Water jetting is an industrial manufacturing process that uses a high pressure jet of water focused into a beam by a nozzle to cut a wide variety of materials. It can cut various materials including hard materials such as metal or granite or softer materials such as wood or rubber. Here we look at the differences between chemical etching and water jetting.

As material thickness increases, Water Jetting tends to become the preferred cutting method as it offers better tolerances on parts thicker than 12mm. For large volume production of thin sheet metal, especially when there’s a high demand for precision, chemical etching will be more preferable.

cost efficiency

Compared to water jetting which normally involves high operation costs, chemical etching requires no tooling or setting-up costs. This makes it a more cost-effective solution for both small volume prototype and large volume industrial production.

lead time

Similar to laser cutting, water jetting has to process every feature individually, one after another. This makes it a slower process than etching, with which all features are etched simultaneously. Thus regardless of prototype or industrial production, etching has a shorter lead time than water jetting.

design flexibility

Both chemical etching and water jetting can work with wide range of materials. When it comes to design change/update, both can quickly adjust to new design without much extra cost and setting up.

quality /accuracy

Chemical etching has a higher level of precision than water jetting. Waterjet machines generate no distortion but may have hazing near the cut. Chemical etching generates no distortion at all, and can achieve excellent sharp edges, burr- and stress-free.