301 Bunker Hill Drive

Aitkin, MN 56431

MON-FRI : 8:00am - 4:00pm

(218) 927-2400

info@elemetmfg.com

Plasma vs. Waterjet Cutting

If you need to have raw materials cut, you have a few different options for cutting methods. Two of the most popular methods for cutting raw materials are plasma cutting and waterjet cutting. Elemet Manufacturing offers the cutting services you need to accomplish any job.

Elemet Manufacturing is located in Aiken, Minnesota. Formed by combining the forces of Precision Waterjet Concepts and Aitken Iron Works, Elemet Manufacturing can meet all of your cutting and machining needs. 

Elemet offers CNC machining, CNC milling, turning, threading, 5-axis waterjet cutting, welding, painting, and other complementary services.

Elemet Manufacturing offers state-of-the-art waterjet cutting that can handle even the most challenging jobs. Elemet provides two options for waterjet cutting, CNC abrasive waterjet cutting, and pure waterjet non-metal cutting. 

CNC abrasive waterjet cutting is best for metals like stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, and titanium. Pure water non-metal waterjet cutting machines are best for non-metallic materials like plastic, foam, rubber, carpet, glass, marble, and stone.

What makes Elemet unique is its 5-axis waterjet cutting technology. Most waterjet cutters make flat cuts along three axes: X (left to right), Y (up and down), and Z (parallel). Elemet, on the other hand, can achieve precise, intricate 3D cuts by cutting along five axes.

In addition to the X, Y, and Z axes, Elemet waterjet cutting machines can also cut along the A-axis, which rotates around the X-axis, and the B axis, which rotates around the Y-axis.

Elemet’s 5-axis waterjet cutting machine can even cut stainless steel by combining high-velocity water with an abrasive material. 

Elemet’s state-of-the-art machines can cut metal at two to four times the speed of traditional machining. If you’re interested in cutting services from Elemet, complete an estimate form.

Depending on your job, either waterjet or plasma jet may be the best option for you. Read on to learn more about waterjet vs. plasma cutting to choose the best cutting method for you.

Waterjet Cutting

A waterjet cutting machine cutting out small, particular shapes.

With waterjet technology, a machine uses a mixture that usually includes water and some abrasive material. The machine forces this ultra high-pressure water mixture along a designated path, thus cutting the raw material.

To achieve this mixture, the abrasive material (very often garnet) travels through a line into the mixing component of the machine. In the mixing component, the abrasive mixes with water. From there, the machine sprays out the mixture with ultra high pressure, exceeding 50,000 psi. 

This process creates a cutting stream that sprays out of the tip of a ceramic nozzle. The cutting machine moves this nozzle along a path designated by the machine’s software and at an appropriate cutting speed for the material.

Plasma Cutting

A plasma cutting machine

Rather than using water and abrasive materials, plasma cutters rely on gas (often nitrogen, argon, or oxygen) and electricity to achieve precise cuts. Plasma cutting machines force gas through a small opening at extremely high pressures. Once forced through this opening, the gas meets with electricity that travels through the cutting nozzle. 

During this process, the gas is heated to such a high temperature that it becomes plasma. Given its high temperature, the gas can melt raw materials, blowing away excess materials and leaving a precise cut.

Comparing Waterjet to Plasma Cutting

Professionals in the cutting industry consider waterjet cutting to be more precise than plasma cutting—waterjet cutting results in higher cut quality across a variety of materials. 

Most waterjet cutters can cut at a precision of +/- .005 inches (although some are even more precise than this). Unlike some plasma cutters, the cutting speed can be adjusted on waterjet machines, leaving a smoothly finished surface that does not require secondary machining.

Plasma cutters can also create smooth finishes, although their precision of +/- .01-.03 inches is markedly less than waterjet cutters. 

The thicker the material, the less precise and clean the cut will be when you’re dealing with plasma cutting machines. The high-temperature plasma cannot always melt through thick materials without creating unwanted slag along the cut.

Another difference between waterjet and plasma cutting involves materials. Plasma cutters are limited to cutting metals, including steel, stainless, and aluminum. 

Plasma cutters are not recommended for cutting conductive metals because these materials do not cut well on the machine. Experts recommend plasma cutters cut through materials no greater than .5 inches thick.

Waterjet cutters, on the other hand, can cut through virtually any material. Waterjet cutting machines can handle hard materials, like steel, and can cut soft materials, like bread. Because waterjet cutters do not rely on heat to achieve cuts, they can cut through materials of considerably more thickness than what plasma cutters can handle.

Cost

High pressure waterjet aluminium cutting.

The determining factor between waterjet and plasma cutting is often the cost. For thinner, metallic materials, plasma cutting is often the quicker and cheaper option. 

However, when cutting thick and/or non-metallic materials, waterjet cutting is better and less expensive. Furthermore, waterjet cutting can eliminate the need for secondary machining, thus saving further on costs. 

Wrap-Up

A plasma cutter cutting out dragon shapes out of metal.

While there are many options for machine cutting, depending on the material and thickness of your job, the leading two technologies are waterjet cutting and plasma cutting. 

Waterjet cutting achieves precise, finished cuts by combining water with abrasive material and shooting a cutting nozzle at incredibly high velocity. On the other hand, a plasma cutter heats gases to very high temperatures and achieves cuts by melting the raw material.

When it comes to cutting services, Elemet Manufacturing cannot be beaten. Elemet offers state-of-the-art, advanced cutting technologies to meet all of your needs. 

With its innovative, 5-axis waterjet cutting system, Elemet can tackle jobs from dense stainless steel to pliable plastic and rubber. If plasma is more appropriate for your cutting needs, Elemet also offers plasma jet cutting services. 

To get started with Elemet, simply complete an estimate request. Once you complete this request, you should expect to hear from an Elemet Manufacturing representative. The representative will learn more from you about your job to determine the best cutting option for you. 

When you’re looking to achieve precise, finished, high-quality cuts across a variety of materials, turn to Elemet manufacturing.

related post

linkedin page

Follow us to update the latest, complete and fast information. Latest news from our best and most followed social network.