Water Jet Abrasives Part 3: What’s Right for You?


So, now that you know where garnet comes from and its different grades and types, you’re probably wondering, which is right for you, crushed or alluvial? The answer of course depends on several factors. Shop owners must consider several factors including their shop rate, the cost of crushed and alluvial garnet, their garnet consumption rate, and the thickness and type of material being cut

Let’s assume that your shop processes varying thickness of materials at an hourly rate of $150.00. And you can purchase crushed garnet for $0.35 a pound or alluvial for $0.27 a pound and your consumption rate is 0.75 pounds per minute.

When cutting thin materials of one inch or thinner using crushed rather than alluvial garnet produces the following results:

  • A 5% increase in speed: 1.05 x $150/hr. which delivers $7.50/hr. more revenue
  • Additional cost of crushed vs alluvial: $0.35-$0.27=$0.08/lb.*0.75 lb./min.*60 min/hr.=$3.60/hr.
  • Net increase in revenues $7.50 – $3.60 = $3.90/hr.
  • If you run 2,000 hr./yr., you would generate an additional $7,800 in billing


Similarly, cutting thicker materials with crushed garnet, would generate as $31,200 per year additional revenue, based on a 20% increase in speed.

When considering these factors using a less expensive garnet may be costing you money in the long run. In many cases, those who choose the least expensive abrasive tend to experience the most problems cutting and have much more down time as a result.

Based on these numbers, spending the additional $0.08 more per pound for higher quality garnet can generate $78,000 more income over the 10-year life of a machine. 

Think Performance – Not Price

Because water jet abrasives are one of the few costs that you can control, you may be tempted to lean toward the lower cost abrasive without giving it much thought. But don’t be too quick to dismiss the need for quality, more costly, abrasives. 

Maximize the full capabilities of that water jet with the best abrasive and don’t be lured into playing the price game. Stay focused on the efficiency of your system and it will pay dividends in the long run.


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