The Importance of Water Jet Cutting in the Marble & Stone Industry


Benefits of water jet cutting in the marble industry

It is well known that the marble industry, but also natural stone in general, plays a very important role in the decorating of interior and exterior spaces. Architects, decorators and designers specify projects with ever-increasing aesthetic demands and non-traditional designs and motifs. At the same time, the quality and the strict timeline of each project require methods and partners that can manage to handle them with accuracy and consistency.

One of the modern methods used in the marble industry is that of water jet cutting. The water jet cutting method seems to be an ideal solution for all those who seek speed, quality and design detail in their projects. But what exactly is this method and how is it applied? Below are some of the key features and benefits of the water jet cutting method.

What is water jet cutting?

Water jet cutting is a method of cutting with a surge of water, which has the ability to cut all kinds of materials, in irregular shapes, with extreme precision and finest quality. It is a cold treatment method in which no thermal stresses develop, making this specific method especially safe.

Due to the enormous kinetic energy it develops, it offers great cutting precision on any material, regardless of thickness, while it has the ability to switch shapes and materials without distorting them. The use of the water jet cutting method in the marble industry offers high productivity and savings. It may seem like an easy and simple method, but in reality, it is a complex and advanced cutting technology.

How exactly does a water jet work?

The basic and necessary raw material for water cutting is ordinary tap water. The water is filtered and compressed through a high pressure pump and then channeled through the pipes of the water jet cutter. A small diameter nozzle collects the water, whose high pressure is converted to high speed. The ultrasonic beam of water cuts down all kinds of material. This process is called the pure water jet cutting method.

In order to increase the power of the water jet cutter, grinding granules are added to the water supply which is converted into high speed sandpaper-like liquid, capable of cutting all kinds of hard material such as marble, natural stone, glass, metal and other composite materials. This method is called abrasive water jet cutting.

In the video below you can see an example of the use of the water jet cutting method at our factory.

Where is the water jet cutting method applied?

The water jet cutting technique can be used on many materials and for a number of reasons. With water jet cutting, the hardest materials such as marble, granite, travertine, slate, limestone and any other natural stone can be cut, even in thin layers, to be used on floors, countertops, wall cladding or other special constructions.

The water jet cutting method is also suitable in constructions for which there is a need for finer handling such as artistic works that require the use of materials like marble, metal, glass or porcelain.

Compared to traditional cutting methods, the water jet cutting method dramatically reduces the processing time of the material and offers absolute accuracy. With a cutting accuracy of ± 0.1 to ± 0.2 mm (accuracy varies between machines), water jet cutting is an extremely flexible method and is therefore used worldwide, in many industries, for elaborate and complex designs and architectural works that require high quality standards.

What are the benefits of water jet cutting in the marble industry?

The use of water cutting technology is a method with significant benefits. In the infographic below you can see some of them and read more information about each benefit and how they are linked to each other.

  • Cuts any type and thickness of marble with flexibility. The method of water jet cutting is the only one that allows the cutting of particularly hard materials with considerable thickness; it can cut almost everything. It offers incredible flexibility for every type of marble and for any thickness.
  • Preserves both surface and edges of the marble, soft and smooth. The quality in the appearance of the marble is one of the main reasons that architects and designers choose the method of water jet cutting. This specific method does not generate heat or pressure on the marble surface, something which protects the appearance of the material. The surface of the marble remains smooth, to the point where it needs minimal or no further processing, saving significant time and cost.
  • Maintains the durability of the marble. Because it is a cold treatment method, it does not cause cracks or pressures on the marble that may injure it. Instead, the material retains its durability.
  • Does not burden the environment. It does not add toxic substances to the environment and does not contaminate it, as the water and grinding granules used are safe enough to be naturally disposed of or drained. At the same time, water jet cutting does not disseminate, into the environment, dust or particles which may be harmful if inhaled. In addition, the water is reused.

The amount of water required depends on the size and duration of the project. However, water spray engines reuse water, keeping water consumption at very low levels.

  • Saves important raw materials. The removal of marble during the water cutting process is done with precision, which contributes to the reduction of fiber and the waste of the specific material, but also of every material that is used. In this way, a significant amount of raw materials is saved, as well as significant financial resources.
  • Saves significant time. Curves, straight lines, cuts, internal holes and other fine work that once required time and specialized knowledge, are now cut with great speed and precision.
  • Saves significant costs. Saving the raw materials, time, further processing that marble might need, but also reusing water, result in low energy and resource consumption. For this reason, the water jet cutting method has multiple economic benefits compared to other traditional water cutting methods.

The method of water jet cutting in Stone Group International

At Stone Group International we have been using the water jet cutting method for many years, giving any shape we are asked for, to any of our white or colored marbles. Our applications, which through our customers’ networks travel all over the world, concern architectural constructions of interior or exterior spaces, artistic works of private or public use, as well as personalized and customized constructions on special order.

In relation to the procedure, we would like to mention the delicate and careful handling that the use of the water jet cutting machine requires in order to achieve the desired result. It is important that the personnel operating the water jet cutting machine are properly trained for all stages of the method, from the initial designs to be processed in the appropriate computer program, to the cutting process itself and including its storage and transport. The process of water cutting often complements the people of our art department, who with their knowledge and experience, use a holistic approach in carrying out any creative idea design.

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