VIDEO: Waterjet Cutting: It’s More than Just Horsepower

Expert advice on when horsepower matters, plus what to look for in waterjet machines.

Waterjet cutting technology is easily one of the most efficient tools available to manufacturers. But it’s easy for buyers to get lost in the lure of high horsepower without understanding the requirements for the parts they’re cutting. recently had the opportunity to take a look at the new EnduroMAX 100-HP waterjet pump designed by OMAX.

We spoke with Stephen Bruner, vice president of marketing at OMAX, to cut through the myth that high horsepower alone equals efficiency.

Bruner provides expert advice on finding the right waterjet for the job in the video above and the Q&A below.

Jim Anderton (JA): When we think of waterjet [technology] we think about horsepower – it comes up often in any description of machine performance. I understand you have something new on the horsepower front?

Stephen Bruner (SB): We just recently launched the EnduroMAX 100-HP pump. That pump is to be used for applications where you really need a lot of power. We think the EnduroMAX technology, as a direct drive pump, is the most efficient pump in the marketplace. It delivers 85 percent efficiency to the nozzle and that’s what will be doing the cutting for you. It’s important to have that direct transfer of power.

JA: I think you’ve hit on an important concept here. Power at the pump is kind of like horsepower in a car. It’s a selling point that a lot of manufacturers advertise, but there are significant differences between pump horsepower and cutting efficiency, depending on the cut. Is that correct?

SB: When you talk about different kinds of cutting, I think it’s really important to clarify what that is. If you are doing straight line cutting of a relatively thick part, I think the requirements of horsepower and power at the nozzle is one thing.

But I also think you’ve got to consider intricate parts that have a lot of curves and bevels to them or intricate geometries. These require a combination of pump technology as well as software. To use a car analogy, it’s great to have a powerful engine, but if you don’t have a steering wheel that works the reality is the car isn’t that great.

JA: We think of water as a carrier for an abrasive. As the horsepower goes up does it change the way that the abrasive works? Do you change abrasives and abrasive loading?

SB: You don’t change abrasives or abrasive loading. In certain situations, it’s really about what you are cutting and what the appropriate mix of horsepower and abrasive going to the nozzle is.

JA: It’s clear that you can have too little, but can you have too much power for a cutting application?

SB: I don’t know if you can have too much [power]. Again, you’re getting into an efficiency situation where it really could be wasteful. I know fabricators and manufacturers are all about the most efficient use of water, abrasive and power consumption to make their part.

JA: How can a customer tell when they are pushing a machine too hard and need to think about something with more power?

SB: One of the things that they may notice, for example, is that they are having to use too much abrasive. This may be an indication of where they may need to go. If they’re not getting the kind of cut that they are looking for in the timing they are looking for, that’s probably a good indication to a waterjet salesperson to find out more about what kind of power is right for their application.

JA: Is there a single error, mistake or misconception you see more than any other amongst end users of waterjet equipment?

SB: I think a certain mistake is getting pulled into the idea of power or certain feature sets. The most important advice I can give anybody shopping around for a waterjet is: do a test cut with each one of them. Understand everything that’s required to cut the part and shop that around to a number of different vendors.

For more information about the EnduroMAX pump, visit

Written by

James Anderton

Jim Anderton is the Director of Content for Mr. Anderton was formerly editor of Canadian Metalworking Magazine and has contributed to a wide range of print and on-line publications, including Design Engineering, Canadian Plastics, Service Station and Garage Management, Autovision, and the National Post. He also brings prior industry experience in quality and part design for a Tier One automotive supplier.