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Water Jet Cutting vs Laser Cutting: Comparison of Advantages & Costs

Published Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Veriform blog image "Waterjet vs Laser Cutting". Water jet machine on left hand side and laser cutting machine on the right hand side for comparison.

What Are The Applications, Advantages & Disadvantages Of Waterjet Cutting?

Water jet cutting is a process that uses high-pressure water to cut materials. Waterjet cutting can be used to cut a variety of materials, including metal, stone, glass, and plastics. Waterjets are really popular in marble & stone factories as it makes it easier for them to cut & shape these types of materials. However, the major focus is on the main advantages & disadvantages of this type of cutting technology.

 Advantages of waterjet cutting

  • Can cut all types of materials including high reflective materials or unequal material thickness. 
  • The cutting process doesn’t result in overheating of the materials. 
  • Waterjets don’t produce any hazardous fumes or smoke while cutting any materials.

Disadvantages of waterjet cutting

  • High noise output compared to other cutting machines that are available commercially. 
  • Precision can be an issue when cutting thick material. 
  • The high-Pressure force used by the cutting process can cause the deformation of small-sized parts.

What Are The Applications, Advantages & Disadvantages Of Laser Cutting?

Laser cutting is a technology that uses a laser with special optics & computer numerical control to focus the laser beams on the material to start the cutting process. It has a range of applications. From using CO2 lasers to cut plastics & plywood to industrial applications such as using fibre laser cutting metals & strong materials. Lately, YAG/YVO lasers have been used for rust removal & even human hair removal with high-quality results.

Advantages Of Laser Cutting

  • Laser cutting can achieve a very high accuracy that can reach a quarter of the width of human hair. 
  • Noise is a very important factor in the cutting process but laser machines provide very low noise compared to all other cutting machines that are commercially available. 
  • As laser cutting is very common in production lines nowadays some machines can achieve cutting speeds that exceed 100m/min.

Disadvantages Of Laser Cutting

  • Burn marks on the material – Overheating caused by cutting can leave burn marks on the cutting material. 
  • Ineffective at cutting reflective material – The working principle of laser technology is based on reflected optics which makes it inapplicable as a cutting method to any type of highly reflective material. 
  • Higher safety & health regulations – High heat is generated it resulting in producing hazards & toxic smoke from some materials.

What Are The Cutting Costs For Both Technologies?

When it comes to cost laser cutting is cheaper than waterjet in several aspects.

  • If we are looking at the same machine specs for both technologies a laser machine can cost around $10,000 while a waterjet can cost up to $30,000 which is 3 times the cost of laser machines.
  • Laser machines are also much faster it can cut more meters/min than the waterjet machines making them consume less time.
  • The operation cost of laser machines per hour is lower than waterjets which makes it more applicable for production lines.

Conclusion: Who Wins?

Finally, when we come to who wins it depends on the application you will use either the laser or the waterjet. For example, if you are keen on cutting all kinds of materials without producing any kind of hazardous or toxic gas then waterjet is your total win. On the other hand, if you are looking for speed & lower cost then laser cutting is your winner. So, who is the winner from your point of view?

LASER CUTTING SERVICES AT VERIFORM

If you’re looking for premium laser cutting services, look no further than Veriform. Our experts have over 20 years of experience using CNC laser cutting technology. We have provided high-accuracy cuts on some of the largest pieces of metal for clients across North America.

Our laser cutting offers up to 3/4 inches x 80 inches x 160 inches with an accuracy of +/- 0.005 inches. Besides laser cutting, VeriForm also offers numerous metal fabrication services and capabilities including, bending, rolling, welding and more. Contact VeriForm to get an estimate for your cut today!