The difference between waterjet cutting with abrasive and without abrasive lies in the cutting process and the materials that can be cut.
Waterjet cutting without abrasive uses only water to cut materials. The machine forces water under high pressure through a narrow opening, creating a powerful jet of water. This water jet has a very high speed and a small diameter, which makes it able to cut materials with great precision. The cutting process is mainly based on erosion, where the force of the water gradually wears away the material. Waterjet cutting without abrasive is particularly suitable for cutting soft materials, such as rubber, foam, insulation materials and some plastics. It is also an excellent option for materials where thermal influence or deformation is not desired, such as metals with sensitive properties or heat-sensitive materials.
Waterjet cutting with abrasive adds an extra component to the cutting process. In addition to water, an abrasive agent, such as blasting sand, is also added to the water. This abrasive agent acts as a grinding component and significantly increases the cutting power of the water jet. The abrasive waterjet cutting makes it possible to cut much harder materials, such as metal, glass, ceramics and stone. The abrasive increases the cutting speed and makes it possible to process materials that would be difficult or impossible to cut with water alone without the abrasive. However, compared to waterjet cutting without abrasive, waterjet cutting with abrasive can result in a rougher cut edge. This is because the abrasive means ‘sands’ the material during the cutting process.
In both cases, waterjet cutting remains an accurate and environmentally friendly cutting method, but the choice between abrasive and non-abrasive depends on the type of material to be cut and the required cutting speed and precision.