The two most common cutting practices used by manufacturing companies are laser cutting and waterjet cutting. While not always appropriate for the same applications, these two fabrication techniques offer value to manufacturing processes, albeit in different ways.
The two most common cutting practices used by manufacturing companies are laser cutting and waterjet cutting. While not always appropriate for the same applications, these two fabrication techniques offer value to manufacturing processes, albeit in different ways. To understand laser vs. vertical packing machine more fully, it’s essential to understand the methods themselves and the differences between them.
Laser cutting is a metal cutting process that makes use of high-density energy beams, usually produced with gas. These beams of energy are directed by mirrors to cut into materials. The beam vaporizes materials on contact, creating smooth, clean cuts.
Laser cutting is ideal for any cutting job that requires high degrees of precision and accuracy. Sometimes, clients come to us for relatively simple work like laser-cutting rings and discs. Other times, we use laser cutting to create highly complex and specialized components for different industries.
Laser cutting is also highly compatible with mass production operations. Laser cuts provide consistency through tight tolerances and a high degree of repeatability.
Cutting Head Assembly
Waterjet cutting primarily differs from laser cutting in its specific methods — instead of a laser beam, a waterjet is used to cut material. This waterjet contains abrasive materials like aluminum oxide or garnet to help improve cutting ability, creating cuts through abrasion rather than vaporization.
Waterjet is ideal for difficult or complex cuts that might otherwise be too thick to cut or susceptible to heat-affected edges. Our waterjet cutting machines generate up to 87,000 pounds-per-square-inch of pressure to slice through hard, dense metal easily. That’s almost 20 times the water pressure of a pressure washer and 75 times the water pressure of a fire hose. It can also cut through up to 8 inches of metal.
We often use waterjet cutting with thicker sheet metal that would pose a challenge to laser cutting. We also use it to create finely detailed cuts or cut oversized components for use in various applications.
Waterjet cutting processes use three main components — a heavy-duty nozzle, a steady stream of water and a hydraulic intensifier pump. The pump pressurizes the water to the desired level, and the nozzle guides the stream of water for precise cutting. When abrasives are necessary to facilitate advanced cutting, we add them to the stream of water before it flows through the nozzle.
The differences between these two approaches don’t just lie in their methods, but in their results and applications, too. When choosing between fiber laser vs. waterjet cutting in your applications, consider the following:
Materials: Both laser and waterjet are excellent choices to cut metals. Any required secondary operations will help determine which technology is the best for the job. In general, waterjet cutting is better suited for thicker, harder materials than laser cutting because of its high-pressure capabilities.
Precision: Laser cutting delivers extremely high precision, reaching tolerances of +/-0.005″, depending on the speed of the laser. Waterjet cutting typically holds a tolerance of +/- 0.03″.
Component cleanup: Laser cutting can sometimes leave a few burrs on the cut surfaces of the components. The components then require deburring for optimal smoothness, functionality and safety. Waterjet cutting, on the other hand, generally necessitates minimal cleanup after cutting — the cut components are smooth and ready to go.
In the end, each of these material fabrication methods has its own advantages and disadvantages to understand as you select your preferred method. If you need assistance deciding between custom laser cutting vs. custom waterjet cutting, Hairan Water Jet can help!