Back to News Shuttle tables allow an operator to load and unload a water-only waterjet cutting system while the machine is in operation, increasing machine efficiency.

Technical Tip: Increasing Waterjet Throughput with Shuttle Tables

WARDJet - Water-only Water Jet Cutting Machine with Shuttle Table

Increase Throughput and Minimize Downtime with Shuttle Tables

Note: WARDJet currently only offers shuttle tables for water-only (soft goods cutting) waterjet applications.

For certain applications, the process of loading and unloading material from a waterjet cutting table can be a time-consuming endeavor. Material must be properly positioned and fixtured when loading, and there can potentially be hundreds of small parts that must be removed from the scrap material when unloading. Given a single cutting table, the machine must come to a complete halt until these processes have been completed. During this idle time the machine sits stagnant, producing no parts and no money. In order to solve this problem and increase overall throughput, WARDJet has developed several types of shuttle tables to expedite the process.

A waterjet shuttle table is a device that is designed to facilitate the loading and unloading of the machine while minimizing or eliminating downtime. This is accomplished through the use of multiple cutting surfaces that can be removed from the waterjet’s fixed cutting envelope. There are three common types of shuttle tables offered by WARDJet – Over/under, pass-through, and side-by-side shuttle trays.


Pass-Through Shuttle Tables

Pass-through shuttle tables are comprised of two full-size cutting tables that are linked together. While one table sits within the cutting envelope of the waterjet, the other rests outside the front or back of the machine. The table that is sitting outside of the machine’s cutting envelope can be loaded or unloaded while material is cut on the table within the machine. When ready, the cutting table on the outside of the machine can be pushed into the cutting envelope, in turn pushing the other cutting table outside of the machine to be loaded or unloaded. The benefit of pass-through shuttle tables is that all work surfaces are fixed at the same height, so no adjustment is needed in the Z-axis. It is worth noting that this type of shuttle table system will add to the footprint of the overall system due to the extra space required in both the front and back of the machine.


Over/Under Shuttle Tables

An over/under shuttle table is a multi-level cutting table system. In this arrangement, two full-size cutting tables can be stacked on top of one another within the same cutting envelope. Either of these independent cutting tables can be removed from the cutting envelope while the other stays within the boundary of the cutting head. The waterjet can cut material on the table within the cutting envelope while the other is loaded or unloaded. This shuttle table system has an overall footprint advantage over pass-through shuttle tables because extra space is not needed in the back of the machine. However, extra Z clearance and machine logic may be needed as the cutting head(s) need to reach both the lower and upper cutting tables without crashing into the table itself. The difference in work heights will also limit the max material thickness on the lower table.

Side by Side Shuttle Trays

Side-by-side shuttle trays are composed of a single level system that utilizes multiple, independent cutting tables that sit next to one another. While the waterjet system cuts on one of the cutting surfaces, the tables that are not in use can be pulled out from the cutting envelope for material to be loaded or unloaded. The advantages of side-by-side shuttle trays include consistent work surface heights and a footprint increase on only one side of the machine. This setup works especially well if you are using smaller pieces of material since the available cutting area is sub-divided.

WARDJet waterjet cutting systems are designed to be extremely modular. The vast majority of our machines are capable of being upgraded with our aftermarket accessories at any time. WARDJet is the only major waterjet manufacturer that specifically designs original equipment material handling systems which are fully supported and warrantied; there are no 3rd party integrators. If a customer wants to increase throughput, generate more money, and become more efficient in their manufacturing process through the use of shuttle tables, our team will be glad to make it a reality. For more information, contact

Share this Post:

Stay up to date. Get Waterjet News in your Inbox

Subscribe now and you have the chance to win FREE WARDJet swag every month. Subscribe

Call us at 1.330.677.9100 or Schedule a Live Test Cut

That's right - Watch remotely as your part is being cut! Get A Test Cut