Waterjet cutting is by far the best thing that has happened in industrial cutting technology. From metals to stones, water jet can cut through anything you put against it, regardless of the thickness.
Due to its benefits such as quality, precision, and cutting speed, waterjet is replacing every other cutting alternative.
Due to this widespread popularity, people often wonder if waterjet tile cutting and stone cutting process is possible. Therefore, in this article, we will talk about it in detail.
You will know the basics of waterjet tile cutting, its benefits, and some tips to get the best performance during the cutting process.
Can You Cut Tile With a Water Jet?
Definitely. Water jet cutting can not only cut tiles, it actually gives you the best performance for the same. In fact, waterjet cutter can cut through any possible type of tile that you use.
Benefits of Cutting Tiles With a Water Jet Machine
There are many reasons why you should use a waterjet cutter for tile cutting instead of any other method. Here are some of these benefits:
High Quality Cutting
Waterjet tile cutting provides smooth cutting edges to the workpiece that other methods cannot achieve. Usually, when cutting tile with tools such as tile blades, you require secondary finishing due to roughing up of the edges.
However, when cutting with a waterjet cutter, the edges are so smooth that you don’t have to invest time and resources in secondary cutting processes.
Waterjet abrasive cutting is applicable to any type of tile that you can imagine. In fact, even when you are changing the type of tile, you do not have to make any changes to the tooling. This makes waterjet tile cutting a very versatile process.
Waterjet cutters are controlled with a CNC machine that makes the process automatic. Therefore, there is no requirement to manually handle the cutter or the workpiece. Everything can be adjusted and run with computer programs.
High Production Rate
Waterjet abrasive cutting can speed up your tile cutting process. You can do this by stacking multiple tiles on top of each other. Additionally, since the entire process is automatic, there is considerable time saved that is otherwise wasted by manual labor.
Cold Cutting Process
Waterjet cutting is a cold cutting process, very different from laser cutting and other methods. In hot cutting processes, the rise of temperature can lead to distortion of cut edges and visible unwanted markings.
However, in waterjet cutting system, you don’t have to worry about these factors since there is no temperature rise at all. There is no heat affected zone, so every area of the tile looks shiny new.
Waterjet cutting is a closed loop process and you can recycle everything, from water to abrasives. This is not only helpful for the environment, it also helps you in saving costs of raw materials.
What Types of Tile Can You Cut With Waterjet Cutting?
Waterjet tile cutting process can work on a wide variety of tiles. Some of the different tiles that you can cut with these cutters are:
- Marble tiles
- Ceramic tiles
- Porcelain tiles
- Granite tiles
- Metal tiles
- Limestone tiles
- Cement tiles
- Mosaic tiles
- Travertine tiles
- Stone tiles
- Quarry tiles
- Glass tiles
Since waterjet cutting is possible for so many different types of tiles, tile fabricators use this process for a lot of different applications. Some of these applications are:
When cutting floor tiles, aesthetics and finishing are an important factor. Therefore, waterjet cutting is the preferred cutting process since it can create very smooth edges without any deformations.
For kitchen tile cutting, tile fabricators require a clean and hygienic cutting method. Waterjet tile cutting fits the criteria perfectly. In addition, it is possible to create a lot of different cut designs with this method.
Commercial Areas Tiles:
When it comes to commercial places, tiles are used for flooring as well as decoration. Additionally, tile cutting needs to be fast and have a high precision. Waterjet tile cutting is the go-to choice for commercial tile fabricators.
Counter tiles are generally thicker slabs of tiles that require a sturdy cutting process. Abrasive waterjet tile cutting stands well to the challenge and it can cut all tile sizes, whether thicker or thinner, with ease.
For fireplace, stone tiles or ceramic tiles of high hardness are used, such as porcelain tiles. Other cutting alternatives like laser cutting either don’t work or take a long time for cutting the entire length. Abrasive waterjet cutting handles high hardness very well.
Tips For Cutting Tiles With a Waterjet
It is very easy for a waterjet to cut through tile. However, for the best performance and efficiency, here are some tips that you can follow:
Stacking: Instead of cutting one tile at a time, you should stack multiple pieces of the same tile on top of each other. This can help you with a high speed, high production cutting process.
Support: Provide an even support during delicate stone cutting and tile cutting to prevent cracking of stone.
Proper settings: All waterjet cutting machines are different, and require different settings for different materials. Therefore, follow your manufacturers guide like a bible when it comes to operating your machine for tiles.
Recycling: When using abrasive cutting, you can recycle not only the water but also the abrasive. Deploy a proper recycling process such as strainer to collect the abrasives and use it over and over to save costs.
Control System: You don’t have to oversee the entire cutting process. For simple cuts such as single line cuts, you can load the required model in the software. Techniwaterjet’s water jet cutters come with a complimentary software with all cut designs preloaded into it.
Low Pressure Cutting: Don’t just use the highest pressure setting for all materials. It can lead to cracking in case of delicate materials like marble, glass, ceramic tile, and porcelain tiles. Use low pressure piercing water jet cutting to create partial cuts in these delicate materials.
Etching: You can also do etching on various tiles and glass with a water jet cutter. For this purpose, you need to cut at a high speed at very low pressure.
Abrasive size: When cutting ceramic tile, it is a good idea to use finer abrasives. Additionally, the hardness of the abrasive should be more than the hardness of the tile itself. When cutting harder ceramics, hard abrasives like aluminum oxide (commonly called corundum) are ideal.
Getting the Right Water Jet For Tiles
Waterjet is not a small tooling that you can buy once and replace it with another if you choose wrong. It is a significant investment. Therefore, you need to make sure that you make the right choice.
When cutting tiles, some of the factors that are important to consider are;
The waterjet cutter you choose should be able to cut tiles of different sizes, material, thickness, and chemical composition. Switching between these different types should not be tough.
You need a machine that can provide a high performance. A good machine will cut a lot of length in the least amount of time without compromising on the cut quality or precision.
Waterjet cutters handle extremely high water pressure. Therefore, the construction should be rugged and the parts shouldn’t break down often. While consumables like rubber seals are cheap to replace, bigger parts replacement can cost thousands of dollars.
There should be after sales support from the water jets manufacturers in case of fault or any query by the tile fabricators. Additionally, these services should be available in the long run.
Cutting tiles is not limited to straight line cuts. Sometimes, one may need to engrave or cut intricate designs. Therefore, the machine should have features that support these provisions for ceramic tile, stone tile, and other materials.
Waterjet cutter can cut a lot of different things other than tiles, such as plastics, wood, metals, and more. If you are buying a waterjet cutter, you might want to invest in a machine that can be used for other cases as well.
Best Waterjet Cutter for Tiles
Based on these factors, most professionals tend to prefer water jet machines from Techniwaterjet. Techniwaterjet is one of the leading water jet manufacturers, trusted by most of the workshops due to quality, cost, and advantages of these machines.
Our G2 CNC waterjet cutters are rugged and can stand any environment in which they are used. With the right maintenance, these can sustain a longer lifetime than any other alternative that you compare them to.
Additionally, with the waterjet cutter, you get personalized service from the manufacturer and complimentary software with all designs preloaded.
Waterjet tile cutting is the most applied process by tile fabricators due to the quality and effectiveness it offers. If you are wondering whether or not you should go ahead with a water jet for tiles, there should be no doubt left after reading the information that we provided here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions regarding waterjet cutting for tiles:
Can you waterjet a porcelain tile?
Yes, waterjet cutting works for every tile raw material, including porcelain tiles.
Will the tile crack when using a waterjet?
No, tiles do not crack with a waterjet. You just need to ensure that you use the right pressure settings. Additionally, an even support should be present under the tile.
Can you achieve a perfect edge cut with a water jet machine?
Yes, you can achieve perfect edge cuts that are even across the entire edge with a water jet machine.