When it comes to customized digital manufacturing, two leading technologies are being deployed in the industry: waterjet cutting and laser cutting. Both are phenomenal technologies that require different machinery. So, the natural questions to ask are can they complement each other, or is it best not to combine them? Which one is better to get started in digital manufacturing?

Let’s find answers! 

Recent industry surveys indicate that professionals are more inclined to use waterjet cutting. The reason is a no-brainer. Waterjet cutting is less expensive and more versatile than laser cutting. To give you a close idea of the waterjet’s versatility, it can work with a broad range of materials that extend from foam to food. Plus, it has great use for cutting gasket materials and plastics.  

If the job requires higher precision, sharp object details, or engraving, pros recommend laser cutting. Though it can be more limited in the materials department, it compensates by offering unequaled precision when working with a high volume of thinner metals.  

As for the other question, the answer is yes! Waterjet and laser can be complements.  

Waterjet is a good stepping stone to getting into blanking and fabrication. In the process, the machines use pressurized water to cut through materials. It’s important to highlight that the use of abrasive additives is often required to increase cutting capability. Laser machinery is gas-powered (normally by CO2) and is well suited for extended production lines in manufacturing.  

Who wins out of the two?  

From my assessment, one cannot simply call on which one is the better cutting technology. That decision will entirely depend on what is best for a given application. A complete analysis has to unfold to reach a conclusion for any particular scenario. So, to wrap up, I want to leave you with a wider sense of what the pros recommend prior to committing or buying related expensive equipment:

  • A laser cutter is the ideal option for processes requiring high precision. 
  • A waterjet cutter is preferred when the application can manage to compromise a bit of accuracy and is open to work with different kinds of materials. 
  • Careful material verification for tech compatibility is mandatory before selecting either technology. Especially laser cutters.

If you need more assistance on this subject or anything automation, contact Verdusco Consulting! It will be our pleasure to assist you.