The water cutting machine tool, usually referred to as a water jet, forces water out of a small hole, a nozzle. In a powerful water jet the speed of the beam is often around 600 mph. Then the beam has such force that it will cut almost any material.
A pure waterjet, the process also known as water-only cutting, is only used to cut soft materials such as plastic or rubber components. To cut any harder materials an abrasive is added to the water before it reaches the nozzle. This is called abrasive water cutting (AWJ), and it is the most common kind of water cutting.
Water cutting has many benefits compared to other cutting techniques. For example, there is almost no heat development. When heat develops the characteristics of materials usually change and this is undesired.
The water beam itself can be controlled and adapted to every job. Sometimes a thin beam is preferred, but sometimes a bigger one is more suitable. Changing the beam is equivalent to changing tool on traditional cutting machine tools. Also, on a waterjet, there is never a need to change the tool, no matter what it kind of material it will cut. This makes water jets versatile with quick adjustments to new components.
Water cutting is a rather environmentally friendly process. Apart from using a considerable amount of electricity, waterjets only leave water mixed with the cut material.
Water cutting capabilities are quite common at general sheet workshops.