This is another exclusive Modern Applications News interview by Larry Olson, Editor, with a metalworking industry leader: Dr. John H. Olsen, Co-Founder and Vice President of Operations, OMAX Corp.
Modern Applications News: What has been the recent history of the waterjet industry?
Dr. Olsen: “On the time scale of other machine tools, recent history includes the total history of the waterjet industry. Waterjets have been moving onto the scene very slowly since the 1970s, and abrasivejets a bit more rapidly since about 1980.
“The first abrasivejet machines to come out were nozzles bolted to torch cutting tables. These early machines did not cut under water, so they were noisy and threw abrasive around. The motion mechanism did not require accuracy, because the nozzle itself wore significantly during a cut and was the precision limitation. As a result, people who are familiar with abrasivejets from the 1980s have the image of a big, messy monster that is not very precise. It was a tool of last resort for cutting otherwise-difficult materials.