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Water jets were used to extract gold as early as the 1870ies. But only the development of high-pressure pumps has made it possible to increase water pressure to now cut all kinds of materials. In the 1980ies, one of the most important innovations of this technology was made:

By adding solid particles (abrasives), it has since been possible to process practically all materials with the water jet or abrasive water jet. Nowadays, lighter materials like foodstuffs are cut with pure water and more solid materials like metals are cut with added abrasive.

Waterjet cutting offers high flexibility. It is a technology that is reliable, gentle on materials and precise.

The advantages

Efficient cutting of various materials

No thermally caused change in the cut material

Two-dimensional and areal cutting possible

Optimal material use through small cutting gaps

Sustainable and energy-efficient process with hardly any tooling costs

The cutting system


It generates a water pressure of up to 6,000 bar, which is used to cut any material. BFT offers different systems for this purpose.

Consists of a PC with special software that converts CAD or CAM files into custom code allowing control of the cutting head.

A surface on which the material to be cut is attached. Water and abrasive from the water jet collect below the surface.


The abrasive (e.g. garnet sand) is collected here and then transported and dosed.


For stepless abrasive dosing – with the ABRAmaster via mechanical control, with the TWINJET® via electronic control.


The water jet is ejected with the set pressure here. The abrasive is optionally added by means through a hose.

The two types of pumps

Basically, a distinction is made between two types of high-pressure pumps: High-pressure pumps with intensifier or direct drive system. Both use different systems to generate the high pressure required for efficient cutting.


The main components of any high-pressure pump with intensifier are the complete drive hydraulics with oil/water cooler, intensifier, accumulator and pressure relief valve. Oil is filtered and cooled via the drive hydraulics system.
A shut-off valve is installed in the feed water inlet. This interrupts the water supply when the pump is switched off. A double pre-filter unit ensures optimum feed water supply, which is crucial for the service life of all the high-pressure components in the intensifier. If the water inlet pressure is too low, a pre-pressure pump installed on the base frame switches on to increase the pressure.
The intensifier is the heart of a high-pressure pump operated with this system. The piston in the hydraulic cylinder is put under pressure here. This piston compresses the water in the high-pressure cylinder by means of a plunger, creating a water pressure of approx. 4,000 bar. This high-pressure water is fed directly into an accumulator. This accumulator stores the water placed under high pressure and ensures that it flows out of the cutting head at a constant rate, thus minimising pressure fluctuations. This enables an uninterrupted water jet, which ensures optimum cutting quality on the workpiece.
Before the water goes from the pump circuit to the cutting unit, a relief valve is interposed. In the event of the high-pressure pump being switched off or an emergency stop being activated, the high-pressure line is relieved here and the pressure-reduced water can be directed into the drain.
Most of our high-pressure pumps are intensifiers:

Direct drive pump

The direct drive pump system is less commonly used in high-pressure pumps – it is a relatively new technology in this field. VECTRON® is currently the only BFT pump with this type of direct drive.
With this type of high-pressure pump, the pre-pressure water is conveyed from a specially mounted water tank through a filter system by means of a pre-pressure pump. From there, the water enters the high-pressure section of the direct drive pump.
The direct drive pump system works like a car engine: An electric motor drives three crankshaft-driven pistons directly via a clutch or via a pulley system, which generate the high pressure. The pistons work out of phase so that the pressure signal is highly constant.
As an option, the direct drive pump can do without an accumulator. However, based on years of experience, we at BFT also rely on accumulators for our direct drive pump to minimise pressure fluctuations and ensure the highest possible level of accuracy – even when cutting abrasives, for example.
As with intensifiers, direct drive pumps also have an integrated relief valve to relieve the pressure on the lines in the event of a sudden stop of the machine.

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