut?

Our OMAX Abrasive Waterjets are capable of cutting virtually any material. Some examples of materials include carbon fibre, reinforced plastics, fibreglass, carbon steel, stainless steel, hardened tool steel, aluminum, titanium, copper, brass, glass, stone, concrete, ceramics and rubber. Waterjets can not reliably cut toughened glass, as sometimes the glass will explode while the jet is cutting.

4. What industries are waterjets commonly used in?

Waterjets are commonly used in all industries: Fabrication/manufacturing, aviation, jewellers, precision machining shops, stone cutting, composite manufacturing and in Universities and learning institutes.

5. How can waterjets be used as part of the manufacturing process?

Abrasive Waterjet Systems allow manufacturers to consistently produce extremely accurate profiles. Whether it be a one-off part or large volume cutting. Waterjet cutting offers low cost, safe and environmentally friendly addition to any design or manufacturing facility. We should know we have used one in our workshop for over 16 years before we became distributors.

6. With all the different machining tools available today, how do you determine if an Abrasive Waterjet is the right solution for you?

Ask as many questions as you need to when look at your cutting processes, there are many different types of CNC cutting processes, and they are all vastly different to each other. They are not actually competing processes, they are complementing processes, however the Abrasive waterjet is the only application that ticks all of the boxes being the most versatile being able to cut any material available and do it accurately. Put Roadrunner and OMAX to work for you to help you decide, always ask for test cuts on your materials, making sure the times stated are real time cutting, and you are happy with the finished product and time. Look long term on what you will be doing in 2, 5 and 10 years when you are purchasing machine tools.

7. Which parts need to be maintained and/or replaced to ensure successful operation of waterjet equipment?

Over the life of any machine tool you must carry out preventative maintenance to keep them running smoothly and efficiently. Consumables parts on any water jet include Mixing tubes and nozzles (cutting head), on/off valves, high pressure lines (table), our OMAX direct drive pumps are the most efficient waterjet pump on the market, they have wet end service intervals ranging from 500 – 1000 hours dependant on pump type. Preventative maintenance is the key with this as machine down time costs you money and customers. We give prospective buyers accurate hourly running costs for our abrasive waterjets.

For expert product advice on the best Abrasive Waterjet System for your specific applications contact Roadrunner Manufacturing today and talk to us about how we can help your business excel with cutting edge technology and superb aftersales service. Our dedicated team look forward to hearing from you and offering you personalised assistance to help you choose the right system to keep you a cut above the rest.

For examples of how abrasive waterjet technology has helped existing Roadrunner customers please read the below case studies.


Case Studies