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Abrasive Recycling Slashes Stone Cutting Costs

(Stone, July, 1999)

As companies involved in all aspects of the hard surface business sought to fill the need for custom, personalized designs in stone and ceramics, they turned to the fast-developing technology of waterjet cutting.

Waterjets have opened doors to opportunities that were previously only a dream for most operators. Users have been able to add value to their normal line of services, ensuring clients benefit from a unique touch, while at the same time increasing the profitability of each project. Waterjets are becoming easier to operate, offering more features than before. Services are available that eliminate the need to employ specialists such as CAD/CAM operators, making it easier for newcomers to establish their business.

The operating costs are also dropping as long-life nozzle prices have dropped from an average of $275 each to $90 each.

More savings in waterjet cutting have just been made available with the launch of the Waterjet Abrasive Recycling Dispenser (WARD), slashing away at the most expensive part of waterjet cutting: the use of garnet abrasive. Garnet abrasive is the single largest cost of operating a waterjet system. The WARD has changed this, opening doors that were previously closed due to the cost of garnet abrasives. In fact, the WARD has the potential of reducing abrasive costs by more than 70 percent, according to its manufacturers.

WARD abrasive recycling unit

Garnet companies charge up to $.42/lb. for abrasive, depending upon the mesh size, the quality of garnet, the quantity ordered and shipping costs. For a waterjet company running a 50hp pump 9 hrs./day, using 1.5lbs./min. of abrasive and purchasing it for $.25/lb., the cost in garnet alone totals $202.50/day. By recycling this abrasive, a company could save $2,000 per month.

The WARD not only recycles the abrasive, but also serves as an abrasive removal system, saving operators the unavoidable cost of ‘digging’ out the abrasive from the tank on a regular basis. The savings in downtime and the ability to remove the abrasive while simultaneously cutting a project increase the value of the dispenser.

Although waterjets are used primarily in the cutting of industrial, electrical, machinery, aerospace and defense work, they are perfectly suited for stone and marble cutting, being used widely to cut the pieces of decorative medallions set in the entryways of hotels, businesses and private homes. With the advent of abrasive recycling, waterjet cutting companies are poised to experience savings that have until now been unachievable.


The WARD 24 (Waterjet Abrasive Recycling Dispenser with a 24" diameter primary washing screen) is a system developed over the past 2 1/2 years with the express purpose of recuperating as much of the reusable garnet as possible. During the cutting process, some garnet particles decrease moderately and some become too small to reuse. The WARD 24 recycles all of the reusable garnet larger than 100 mesh, some of which could be sharper than its original state, for reuse (depending on the original type of abrasive used). This phenomenon is caused when some particles are broken in two, resulting in more jagged edges being created. As a result, there is generally no marked difference in cutting speed when using recycled abrasive.

recycled garnet abrasive
Recycled garnet abrasive is ready for immediate reuse.

This innovative recycling process begins with a patented nozzle that removes the sludge from the waterjet tank and pumps it to the top of the WARD 24. All garnet smaller than 100 mesh falls through the screen into a disposal hopper or drum. The good abrasive is filtered off and dried, ready for immediate reuse.

WARD 24 abrasive recycling system
The WARD 24

It would appear even the most skeptical have been impressed with the performance of the WARD 24. In the first week of its launch, 5 of the 8 companies who inspected the system placed purchase orders, while the remaining 3 recommended purchasing the system to senior management.

"This has to be the best investment I make this year," was the simple statement of C. Hilty after witnessing first hand the WARD 24 recycling the company’s abrasive, drying their ready-to-use abrasive at a rate of 287 lbs. per hour.

For more information, including an interactive, multimedia CD and free samples of recycled abrasive, call WARDJet at 330-677-9100 or fax  330-677-9121

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