Laser Cut Gaskets vs. Waterjet Cut Gaskets: A Simple Beginner’s Guide

Gaskets are among the most popular consumer products available right now. They offer functionality across different fields and industries, while also being incredibly good at what they do – as long as you formulate them the right way. 

For gasket manufacturers, one of the most important things to ensure while building these products is to incorporate the right cutting mechanism. As you can imagine, gaskets can be cut using different tools and techniques. 

Today, laser-cut gaskets and waterjet-cut gaskets are among the most popular gasket variants available. Known for their flexibility and reliability, these gaskets can easily work for and in different industries. But, as you’d imagine, you need to know which cutting mechanism is perfect for you. 

In this article, we’ll dive straight into the comparison of water jet cutting vs laser cutting as they pertain to gasket design.

Contents hide

Laser Cut Gaskets vs. Waterjet Cut Gaskets: What Are They?

Laser Cut Gaskets: Technology and Characteristics 

To fill gaps in items, materials with laser cuts are utilized as gaskets. The product is laser-cut and designed to form seals between surfaces, preventing any substance leakage. 

The use of lasers in many manufacturing processes, including the production of gaskets and silicone engraving, has grown in popularity. The reason laser cutting is so effective is that it can accommodate some of the most intricate shapes and tolerances. 

This method can produce gaskets that function in a variety of environments. You don’t have a problem as long as they make seals between two different surfaces. However, the following are some functional qualities and benefits that laser-cut gaskets offer: 

Precision

You can ensure accuracy when making a gasket by using laser cutting. You may easily enable laser cutting if you require a gasket that can fit into any tricky spaces or tight tolerances and be sure that it will function for you. This implies that even in intricate designs, you can make a seal that is as trustworthy as feasible.

Clean Edges

Laser cutting also provides clean, smooth edges on the gaster itself. So, you can prevent leaks in your seal. For sensitive materials, this is especially important.  

Customization

The silicone laser cutting process also makes it possible for you to customize your gaskets. If you have specific requirements for your gasket, this manufacturing process allows you to fit those into the product. So, regardless of the application range, you shouldn’t have an issue. 

Intricate Patterns

An added point to the flexibility benefit is the fact that these gaskets can fit into the most intricate features and patterns. For sealing applications that are especially bespoke, laser cutting works perfectly. 

Material Compatibility

You can use a laser-cut gasket to fit different material options. There is the laser-cut silicone gasket, and you can also use the process for making gaskets out of materials like paper, cork, rubber, and more. This versatility means that you can easily choose the right material and rest assured that laser cutting will work for you.

Operational Efficiency

You also get the benefit of efficiency with laser cutting. You can use it to produce a large number of gaskets and in good time. As we all know, this reduced production costs and lead times considerably.

As an added point, a laser gasket cutting machine also helps you to reduce material waste. This is because the laser beam follows the shape and contours of the gasket. So, for efficiency and cost-efficiency, you have a solid option here. 

Non-Contact Process

The laser-cutting process doesn’t rely much on contact. This means that the material and the cutting tool actually don’t meet at all. So, there is less wear and tear on the equipment, and you have a lesser risk of contamination in general.

Consistency

You can repeat the laser-cutting process as many times as you want. This ensures consistency across all the gaskets you’re producing and will reduce variability. For gasket production tasks that have specified standards for performance and design. Laser cutting is beyond ideal.

The Laser Cutting Process For Gaskets

As far as gasket manufacturing goes, laser cutting is a pretty straightforward process. You can easily implement it while also ensuring that you don’t have many bottlenecks to worry about. 

So, how does rubber laser cutting help in gasket manufacturing? Here’s a simple breakdown of the process:

Material Selection

Before anything else, you want to make sure that you have the right gasket material. This will depend on your application requirements, so you want to be careful here. Generally, some of the most popular material options for gasket manufacturing include paper, silicone, rubber, and metal. 

In general, all you need to do is ensure that the material you choose is perfectly compatible with the gas or fluid that it is expected to seal. 

Design and CAD Modeling

Computer-aided design (CAD) software will also be needed to create your gasket design. This design will dictate factors like gasket shape, size, and dimensions, and it will also determine the inclusion of complex patterns for the gasket’s function. 

Laser Cutting Setup: 

Once you have the CAD design file, you can upload it onto the laser gasket cutting machine. The machine itself comes with a laser source, a focusing mirror, and a computer numerical control (CNC) system that ensures precision in laser beam control movement. 

Laser Cutting Process

Place the gasket material that you chose earlier on the cutting bed of the laser-cut rubber gasket manufacturer, and you can begin. 

First, you would need to direct the laser beam on the material’s surface. Then, let the machine follow the path that has been specified in the CAD file. The energy that the laser emits will heat and vaporize the material as it follows the cutting path.

One of the major benefits of this method is that the laser beam will be able to move along the gasket design while considering all of its contours and special shapes. With enough heat, you will be able to achieve a clean and accurate cut. 

The use of the CNC system will also ensure that the laser will accurately follow the design – no matter how complex the cutting pattern is.

Quality Control

Once the cutting process is done, you can inspect the gasket to ensure that it meets all of your mechanical requirements – from shape conformity to dimensional accuracy and more. This check will also ensure that defects and burrs are nowhere to be found. If you need to make any adjustments based on the original design, you will be able to do that.

Once you’re done with quality control, you’re good to go. Place the gaskets in their right packaging, and you can send them out to the end users.

Waterjet Cut Gaskets: A New Evolution For Gasket Development

Now, let’s examine the water jet vs laser cutting processes by examining waterjet cut gaskets. 

These gasters are made with a process known as waterjet cutting. It can be applied in silicone cutting, as well as other materials that are used to make gaskets. Mostly, manufacturers use waterjet cutting for its precision and flexibility. It works with different materials, so there’s not much of a need to specialize. 

Overall, waterjet cut gaskets are reliable for different industries where you need precision sealing. The process itself provides strong gaskets, and any gasket-cutting service will definitely be able to incorporate the process into their operation. 

As for operational characteristics, you want to note the following from waterjet cut gaskets:

Optimal Accuracy

The process of waterjet cutting tends to offer impressive accuracy and precision when you need to make a gasket. So, when it comes to accuracy, the water jet vs laser cutting strategies for gasket production are pretty set. 

Clean Edges

This process also allows you to create smooth and clean edges for the gasket material. In the long run, this ensures that you can create gaskets that won’t allow leaks at all. 

Customization

With waterjet cutting, you can create gaskets that are customized and that would fit your requirements. Just as it is with creating custom laser-cut gaskets, waterjet cutting allows you to easily build gaskets that work for your requirements. 

Minimal Heat-Affected Zones

One of the biggest differentiators in the water jet cutting vs laser cutting comparison is the fact that this process doesn’t generate so much heat as you work. So, if you’re working with materials that are incredibly sensitive to temperature or that would need high levels of temperature control, you probably want to select this process instead. 

Fast Production

Speed and efficiency are the name of the game when it comes to water jet cutting. You can cut gaskets swiftly and also ensure high levels of material efficiency. So, for industries with high production demands, this process works quite well too. 

Minimal Tooling Costs

With waterjet cutting, you don’t need to create any custom dies or tooling. This cuts your setup costs and lead times and allows you to optimize production even more.

Consistency

You can rest assured of optimal consistency when working with waterjet cutting. If you’re producing a large number of gaskets, this means that each of your products will be consistent and produced to fit your specific demands.

The Process of Waterjet Cutting For Gaskets 

The process of waterjet cutting provides precision and accuracy when it comes to manufacturing gaskets. For this to happen, here are a few things you might want to note: 

Materials Needed:

To conduct a waterjet cutting process for making a gasket, you’d need the following:

  • Primary gasket material – it could be silicone, rubber, paper, etc. 
  • CAD design file that shows the shape and intricacies of the gasket
  • Waterjet cutting machine

Steps:

Material Selection

Ideally, you want to start by choosing the right gasket material. Silicone is the most popular option, and it works as well with waterjet cutting as it does with a laser-cutting rubber sheet. So, you shouldn’t have a problem. 

Design and CAD Modeling

As it is with laser-cut rubber gaskets, you can get CAD software and use it to manufacture the right design to help you optimize functionality with your initial gasket design. Look into all of the intricacies of your design and make sure that they are as effective as they are reliable.

Setup the Waterjet Cutting Machine

Once you confirm the design, load the file onto the waterjet cutting machine. In the laser cutter vs water jet comparison, you will have to consider the differences between the machines and their working principles. 

However, in this machine, you have features such as a high-pressure water pump, a CNC system, and a nozzle. 

Abrasive Mixing

This step isn’t always required. However, if you find that you need abrasive cutting, then you can get the machine to mic the high-pressure water with abrasive particles to create an abrasive water jet. 

Generally, you want to include this abrasion to optimize the efficiency and speed of the water jet. So, if you find it to be a needed component, feel free to incorporate it. 

Position the Gasket Material

Carefully place the gasket material on the waterjet machine’s cutting bed. For this step, make sure that the material is held securely in place so you can prevent any form of movement as the cutting process takes place.

Just as well, make sure that the nozzle of the waterjet cutting machine is calibrated correctly and aligned with the gasket material. To achieve precision, this process is especially important. 

Waterjet Cutting Process

Now, we get to the main action. 

Activate the waterjet cutting machine so the nozzle starts to work. If you’re going by the abrasive option, then let the machine mix the abrasive particles with water to create the abrasive water jet.

The nozzle will direct a stream of water under massive pressure onto the gasket material. Then, this focused stream will shape the material along the path that has been defined in the CAD structure. 

With the CNC system controlling the nozzle’s movement, you will be able to ensure that the machine follows the design you laid out as accurately as possible. 

From here, the gasket material is cut from one layer to another, with the high-pressure water wearing away the material from one end of the cutting path to the other.

Quality Control

As expected, you’d need to inspect the waterjet cut gaskets to ensure that they are up to code. Make adjustments where they are needed, and you can send the finished gaskets off to the suppliers for installation. 

Laser Cut Gaskets vs. Waterjet Cut Gaskets: Material Compatibility

In terms of material compatibility, you want to know which of these two options is versatile enough to work for different materials and provide optimal sealing. There are several parameters to consider on this front, but here is a comparison chart for you to examine:

Material Versatility

On the material versatility front, you have two processes that are pretty much tied. Both laser cutting and waterjet cutting work with different materials, ranging from silicone and rubber to leather, plastics, and even a few metals. 

Material Thickness

You also want to draw a line of distinction between these two manufacturing processes when it comes to thickness. And, this is one of the most considerable difference-makers. 

You see, laser cutting works best for materials that are thinner. It might work for thick materials, but the extent of functionality is generally limited. With waterjet cutting, instead, you have a process that is more adept for thicker materials. So, if you have a gasket requirement that needs thicker materials, you probably need to consult waterjet cutting instead.

Heat Sensitivity

Another area where you need to generally mark a distinction is with heat sensitivity. With laser cutting, you have a process that allows you to generate heat as the operation progresses. This can be a bit of a concern for some materials – especially heat-sensitive rubber variants and plastics. 

But, for waterjet cutting, you’re generally clearer to go on the heat sensitivity front. Since waterjet cutting is a cold-cutting process, you have minimal heat generation. So, no matter the level of heat sensitivity, you can rest assured that waterjet cutting works perfectly. 

Clean Edges

In terms of clean edges, you also have a bit of a stalemate. Both processes produce clean edges, which are precise and won’t need much in terms of burring.

Laser Cut Gaskets vs. Waterjet Cut Gaskets: Precision and Tolerance

When it comes to precision cutting, both later-cut gaskets and waterjet-cut gaskets can stake a claim to being the better of the bunch. However, there are some differences in the level of tolerance and precision that they have. These parameters will help you to understand better:

Precision

The primary reason why many people use laser cutting is because of its accuracy. The method can help you to achieve fine cuts with intricate shapes, as well as navigate high tolerances. 

Waterjet cutting is also quite precise, although it isn’t quite as precise as laser cutting. So, we have a clear winner here. 

Tolerances

With a laser-cut gasket material, you can usually achieve tolerances within a few thousandths of an inch. So, if you need tight sealing or you’re working with complex designs, this method is usually better for you.

The same can be said with waterjet cut gaskets. But, when comparing the laser cutter vs the water jet, you’d find that the former is clear on this front.

Intricate Patterns

You won’t have an issue when creating intricate patterns with laser cutting or waterjet cutting. Both are perfect for complex shapes and patterns, as long as you can ensure that the technician is skilled enough.

Edge Quality

You also get a stalemate here. A custom laser cut gasket can only be made when you have high-edge quality, and the same goes for waterjet laser cutting

Laser Cut Gaskets vs. Waterjet Cut Gaskets: Which Is Faster?

These days, one of the major goals of every manufacturing process is to ensure that products can be made faster and with accuracy. And, for every gasket manufacturer, there is definitely the question of which is faster for producing gaskets. 

These parameters can help you to decide which might be better for you: 

Overall Process Speed

Typically, laser cutting is faster than waterjet cutting. The laser beam is able to move quickly, so it easily glides along the cutting path. This is especially true for thinner materials and intricate designs that need accuracy. 

Heat Generation

On the other hand, the speed that you get from laser cutting also means that there is a higher risk of heat generation. The heat-affected zone is usually small and might not affect the speed of production, but it is one that you want to keep in mind regardless.

On the flip side, waterjet cutting is a cold-cutting process. So, heat generation isn’t an issue you want to concern yourself with.  

Laser Cut Gaskets vs. Waterjet Cut Gaskets: Which Is More Expensive?

As a manufacturer, keeping costs low should be another major objective of yours. Sure, costs aren’t everything. But, if you’re able to find a process that reduces costs while also ensuring efficiency, then you should go for that. 

In terms of overall setup costs, laser cutting actually comes up on top. The process requires fewer setup steps than waterjet cutting, so the preparation time is much lower. At the same time, the cost of materials and equipment is usually lower than waterjet cutting, so there is a considerable avenue for savings here. 

The cost-benefit is especially higher when you’re considering small or thinner materials. And when you consider that laser cutting exhibits more material flexibility, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go for this process.  

Laser Cut Gaskets vs. Waterjet Cut Gaskets: Which Production Option Is Better For The Environment

Finally, you want to consider the environmental impact of your choice. So, here are a few points to note when comparing a laser cut  gasket material manufacturing process with waterjet cutting. 

Energy Efficiency

Overall, laser cutting machines consume less energy compared to waterjet cutting machines as the laser beam used in this process needs less power to cut.

Material Waste

Laser cutting doesn’t produce much waste because the laser beam is quite accurate. As for waterjet cutting, its use of tiny cutting kerfs means you can also minimize waste. All in all, the differences between them are quite negligible. 

Clean Cutting

Since it uses a laser, you can achieve clean cuts with laser cutting. However, waterjet cutting results in some waste materials – although you can cut back on these with a proper collection system. 

Heat Generation

The fact that laser cutting produces some heat is most likely its largest drawback. On the other hand, waterjet cutting doesn’t have any issues in this regard. 

Conclusion

When making gaskets for any purpose whatsoever, understanding the type of gasket to employ is one of the most critical parts of the entire manufacturing process. At Legenday, we understand the need for clarity and precision on this matter, and we can provide you with the best in gasket manufacturing materials. 

Reach out to us today, and let us know what you need.

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