waterjet technology

How the Aerospace Industry is Benefiting from Waterjet Cutting Technology?

High level of precision and complex technology. These two are primary ingredients for a successful metal fabrication project around the aerospace industry. This sector is not just involved in the aircraft engine production, but they make the aircraft themselves and all their associated parts and components.  

The same is also true with military solutions as guided missiles, scientific developments that lay the foundation for remotely controlled space vehicles, and a sundry of other things that make up our modern world today.  

The aerospace industry is one of the few industries that has no margin for error. It has zero-tolerance for an oversight or mistake. Hence, it uses waterjet cutting because of its high level of accuracy and versatility in creating a wide range of required parts and components. This would include turbine blades to jet engines, then down to control panels and so much more.  

The Aerospace Industry Require High Level of Precision

In describing the aerospace industry, it is not confined and limited to one area of interest alone. We can define it as a diverse and widespread sector. It covers almost every aspect of modern living, from commercial aircraft to military solutions.

When creating required components for this sector, one needs to observe extra caution and care in overseeing the waterjet cutting process and machining. Of paramount importance here is to do everything with the highest possible quality, leaving no room for error. A slight mistake anywhere along the process can lay the groundwork for a disaster. 


Video credit to ADTW learn
Compared to the production of other consumer goods, the machining of parts and equipment for the aerospace industry is more complex, challenging, and nerve-wracking than we can ever imagine. Traceability requirements are far too uncompromising, but with tolerances, it can be even more exacting. 

This only goes to show that what the industry direly needs is a machining process that will adhere to the sophisticated production levels of the aerospace sector. Faced with such manufacturing demand, waterjet cutting systems came into the picture and rendered other traditional manufacturing techniques obsolete and some even antiquated.  

What Can the Waterjet Method of Cutting Offer to the Aerospace Industry? 

The million-dollar question here is how did the waterjet machine manufacturers position the waterjet technology to be on the vanguard of other equally powerful material cutting systems that were responding to the tight demands of aerospace production is concerned. 

waterjet cutting

To a great extent, waterjet systems have become highly favored here, the reason being it is highly adaptable. Abrasive waterjets are not only flexible in that you can adjust them to your specific requirements, but you can also standardize them for uniformity and precision in a massive scale production. 

Waterjet cutter systems are highly adaptable across different material types and across a variety of projects, too. They can slice through a sundry of materials, without the exception of materials that are likely to get flawed with other fabrication techniques – such as the following:

  • Glass
  • Titanium
  • Rubber
  • Plastic
  • Brass
  • Stainless steel
  • Aluminum 
  • Copper 
  • Alloys

The secret power working behind the waterjet system’s ability to cut and slice through almost any material lies in its cool-cutting process. It does not generate heat, thus taking away the possibility for heat-affected zones or HAZ.  

Other materials cutting methods like lasers are struggling so hard to slice through or cut materials that have high thermal conductivity such as aluminum or steel. Waterjet systems take away from the picture heat-affected zones which could lay the foundation for microscopic cracks or what we can consider as a structural flaw in components. 

Can a WaterJet Cutting Machine Cut Through Metal?

Water Jet Cutting Nozzles

Waterjet cutting machines are among the most indispensable cutting tools that are ubiquitous in almost every machine shop in the country. These pieces of equipment can be taken advantage of when cutting metal with the help of pressurized stream of water. It indeed sounds pretty amazing to think that something as mild and delicate as water can be utilized to cut something tough and durable like metal.

If you have not seen how a waterjet technology works, imagine instead how power washers work. They are similar in many aspects and are at least 30 times the pressure of power washers, and yes I am pertaining to those we see used in local car wash centers. Power washing is integral to the operation of car wash shops. It cuts away dirt and grimes off a vehicle’s wheels, body, and tires. 

To cut metal with the use of water, you need to make sure that your spray remains coherent throughout the process. Ultra-high pressure waterjet cutting machine can be made to cut through tough objects by channeling the spray through an extremely narrow jeweled nozzle at super-high pressure. By this measure, the pressure and the cutting power of the water spray will remain consistent. Unlike metal cutters, there is no chance that waterjet technology will ever get dull or will it ever overheat.  

The Key to Cutting Metals

As earlier mentioned, the key to cutting through metal and other similar and tough objects with the use of water is to keep its flow directed and consistent. Failure to control its flow and high pressure would render it ineffective. The working principle behind this technology is simple to understand. Would you be able to cut through a piece of metal with just a splash of water? Needless to say, we know that it just won’t work, right?

The use of a strong jet machine here is imperative to help the pressured water channel through an extremely narrow nozzle. By doing this, you can leverage on the liquid and its full pressure. Aside from overheating issues, the use of water jet technology in your metal cutting concerns removes many known logistical roadblocks. Other metal-cutters are way too difficult to handle or too expensive.  

Waterjet Cutting Speeds

Plain and simple waterjet cutting is most of the time used for softer materials. But if you want to further intensify its cutting power and be able to cut through tough and hard materials, abrasive granules can be mixed to the pressured water. In the early years of water jet cutting, the water leaving the nozzle would have a whopping speed of 900 miles per hour. This is around 1450 kilometers in an hour.  

But with the latest developments in this department and with the help of automated tools we have now, it is now possible for abrasive water jet machines to have a staggering speed of 3700 km/hr or 2300 mph. This incredible speed will let you cut metal to 0.0002. To have a better picture of how small that is, compare that to the typical size of the tip of the human hair which is 0.0004 inches.  

In the past, you can only cut one piece of metal with a saw or with some other kind of mechanical metal cutting processes. Usually, there is so much drudgery in such processes as they are also expensive and time-intensive.