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Smalley Donates Abrasive Waterjet Machining Center to Local College

Smalley Steel Ring Company, a global leader in the design and manufacture of retaining rings and wave springs, has donated an OMAX 2652 to the College of Lake County (CLC) in Grayslake, Illinois. The abrasive waterjet machining center is the college’s first and broadens the CNC/Machine Tool Trades Department's ability to offer the waterjet technology skills sought by many employers recruiting the CLC graduates, including Smalley.

Waterjet machining is one of the fastest growing machining processes in manufacturing today. Its ease-of-use and ability to cut almost anything while maintaining high precision make it suitable for a large array of operators from short-run job shops and R & D facilities to large corporations engaging in full-scale production.

The OMAX 2652 JetMachining® Center, which was installed at CLC in mid April, is a mid-sized cantilever-style waterjet machines, with a table size of 5' 9" x 2' 6" and capable of tolerances up to ±0.001" (±0.025 mm). With a completely sealed and protected ball screw drive system, this robust and reliable machine is perfect for cutting projects with smaller dimensions but needing high precision. It comes standard with an OMAX MAXJET® 5i Nozzle.

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college offering a wide range of academic program choices to meet students' educational needs including an associate degree in Applied Science and two certificate options in CNC Programming. Jeff Hines, department chairman over CNC Programming at CLC plans to integrate the machine into several courses including fabrication, wire EDM, and welding beginning in the fall of 2015.

Tim Doran, owner at Tristate Machinery, Inc., the OMAX distributor for Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, is a member of the career advisory committee for manufacturing at the College of Lake County and helped bring his customer, Smalley, and the college together. Career advisory committees, which include representatives of small business, large corporations, labor unions, faculty, secondary education instructors, recent graduates of the programs and even high-performing current students, help ensure that curriculum meets workforce needs by providing valuable feedback to instructors.

"Jeff Hines and the advisory committee have such a unique vision for how to bring together the best tools and technology that will truly help students develop the skills today's manufacturers want and need,” Doran explained. "With the addition of this machine, CLC is one of the only schools with a waterjet machining center in its classroom setting, which gives these students a huge advantage."

Smalley also donated several accessories with the machine including a Variable Speed Solids Removal System and a Tilt-A-Jet® accessory. Through the machine's Intelli-MAX control software, the Tilt-A-Jet automatically calculates and adjusts the angle of the nozzle to accurately remove the natural taper from the finished part by transferring it to the scrap part of the material—all while maintaining extremely high cutting speeds.

Smalley, which also donates to CLC for a scholarship, uses OMAX abrasive waterjet technology to manufacture equipment used in the production of its products, including retaining rings and wave springs. With a No Tooling Cost manufacturing process, Smalley can also create prototypes and small to large runs of custom parts as an affordable alternative if the ring a customer needs is not available. The OMAX 2652 was the company's first waterjet. Smalley replaced the machine with a new OMAX 55100 JetMachining Center, giving the company two of the same models on its shop floor.

Jeff Hines, department chairman for the CNC programming program at CLC added, "We are very grateful for this very generous donation by Smalley. The addition of waterjet technology to our program will give students a stronger skills and training portfolio when they complete their degrees that now includes a basic understanding of waterjet and how to safely operate the machine."

"We are thrilled to help College of Lake County continue to educate the next generation of tool and die makers and machinists," said Michael Greenhill, president of Smalley. "Our partnership with the college is a win-win situation. Students and instructors at the college now have access to this advanced technology, and we hope that some of the well-trained students might become future employees of Smalley."

To learn more about the College of Lake County, visit www.clcillinois.edu/home.

To learn more about Smalley, visit www.smalley.com.

To learn more about Tristate Machinery, Inc., visit www.tristatemachinery.com.

About OMAX

OMAX® Corporation designs and manufactures the world's most advanced abrasive waterjet technology in a variety of table sizes and price points at its headquarters in Kent, Washington. Backed by unmatched support and powered by the company's intuitive control software, OMAX and MAXIEM® JetMachining® Centers bring affordable performance to a continuously expanding range of industries. For more information on OMAX products and accessories, contact Sandra McLain at 800-838-0343 or visit www.omax.com.

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