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Complementary Machining: Adding a Waterjet to Your Machine Shop - Part 3

Every precision CNC machine shop contains multiple types of equipment. They often utilize mills, lathes, multi-axis machine centers, grinders, EDM machines, and precision hones. The goal of any machine shop is to add value to a product through the manufacturing process. Abrasive waterjet machines have a common place within a machine shop because they add value by eliminating non-value-add time and creating geometrics that are both common and/or not possible with traditional CNC machines. In part three of Complementary Machining, we’ll take a look at how waterjet works in unison with other manufacturing and fabrication methods as well as a waterjet’s return on a capital investment.

OMAX abrasive waterjets are the Swiss Army Knives of the machine tool world. Abrasive waterjet can: cut with a small kerf like a saw, cut external geometry for near net production, cut round parts like a lathe, cut square parts like a mill, cut complex parts like a wire EDM, and cut slots like a broach. This advanced versatility allows waterjet to be a large multi-tasker in your machine shop or to complement your other machine tools by balancing capacities.

Waterjet can move quickly through difficult-to-machine materials, like titanium. In many cases, waterjet can cut titanium faster than traditional CNC machines.

Abrasive waterjet is capable of performing most of the “work” on a part leaving “finish” work for CNC machine to focus on. For example, waterjet can leave a small amount of material of a surface for CNC to remove vs. roughing and finishing all features in CNC.

If your shop is bringing in additive manufacturing, OMAX abrasive waterjet is a perfect partner. Often times, when a part is created by additive manufacturing the part requires a “skeleton” structure to support it during the manufacturing process. The skeleton structure usually needs to be removed. Waterjet can easily remove the skeleton features – regardless of material type.

Not only does waterjet aid in your machining practices, it also is a great return on your investment. OMAX abrasive waterjet cuts down on non-value add time. At the OMAX plant in Kent, WA, on average, each CNC set-up consumes approximately 2.5 hours. In comparison, an OMAX waterjet consumers approximately 15 minutes of set-up time. That’s a savings of 2.25 hours in set-up alone. If the burden rate of a CNC machine is $100 per hour, our customer would save $225 every time they set up a job. If the customer sets up and runs 5 jobs a day, they save $1125 per day or $5625 per week. Going further, the customer saves $24,187.50 per month - $290,250 per year. Most companies/banks want the machine to pay for itself within 24 months. With OMAX abrasive waterjets you can see how it will pay it off in a fraction of the time.

That wraps up our Complementary Machining series. If you haven’t already, please check out part 1 and 2.

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