If you want to cut metal, there are many ways to achieve it, using sawing, as well as air cutting, fire, plasma and so on. But these cutting methods are not perfect, so waterjet cutting and laser cutting were invented, which are also widely used cutting metals. It turns out that these two methods are also the most effective cutting solutions in the industry.
First, let’s take a look at the differences and similarities between the waterjet and laser cutting methods.
Water jet is to use water as a knife. The water is pressurized to ultra-high in the container, and then a high-pressure water stream is ejected through a very small nozzle to realize the cutting of the material; in order to increase the cutting ability, some garnet sand and adamas are added to this process.
Laser cutter is to produce a high-power laser beam through a machine, and then irradiate the material to be cut. The high temperature generated by the laser will melt or vaporize the irradiated material, thereby realizing the cutting of the material.
There are almost no restrictions on the materials that can be cut by water jet. Water jet cutting will not cause the material to generate heat, thereby avoiding the melting, warping, bending, and burning of the material. Common material types for water jet cutting Including plastic, rubber, stone, ceramic tile, stainless steel, and other metals.
Lasers can cut a wider range of metals, including stainless steel and carbon steel, as well as aluminum and a variety of alloys. Some lasers can cut through non-conductive materials such as wood, glass or plastic, but the heat generated by the laser can have some impact on some metal products.
Water jet: There is no limit to the thickness of the water jet cutting. It mainly depends on the strength of the jetted water flow. The higher the pressure, the thicker the material can be cut.
Laser: In a general mechanical workshop, most lasers can cut metal of about 2 cm, but the thickness of the cutting material also varies according to the metal. The melting point and thermal conductivity of the metal will affect the thickness of laser cutting. The advantages of laser cutting machines is that it can cut thinner materials at much higher speeds than water jets.
Cutting precision and quality
Water jet: The cutting width of the water jet is about 0.7 mm, and the cutting surface is very smooth. But there will be some errors from the top to the bottom of the slit. The thicker the material, the bigger the error will be.
Laser: The cutting error of laser is much smaller than that of water jet. When cutting tight geometric shapes on small parts or when parts need to be nested closely together, laser cutting would be the best choice. The cuts are cleaner and smoother, but it will leave some streaks as the thickness or speed increases.
Water jet: Water jet cutting is a precise and versatile cutting method that can cut a wide range of materials and thicknesses. Although the speed of water jet is not as fast as laser in some materials, it can provide high cutting quality and there is no heat that causes deformation of the material.
Laser: Laser cutting is very fast and accurate, but it depends on the material and thickness. In general, the speed and accuracy of the laser are very high. For thicker materials or materials that will be affected by heat, it is best to find another cutting method.
After going through all the comparison between water jet and laser cutting, you must know which way suits you the best. If you are cutting metal with the requirement of high speed and good quality, laser cutting is the perfect choice. Contact us to know more.