Cutting of materials

Hydroabrasive jet

A water jet cutter is precision technology capable of cold-cutting most block materials (metals, plastics, rubber, glass, stone, ceramics, etc.) to a thickness of approximately 100-200 mm.


working area: 4 000 x 2 000 mm
cutting speed: 1–18 000 mm/min
repetition accuracy: 0,1 mm
operating pressure: 415 MPa, up to 7.5 l of pressurised water per minute
2 five-axis cutting heads
technology: PROGRES-JET


working area: 3 000 x 2 000 mm
cutting speed: 1–12 000 mm/min
repetition accuracy: 0,1 mm
operating pressure: up to 420 MPa
2 cutting heads, of which one with five axes
technology: PROGRES-JET


the cut does not require heat (max. heating approx. 40-50 °C) contact with water and usually also with abrasive material (rapid onset of surface corrosion if not suitably treated immediately, absorbent materials require a longer drying period, possibility of changes in colour, contamination, etc.)
the parts are not deformed by heat limited opportunity to produce very small parts (smaller than approx. 3-5 cm) – bridgework can be used as a solution to this issue
even if materials are thick, the parts can be placed close together, thus often saving material, and combined cutting is also possible with lower cutting quality levels involving thicker materials, the contour of the cut is deformed at the lower edge by jet wear
any materials can be cut – including metals and alloys, even if hardened or otherwise treated, and difficult-to-process materials, such as fibreglass, glass, rubber textiles, soft and hard rubbers, plastics, seals, etc.
surface finishing is not damaged by cutting
the replacement of a set of operations (cutting, drilling, milling, etc.) by a single technological process
choice of cut quality, ranging from the best with a roughness of Ra 3.2, to a highly grooved rough dividing cut, with significant differences in price
at higher cutting quality levels, no further machining is usually necessary
the form of the cut is limited only by the circular cross-section of the jet; even very fine contours can be cut, with the possibility of cutting at an angle of up to 45° and in “3D”
mosaics and inlays can be created from completely different materials, e.g. metal in stone or paving, glass in plastic or wood, etc.
no noxious fumes are emitted during cutting


Every cutting system relies on a high-pressure pump that generates water pressure via a multiplier. Water is guided through a high-pressure line to the cutting head, where a system of nozzles creates the actual “cutting tool”. This may be an approximately 0.15-0.30 mm wide water jet capable of cutting softer materials such as plastic, wood, rubber, cork, seals, food, etc. The second most used alternative is an approximately 0.8-1.5 mm wide hydroabrasive a jet with an admixture of abrasive powder (usually garnet “sand”). The hydroabrasive jet’s high energy can be harnessed to cut metals, stone, glass and other materials that are 100 mm or even thicker. Modern advances have made it possible to mount the cutting head on a five-axis holder. As a result, it can cut at angles and in “3D”. This has also brought technological improvements in how accurate the shape of products is and in the cutting speed.

All natural or artificial materials that are not damaged by direct contact with water. All types of steel, including stainless steel, tool steel, hardened steel, and spring steel. HARDOX, BRINAR, ALTRIX, etc. Copper, aluminium, duralumin, titanium, brass, bronze and all other metals and alloys. Industrial, advertising and other plastics, including laminated plastic. Clear, coloured, multilayer (bulletproof) glass, or otherwise treated glass, wired glass, with the exception of tempered glass. Granite, marble and other natural or artificial stone, SiC grinding stones, and others. Ceramics, porcelain, including glazed or sintered plates. Wood, chipboard, laminate, plywood, etc. Carpet, felt and other textiles, leather, imitation leather, etc. Rubber, all sealing materials, composites, sandwiches.

Sheet metal, plates or boards are best suited to cutting. It is also possible to work pre-machined semi-finished products, surface-finished (coloured, polished…) materials, etc. With the height sensor, it is even possible to cut corrugated or smoothly curved materials.

The thickness of the material that can be cut depends on how hard or tough it is and what precision and quality is required for the cutting of the entire section. As a general rule, it is possible to cut any materials from foil 0.x mm up to 100 mm in thickness. Metal and similar materials can be cut to a highly precise quality if they are up to approximately 70 mm thick. Rough dividing cuts are possible at thicknesses of 120–150–250 mm.

All shapes that, in their final form, are convertible to the CAD computer format *.dwg and that are consistent with the circular cross-section of the jet (water jet d = 0.15-0.30 mm, hydroabrasive jet d = 0.8-1.5 (2.0) mm) can be cut.

In most cases, cutting with a 2D water or hydroabrasive jet results in a certain amount of bevelling, but this is usually no more than 1-1.5 degrees. The formation and extent of the bevel also depends on the shape of the cut, the amount of abrasive, etc. New technology can eliminate bevelling by tilting the five-axis cutting head.

As the program that processes NC codes for cutting is an extension to CAD software, the optimal input is a CAD file stored on an electronic carrier or sent by email in *.dwg or *.dxf format. Import filters for the wmf, sat, eps, pcx, 3ds, tif and gif formats are also available, but they can result in problems and, at the very least, they change the scale of the drawing. Files in *.cdr, *.ai and certain other formats can also be processed. Precisely dimensioned drawings or sketches are also very helpful. A physical template (a sample) or scannable document (a sharply focused printed or drawn image) can also be used. In the creation of inscriptions, shapes, ornaments, etc., we provide assistance that is based on our own wealth of experience, our knowledge of the technology, and our own creative ingenuity.

Quality level

Basic description

Upper contour roughness (Ra)*

Lower contour roughness (Ra)*

Upper contour shape precision (mm)*

Lower contour shape precision (mm)*


finest cut

below 3.2

approx. 3.2

+/- 0,1

+/- 0,1


quality cut

approx. 3.2

approx. 6.3

+/- 0,1

+/- 0,2


medium cut

approx. 4.0

up to 12.5

+/- 0,15

depending on the material type and thickness


rough cut

approx. 4.0

up to 25

+/- 0,2

depending on the material type and thickness


dividing cut


up to 40

+/- 0,2

highly imprecise

(*) Values are provided for guidance only and may vary depending on the type of material.

The cutting price depends on the type and thickness of the material, the required quality of the cut, the complexity of the shape to be cut, the serial production and total volume of orders, how complex the handling is, the consumption of accompanying base materials, etc.

As so many variables have to be factored into the pricing, it is impossible to set specific and objective standard prices. That is why we do not publish even indicative price lists. We calculate the price for each enquiry on its own merits (we can, on request, provide alternatives reflecting the various cut qualities, various scales of batch production, with or without material, etc.).

Laser beam

A laser is an advanced precision technology mainly for cutting structural, stainless and other steel up to a thickness of approximately 15-20 mm.

SALVAGNINI L1Xe (fibre laser)

size of workable formats

3 000*1 500 mm

power of the solid-state fibre source

2,000 W (comparable with a 3,000 W CO2 source)

repetition accuracy

approx. +/- 0.05 to 0.1 mm


approx. 0.1-0.15 mm

it is possible to cut pure aluminium, copper, brass, bronze, etc.

laser marking is available

Mitsubishi 3015 eX – 45CF-R (CO2 laser)

size of workable formats

3 000*1 500 mm

power of CO2 source

4 500 W

travel speed

up to 150 m/min.

repetition accuracy

approx. +/- 0.05 to 0.1 mm

kerf approx.

0,2–0,5 mm

particularly suitable for thicker steel and stainless steel


high-quality cut for 6-12 mm thick stainless steel

laser marking is available


high repetition accuracy of approx. +/- 0.1 mm

the significant heat generation and transfer may adversely affect certain parts

high cutting speed

with larger metal thicknesses, traces of melting are visible on the cut, weld-ons can form and, as the thickness increases, there are limits on the shape-related cutting options

for smaller thicknesses of material, a very high-quality, smooth cut, almost entirely free of scale and traces of heat treatment

certain parts may be slightly bent as a result of heat deformation

laser cutting leaves the surface of polished or otherwise mechanically treated sheet intact

the temperature-affected zone is also less suitable for finer machining (because of hardening)

when stainless steel is processed in a nitrogen atmosphere, the cut is smooth and polished; the Mitsubishi laser delivers an absolutely perfect cut with 6-12 mm thick cuts if the Brilliantcut function is used

because of the workstation’s high productivity, it is not economical to make single pieces or very small batches with a laser

narrow kerf of approx. 0.1-0.5 mm

a solid-state fibre laser can also be used to cut aluminium and other non-ferrous metals and alloys

the quality-to-price ratio is ideal for most engineering applications

computer optimisation of material use, with the possibility of using a combined cut in certain cases

with thinner materials (up to approx. 5 mm), even very detailed parts can be cut, with the possibility of using microbridges


A laser beam source is at the core of every cutting system. The beam is guided from the source by a system of mirrors or a fibre-optic cable to the cutting head at the entry point to the cutting table. The CNC tables designed for cutting in 2D that are used today essentially come in two types – with hybrid optics (the clamped material moves on one axis and the cutting head on the other) and with flying optics (the cutting head moves on both axes). In the cutting head, the beam is concentrated on to a technologically precisely defined focus, depending on the type and thickness of the material. The laser beam’s concentrated energy melts the material that is to be cut and the kerf is continuously “blown” with an inert assist gas, most commonly nitrogen. This is known as “fusion cutting” (and results in clean, non-oxidised, polished cuts). Alternatively, it is melted and burned off – with oxygen as an assist gas – in a process known as “oxidation cutting” (resulting in cuts with a noticeable trace of oxidation). Finally, it can be melted and evaporated by means of the less common ”sublimation cutting”. The upper technological limit for high-quality laser cutting in everyday industrial practice today is material that is 25-30 mm thick. This limit is increasing all the time as advances are made.

Besides metals, lasers can generally cut certain plastics, wooden materials, etc., if they have been specially finished. However, as it is better to cut most of these materials with a water jet (partly in order to avoid noxious fumes), our centre specialises in metal cutting: structural steel up to approx. 25-28 mm thick (or up to 30 mm if special sheet metal is used that has been optimally modified for laser cutting, e.g. Raex, SAEY-LaserFORM, Domex, etc.), stainless steel up to 20 mm thick (or up to 25 mm if simpler shapes are cut), aluminium and Al alloys up to 18 mm thick (at larger thicknesses burrs are formed, so it is better to use water cutting), brass, bronze, copper and other metals up to approx. 3-5 mm thick, perforated sheet metal, etc. It is best to use sheet metal specially prepared by the manufacturer for laser cutting because, although the price of the material is higher, the cutting is faster and cheaper and the cutting quality is better. The surface of some sheet metal needs to be ground, oiled or otherwise treated prior to cutting. For metal sheet of unclear composition or origin, we recommend performing cutting tests before the actual cutting.

Sheet metal coated with a protective film can be successfully cut if the film is used only on one side and is specifically designed for laser cutting (most manufacturers routinely offer this solution). While the edge of the film is slightly singed, no marks are left on the product. In cases of doubt, it is better to conduct a cutting test on the specific material.

A laser cannot cut multiple sheets on top of each other, even at low thicknesses. The parts would become welded together and other complications would arise during the cutting process.

General speaking, any shape that can be transferred to CAD drawing software. During cutting, the laser-focused beam has a circular cross-section with a diameter of 0.1 to 0.5 mm. This means that the inner corners and inner sharp angles are rounded, but usually only by a negligible radius of no more than 0.3 mm. The outer corners can be completely sharp. The width of the kerf also ranges up to a value of approx. 0.5 mm. All other shape-related limitations can be attributed to the amount of heat transferred to the material during cutting, and, as such, to the degree to which the material melts and is subsequently deformed. As a general rule, the thinner the sheet metal, the faster the cutting, which means less heat and fewer shape constraints.

Holes can be cut into black sheet metal with a minimum diameter equal to approx. 0.8 to one times the thickness of the material (e.g. D 8 up to a thickness of 10, D 15 up to a thickness of 15, etc.). With stainless steel, even holes that are smaller than approx. 0.5 times the thickness can be cut. This rule can also be applied to differently shaped holes. In special cases, smaller holes can be test-cut, depending on the material, the density of the holes, etc. The larger the share of cuts and metal loss per unit of area (dense networks of holes, very complexly shaped cuts, etc.), the greater the risk of shape deformations in the material – bends, twisting, etc. This factor is again linked to the thickness of the material – the thicker the material, the greater the risks. In extreme cases, cutting may be infeasible – the material melts due to the high degree of heating, the cuts weld back together, etc. As the thickness of the material increases, the possibility of using combined cutting also decreases. In fact, the distance between the parts needs to be increased, which reduces the percentage of material utilisation somewhat.

Our machines cannot do bevel and 3D cuts. The cut must always go through the entire thickness of the material. Our machines can be used to mark and describe parts by means of laser engraving. As the machines are not designed specifically for this purpose, this laser engraving is a relatively slow process and is priced at more or less the same level as normal cutting.

The final result of cutting always depends on all the effects described above, the material used, the correct programming, and on how the cutting specifications are configured. Since virtually anything can be tested, we recommend running cutting tests if there are any doubts.

Of all heat-related methods for cutting materials, laser cutting results in the lowest amount of bevelling. Again, the thickness of the material is a factor: on thinner sheet metal, the cut is almost perpendicular, whereas if thickness is around 10 mm, there may be bevelling of up to about one degree.

The program for processing the cutting codes functions as an extension to the CAD module. Therefore, the shapes that are to be entered must always be converted to CAD format. The ideal file type for this purpose is *.dxf. We can also handle STEP models. The programming station is also equipped with CorelDRAW 9, so it is possible to process files supplied in *.cdr format (for these files it is advisable to include a proportional scale in the drawing or to provide at least some dimensioning as the scale may be distorted during conversion to CAD). Naturally, classic engineering drawings or diagrams that have been properly dimensioned can also be effortlessly processed. If only a sample of the product is supplied, it should be borne in mind that ordinary measuring methods (a slide rule, a tape measure, a workshop protractor, etc.) are used for redrawing and may result in minor deviations. When signs, advertising components, etc., are commissioned, we can provide assistance by using our own databases and creative ingenuity, backed by our knowledge of what the technology is capable of.

With laser cutting, the quality of the cut cannot be changed at the various stages by altering the cutting parameters. It is always necessary to configure the optimal cutting parameters, and thereby achieve optimal cutting quality. Again, this depends on the thickness of the material. Generally speaking, up to a thickness of approx. 5-8 mm the cut is smooth, straight, and free of scale. As the thickness increases, the grooving typical of laser cutting appears, and minor scaling and weld-ons may form on the underside. At the upper thickness limit, the grooving is quite pronounced and the negative elements on the underside may also be more substantial (again, this depends on the amount of heat introduced). We are able to clean the parts if required. Courtesy of our new deburring grinder and the high quality of the cut delivered by modern laser machines, besides standard laser-cut parts we can supply parts perfectly deburred or cleaned in line with the customer’s specific requirements. + FOTO

With stainless steel, nitrogen (achieving a polished high-quality cut) may be replaced by oxygen as the assist gas. This reduces the price quite significantly (by about 20%). On the other hand, the quality of the cut is much worse (the cut is black, oxidised, and rough).

The cutting price depends on the type and thickness of the material, the complexity of the cut’s shape, the amount of metal loss and number of holes, the scale of serial production required by the order, the overall volume of orders stemming from long-term cooperation, the demands of handling, the cleaning and packaging requirements, etc. As so many variables have to be factored into the pricing, it is impossible to set any objective listed or indicative prices per metre of cutting, etc. When you make an enquiry, we will prepare an exact quotation for you very quickly.