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Composites Leader Streamlines Testing With OMAX Waterjet Technology

Continental Structure Plastics

Continental Structural Plastics (CSP) is a world leader in the creation of lightweight composite materials. CSP shapes these custom composites into components for vehicles, HVAC, and construction markets. The company develops proprietary composite formulations and manufacturing processes to meet the design and regulatory needs of customers around the globe.

To demonstrate material and structural integrity, CSP performs rigorous testing on each lot of material. The primary materials tested are 2.5 millimeter thick plastics, glass fiber, and other fiber reinforced materials. Previously, the company used a saw and router to cut tensile testing bars, but this method didn’t always yield the tight tolerances on dimensions required by the ISO and ATSM. Additionally, the narrowed section of the testing specimen “needs to be symmetric and parallel to the direction of the test which was not always achievable, said Adam Burley PhD, a senior materials scientist at CSP. 

Investigating Alternatives

The company examined alternatives to their two-step process and discovered the versatility of abrasive waterjet cutting. Burley and his team then researched the key factors to consider when purchasing a waterjet machine. They contacted OMAX, and after discussing CPS’s specific needs, OMAX took Burley and his testing team to tour a nearby location and see an abrasive waterjet machine in action.

Finding A Solution

CPS purchased an OMAX 2626 JetMachining Center with a 30 horsepower EnduroMAX pump and 600 pound capacity garnet hopper to facilitate hassle-free cutting. The OMAX machine delivered the precision and repeatability needed to cut testing specimens that would meet the standards organizations' requirements the first time.

"Our OMAX waterjet has delivered everything and more, we significantly reduced the time to produce testing coupons to the required specifications," said Burley. "We have found other uses that include creating fixturing parts for our testing assemblies. We are impressed by the versatility and accuracy of the waterjet."

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