WJTA Celebrates Anniversary, Preps for Expo


The WaterJet Technology Association is celebrating 40 years of progress in the waterjetting industry as it gears up for the 2023 WJTA Conference and Expo this fall in New Orleans.

WJTA History

The WJTA was reportedly formed in 1983 in order to sponsor and organize biennial conferences on waterjet technology and to develop codes of practice and safety for the waterjetting industry.

According to the association, the “prime movers” in the formation of the association were Dr. Fun-Den Wang of the Colorado School of Mines and Dr. David Summers of the University of Missouri-Rolla (now known as the Missouri University of Science and Technology). This was a result in the interest of waterjet technology for the use in hydraulic mining.

Waterjets can be applied in three technologically useful ways, the association notes, including:

  • Fragment solids (i.e. mining and hydrodemolition);
  • Separate coating from solids (i.e. waterjet cleaning and surface preparation); and
  • Precisely cut or machine solids (i.e. waterjet and abrasive waterjet cutting).

In the last 40 years, one of the most significant market gains for waterjet technology has reportedly been in industrial applications, related to cleaning, coatings and corrosion removal and cutting.

Waterjets can clean surfaces because the jetting force necessary to remove material adhering to the surface is often much less than the force that could damage the underlying substrate. Additionally, waterjet impact energy can be placed in places that are difficult to access.

WJTA reports that advances in waterjet cleaning also include the development of handheld shotguns, rotating jets, impulsive jets and abrasive jets. Cleaning jets have also been automated, making possible such applications as multi-tube bundle cleaning, ship hull cleaning, sewer cleaning and paint and coating removal.

The formation of the association reportedly coincided with the introduction of abrasive waterjet cutting technology, enabling the cutting of practically any material.

The rise of environmental awareness over the years has also led to an increased effort to control effluent from jet cutting and cleaning jobs. WJTA notes that it has been very active in developing safety training materials for use in the vacuum truck industry, making industrial cleaning and hydrodemolition contractors, suppliers and asset owners are the most active segment of membership.

In addition to its technical conferences, WJTA serves members through a number of channels, including:

  • The members-only periodical Jet News;
  • Manuals including the Industry Best Practices for the Use of High Pressure Waterjetting Equipment and the Recommended Practices for the Use of Industrial Vacuum Equipment (or “Orange” and “Blue” books, respectively);
  • Seminars;
  • The proceedings of the waterjet conferences; and
  • Several other resources.

The WJTA also produced a medical alert card that is carried by many waterjet workers, which gives advice to attending physicians regarding treatment of injuries by waterjet penetration into the human body. A similar card was introduced in 2021 to be carried by vacuum operators to provide information on the potential nature vacuum suction accidents.

According to the association, since their respective introductions in 1985 and 2007, the WJTA has distributed over 70,000 hard copies of the Orange Book and over 30,000 hard copies of the Blue Book internationally. Additionally, over 300,000 hard copies of the medical alert cards have been distributed since their introduction.

In terms of training and certification, in 2017, WJTA created an entry level hydroblaster training and certification protocol in response to a need in the industry for more standardized training for entry level workers primarily using waterjets in industrial cleaning or coating applications.

WJTA also partnered with the Health and Safety Council to develop an eLearning module WJTA Hydroblaster Foundational Training (19HBFT) to provide instruction on the WJTA Industry Best Practices. A similar eLearning module for industrial vacuum operators, WJTA Vacuum Operator Foundational Training (19VACFT), was introduced in 2022.

The WJTA curriculum is a two-part certification comprised of Foundational Training (19HBFT) and WJTA Hydroblaster Field Verification (19HBFV). The association has approved Verified Trainers through its train-the-trainer program, who are able to deliver Field Verification in-house or for customers.

Finally, WJTA launched new initiatives to “promote a culture of safety and knowledge within the industry.” The association reportedly solicits anonymous reports on incidents and near misses that can be shared as learning tools with members around the world.

The WJTA was a founding member of the Global Industrial Cleaning Coalition (GICC), which was formed to collaborate with other waterjetting safety associations worldwide; educate on waterjet cleaning technology and automation; and to support the development of best practices guidelines in emerging markets.

Conference, Expo Overview

While WJTA conferences were held every two years, the inaugural expo was held at the George R. Browne Convention Center in Houston, in conjunction with the Industrial and Municipal Cleaning Association. It marked the first WJTA-IMCA event in a convention center with large equipment displays.

Following last year’s event, which was the first in-person conference since 2019, the 2023 annual tradeshow and biennial technical conference will be held in New Orleans at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1.

It reportedly will be the association’s last annual tradeshow and technical conference, as they move to an every two-year pattern with the full event held in odd-numbered years.

The Expo serves the global hydroblasting, vacuum truck, industrial cleaning and waterjet markets, as well as provides an opportunity for the industry's leaders to connect, learn, discuss industry trends and see the latest technology.

As of this month, notable highlights in the schedule include:

  • Waterjet Technology Basics and Beyond Short Course (Monday, Oct. 30, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.);
  • Boot Camp Education Sessions (Tuesday, Oct. 31, and Wednesday, Nov. 1, 9:30 a.m. to 12:40 p.m.);
  • Asset Owner Educational Track (Tuesday, Oct. 31, 10 a.m. to noon);
  • Panel Discussion (Tuesday, Oct. 31, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.);
  • Live Demos in Parking Lot F (Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.);
  • Awards Ceremony (Tuesday, Oct. 31, 4 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.); and
  • Industry Appreciation Reception (Tuesday, Oct. 31, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.)

The current schedule can be found here.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Associations; Conferences; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Industry News; Latin America; Networking; North America; Surface Preparation; Surface preparation; Surface preparation equipment; Tools & Equipment; WaterJet Technology Association; Waterjetting; Z-Continents

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.