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  1. Building a Business on Waterjet Cutting

    Today's waterjet systems attract more work than most shops realize. By Charles Bates Senior Editor When Patrick Hill and Mario Marotti started their jobshop, they banked their business on one machine: an abrasive-waterjet system. They did so because they believed the technology offered more opportunities for jobs from many diverse markets as compared to conventional machining equipment. The risk paid off for Chicago Waterjet, which now has enough work to keep two Omax abrasive-waterjet systems busy.

  2. Job Shop Gets Abrasivejet Edge on Competition

    "Abrasivejet technology is widely known in the metalworking industry, but what's not so widely known is how to apply it to specific production jobs," states Scott McFarlane, President of Cutting Technology, Inc., a job shop located in Auburn, Washington.

  3. Newer Linear-drive Technology Improves Waterjet Accuracy, Reduces Costs

    Recent developments in linear-drive technology are designed to improve waterjet cutting accuracy and safety, while making high-precision cutting machines more affordable. 

  4. 2-D + 3-D = 5-Axis Waterjet Cutting

    While five-axis operations such as bevel cutting and other weld prep operations have been possible on abrasive waterjet machines for some time, the capability to process 3D parts such as tubes and pipes on the same waterjet is relatively new. This is opening up new possibilities for metal fabricators. Shops that once focused primarily on flat 2D work now have the opportunity to take on 3D work with one five-axis abrasive waterjet machine. And those shops specializing in tube and pipe fabrication can now process their 3d cylindrical parts on the same type of machine. Additionally, that same five-axis abrasivejet machine allows fabricators to process flat 2D parts, such as gussets and supports, that may have been previously farmed out to other shops.

  5. Research in Waterjet Technology Lead to Advanced Materials Development

    Florida State University's High-Performance Materials Institute is paving the way when it comes to narrowing the gap between research and practical use of a new, high-performance composite material that could be up to 10 times lighter and 250 times stronger than steel, twice as hard as diamond, and highly conductive to electricity and heat. This advanced material, sometimes referred to as "Buckypaper," shows great potential in industries including aerospace, defense, medical and even consumer products. One of the challenges in finding practical commercial applications is developing methods to actually manufacture parts from the material.  Its characteristics may make it difficult to machine using conventional processes. Abrasive waterjet cutting is particularly well-suited to cutting this advanced composite. An OMAX Model 55100 JetMachining System is in regular use by the Institute for making test pieces and products.

  6. The Promise of Waterjet Technology for Micromachining

    There are numerous compelling benefits of using waterjet technology to produce parts or part features smaller than 300 microns. Developers and researchers are getting close to breaking the barriers that stand in the way of micromachining in the 150- to 200- micron range and below. This research report outlines the issues associated with making very finely detailed parts using the abrasive waterjet process. It also gives an overview of the current status of efforts to improve the levels of detail and accuracy that are possible. Possible applications in the medical and electronic industries are also discussed.

  7. Waterjetting to Higher Production

    By Ted Giese Contributing Editor Anyone who has used a power washer to clean a deck knows that water can be a powerful tool for cleaning. But to watch a pencil of water and abrasives cut a 4´´ thick plate of stainless steel is eye opening. Such is the growing awareness of waterjet cutting technology, for it's time to take waterjet cutting seriously. That's the message that comes in loud and clear from a look at the state-of-the-art of abrasive waterjet technology. Waterjet cutting has been around commercially for more than a decade with applications split between water and water abrasives. The split comes between applications such as cutting food and paper products, where water is sufficient, and applications that require an entrained flow of abrasives in the water stream to cut metal, plastics, and glass. Abrasive waterjet applications now comprise over 60% of the market according to Chip Burnum, sales manager, Flow Int'l, Kent, WA, a leading manufacturer of waterjet equipment in the US. While it is true that waterjet can cut intricate patterns in delicate and difficult-to-cut materials, the real usefulness to manufacturing will come from cutting some of the more mundane products and materials. Waterjet has moved from what Mr Burnum calls "gee whiz" technology to what serious tool manufacturers can apply to new and old problems

  8. Abrasivejet Carves A Niche For Competitve Job Shop

    "As a shop owner, the thing you hate most is sending a customer down the street with a part you can’t cut. He may take all his work elsewhere. That’s why we want to be a full-service job shop." That is the principle that motivates Dan Mottl, president of Atlas Tool& Die Works Inc., a job shop in Lyons, IL. The company was founded in 1918 by his grandfather, a European-trained tool and die maker and machinist. Today, the company employs 65 people in its 50,000 sq.-ft. facility. Originally a general machine shop specializing in tools, die, and die repair, Atlas Tool has succeeded in fulfilling customer needs by utilizing the most current technology. "Our company has reinvented itself several times over the years," Mottl explains, "each time providing a broader range of services than before. In the mid 1970s, we became one of the first shops in the Chicago area to have a wire EDM (electrical discharge machining) inhouse with a full-service die shop and stamping facility. We saw wire EDM as a way to make high-quality tools at the lowest possible price. It really was a big turning point, because we did get a whole new array of customers; not only for wire EDM, but for stamping and assembly as well."

  9. Abrasivejet is Machine of Choice for One-Of-A-Kind Parts

    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.

  10. Abrasivejet Technology Boosts Business for EDM Shops

    For years, job shops used only wire EDM or laser equipment for cutting precision parts. Abrasivejet machining was new to the industry, and not yet considered practical. Today, state-of-the-art technology has successfully reconciled full-scale abrasivejet production with consistent precision results. And job shops that procure this technology stand to boost their profit margins in return. Steve R. Miller, president of Milco Wire EDM, in Huntington Beach, CA, and owner of Milco Waterjet, would be the first to agree. Miller started out in 1972 as a tool and die apprentice. He worked in more than a dozen deep draw, progressive, and compound die shops until taking on wire EDM as his primary vocation.

  11. All In The Details

    FF Journal Companies creating parts for elaborate aerospace projects or artistic placards often prefer to use a precise waterjet cutter rather than plasma or laser cutting alternatives. From metals to plastics, OMAX Corp., Kent, Wash., provides the tools to cut parts for heavy-duty regenerators as well as chisel intricate designs into statues and monuments. Today's manufacturers rely on the latest software to meet customer demands in an expeditious manner. For heavy-duty regenerators, gas turbines and pipelines for gas and electricalapplications, Randy Thompson, president, Pal-Con Ltd., Stephenville, Texas, needed a waterjet cutter to cut fins. The company purchased three OMAX 80160 waterjet cutters. According to Thompson, fins are corrugated pieces of metal that wouldn't manufacture well using a laser. Other software would be unable to process the download and the material would not be picked up, causing the machine to shut off. "Any other type of machine was more expensive to operate than the waterjet, and we couldn't use heat because we didn't want the war page effect you get using heat. "We didn't realize how precise it would be and how much easier it makes fabricating,"Thompson continues. "We do a lot of structural steel as well and you don't even have to use a square," he says. Originally, the company purchased thewaterjet for cutting parts for its regenerator core, but after seeing its success, "we were able to use it elsewhere in our shop," says Thompson.

  12. Autonesting Saves Time

    CAD/CAM software Machine company makes waves with Jetcam driving waterjet cutter Wagner Machine Co. of Champaign, IL, wanted its Omax 2652 waterjet cutter to autonest to save time that was spent manually creating part nests in CAD and exporting them. Wagner provides precision CNC machine services spanning a wide variety of cutting technologies. The company purchased an Omax 2652 Waterjet cutter, which has a maximum cutting table of 26" x 52". The supplied CAM software was capable of automatic nesting of simple components, but did not have the ability to automatically perform dissimilar part nesting. "Initially, the software supplied with the machine met our needs, but as the business grew, we found that we were spending several hours a day nesting," says Kurt Wagner, project manager. "As we could not autonest, we were creating nests in our CAD software manually and exporting a complete DXF nest for the CAM system to program. This worked well initially, but was very time consuming."

  13. Bector Says Innovation is the Key in Job Shop Machining

    Betcor Manufacturing in Ontario, Canada is a small custom job shop with a difference. At first glance, they look like most other job shops, with a shop floor filled with machines for CNC milling, turning, surface grinding, cylindrical grinding, and even some welding and fabricating work. At one end of the shop floor, though, is a piece of equipment that is anything but traditional state-of-the-art abrasive waterjet machining center. The OMAX 55100 JetMachining® Center has enabled Betcor to handle more operations in-house instead of sending parts out to other shops. “We were sending out parts to be cut on a plasma, laser or waterjet, instead of using conventional milling operations,” says partner Barry Corbet. “Many of these were parts with large radii and had large amounts of metal removed. When we decided to expand our business we took a very close look at all of these p rocesses and concluded that abrasive waterjet, and in particular the OMAX was most suitable for our target market.” Like most job shops Betcor Manufacturing in Alliston, Ontario, serves a wide variety of markets, including automotive, aerospace, and advertising. This means that while innovation is key to Betcor, versatility is also important, and the waterjet provides that versatility by machining a wide variety of materials.

  14. Business on the Cutting Edge

    Manufacturers' Monthly, April 2001 Welding & Cutting Technologies Innovator, successful businessman and skilled, hands-on metal worker, Mark Piacun has established a manufacturing business that supplies some of the world’s leading casinos with gaming machines. Recently, he has also secured orders from customers in Australia and in Japan for large murals and floors in natural stone and marble. His company, Blue Water Engineering (BWE), is situated on Queens land’s Gold Coast and operates from two plants, at Southport and Nerang, not far from Jupiter’s Casino.

  15. EDM for The Long Run

    The Modern Machine Shop To manufacture large quantities of similar parts, a Georgia machine shop has found that wire EDM is the ideal process. By Bill Dundas Because it plays a supporting role in many shops, wire EDM isn't widely associated with high-volume production. But metalworking professionals who choose wire EDM as their mainline process continue to develop strategies that boost its efficiency. Thus, many of those at the forefront of wire EDM applications view this technology as undervalued by shops that use it only for secondary operations. Robert W. Jenkins, president of Bellwether Inc. (McDonough, Georgia) is a firm believer in the untapped potential of wire EDM. His company's success in providing high-quality, precision parts for various industries confirms the proposition that, in some cases, wire-cutting represents the most effective machining process.

  16. Erickson Machine Tools Demonstrates New Manufacturing Technology

    Manufacturing News Erickson Machine Tools Inc., celebrating its 50th Anniversary, recently held an Open House. The company's large showroom in Story City, IA was used to demonstrate new machining centers, turning centers, saws, a waterjet cutting machine and cutting tools and accessories for manufacturers and job shops in the Iowa and Nebraska regions. The Milltronics ML 16 Toolroom Lathe can be used as a manual machine for one-off projects or as a CNC machine. The control has a 'teach' feature that will remember what was done in the manual mode to be repeated in CNC mode. The ML 16 was shown with a Dorian tool post option but can be purchased with a turret. It has a 17.5-inch swing and a 40" bed. The machine can be ordered with up to 120- inch bed. The box ways provide stability. An oversized cross slide allows for the turret to bemounted on the front or the back. A hydraulic tailstock is optional.

  17. HarshCo LLC, a Waterjet Company

    A2Z Metalworker Of the more than 30 customers HarshCo picked up in the last 18 months (strictly through referrals), Johnny thinks that 80% use HarshCo exclusively for their waterjet needs. HarshCo is poised and ready for growth. HarshCo was a husband and wife team until recently, and so Johnny couldn't go out marketing the company to new customers. With the recent hiring of his son, Kevin, and the addition of experienced workers, the team now numbers 5 employees, and Johnny will be able to go out and market the company. By all standards, Johnny Harshman was successful prior to opening his shop. A manufacturers' representative for the electrical utility industry for 17 years making a six-digit income, Johnny was able to live comfortably, buy toys he wanted, and live in a beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright-looking house sitting on 1.7 acres in Phoenix. During his off-hours, Johnny jogged, rode his motorcycle, and built metal products. His garage housed a Bridgeport manual mill, a 9" lathe, a drill press, grinders, tubing benders and notchers, a sheet metal brake, MIG and TIG welders, and a deburring machine. Johnny said, "We had all of the standard hobbyist machine shop tools. Well, maybe a little more than the typical hobbyist!".

  18. Innovative Cutting

    Waterjet: Case Study Antech Wire EDM Antech Wire EDM Inc. is a high precision wire EDM and machining establishment, located in Oshawa, Ontario. Antech was founded in 1996 and continues to grow at a rapid pace. At first glance, it is not hard to see what sets Antech apart from the others. With their advanced state-of-the-art equipment, running from wire EDM machining centers to a support machine shop, welding department and their newest piece of high-tech equipment, the OMAX 55100 waterjet machining center, allows Antech to be a very versatile shop. “Antech doesn't believe in second best,” said Robert Alves president and company founder. “The reason I looked at waterjet was because of the diversity it would bring to the business. By adding it to our floor we can open the company to more areas.”

  19. OMAX Corporation Helps Judge Future Inventions

    Aerospace Manufacturing and Design OMAX Corporation recently served as one of the highly influential guest judges at Georgia Institute of Technology's latest Capstone Design Expo, a culmination of 40 mechanical and biomedical student projects from the school's mechanical engineering senior design course. "The Capstone Design Expo is a great opportunity for student teams to showcase the hard work and creativity they've put into their semester-long projects for outside sponsors," says Craig Forest, assistant professor at Georgia Tech in the GW Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. "As part of the expo, the school uses an esteemed group of judges to help select the three most innovative, useful and market-worthy projects." Each team consisted of four to five students who worked together to define their project, perform research, develop a design and then fabricate, test and refine their prototypes - all under the tutelage of faculty and external sponsors or mentors. In the past, student teams have worked on commercial projects for Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola.

  20. One Stop Does It All

    Anaheim Precision Manufacturing (APM) is much more than a traditional job shop.  They offer a complete manufacturing service, including product design, sheet metal fabrication, tool development, full-service machining, welding, assembly and finishing.  The company has strategically positioned itself to take the place of multiple vendors--to be a one-stop shop for its customers.  APM has recently added abrasive waterjet cutting capability to improve its flexibility, not  only in part production but also in prototype development.  Their OMAX Model 5555 JetMachining Center provides them with full abrasive waterjet cutting capability and eliminates the cost and scheduling issues associated with outsourcing.  It is also helping them to streamline their production, resulting in faster results for their customers.  

  21. Shop Capitalizes on Water Over Wire

    Every once in a while, Jack McGrail will cut a potential customer's part for free, just to prove a point. These rare occasions usually involve customers who are convinced that the work is best suited for Mr. McGrail's wire EDM equipment. Typically, their initial skepticism becomes pleasant surprise with the revelation that he can meet required specifications in less time using abrasive waterjet machines from Omax (Kent, Washington). Mr. McGrail is president of Jack's Machine Co., an 11-person job shop in Hanson, Massachusetts that specializes in both waterjet and EDM. The shop got its start in 1985 offering high-volume wire EDM work. The company added its first abrasive waterjet cutting system 10 years later, a move motivated by processing speed. An abrasive waterjet can cut parts that don't require extremely tight tolerances much faster than wire EDM, Mr. McGrail says. As accuracies continued to improve, the shop invested in newer machines that enabled moving even more parts from EDM to waterjet. Its current equipment consists of two JetMachining centers from Omax: the 2652 and the 55100. The cantilever-style 2652, which is the shop's newest waterjet, features Omax's Maxjet 5i nozzle, programmable Z-axis movement and a sealed ballscrew drive system. It offers X- and Y-axis cutting travel of 52 by 26 inches and a table size of 69 by 30 inches. The 55100 is a larger cantilever-style machine, sporting a table size of 126 by 65 inches and X- and Y-axis cutting travel of 100 by 55 inches. The cantilever Y axis mounts on a bridge X axis, and the machine features a motorized Z axis. One advantage of this design is that it provides three open sides for material loading, Mr. McGrail notes.

  22. Software: How is it Contributing to Plasma and Waterjet Operations

    Waterjet Software As machine tools evolve, adding processes and creating more parts in complex shapes, the software becomes an increasingly important factor in not only the operation of a machine, but the purchase as well. This is especially true with waterjet software that can change often, as new advancements in technology drive the systems toward new frontiers. What makes the software for this type of machine important is the fact that the stream of water that does the cutting is not a rigid cutting tool that is simply guided along a path to make a part.

  23. Solid Form Fabrication, Inc.

    A2Z MetalWorker In McMinnville, Oregon nestled in the middle of wine country you will find some very nice wine from some great vineyards. You can drive through the country and view farms that grow all kinds of vegetables and varies crops, and you will find a fabrication company that can design, water jet cut, weld, and fabricate anything that canbe dreamed of; Solid Form Fabrication, Inc. Two brothers, Deven & Keath Paolo from the small city of Yamhill worked the family farm most of their life just like their parents and their grand parents did. The Brothers were raised on the same farm that was pioneered by their grand parents in the early 20's, and like their ancestors they worked long hard hours building the family farm. The opportunity they were afforded in the land of the free was a great education; Keath schooled in all aspects of metalworking including machining and fabrication, and Deven a mechanical engineer and business grad apply the great work ethic they learned from their parents to their own business. No job is too small or too big for the brothers and they both are hands on. Deven & Keath Paolo created their business together in October of 2007 after looking to buy various companies. The brothers came close to buying a company after many months of searching, a business that builds fermentation tanks for the brewing industry. They came close but opted not to buy that company. After a few years (since 2004) of searching to no avail for a business to work together they decided they had what it took to build their own business with their many years of metalworking and business experience.

  24. The Engineers' Guide to Designing Abrasive Waterjet Parts

    This is intended to give some tips for Engineers who are not experts in abrasivejet machining, but may be designing parts for Abrasivejet Machining. Hopefully, some of the tips and ideas presented here will save you time, effort, and money. Quick Tips: You can machine virtually any 2D shape. For cheaper / faster parts: avoid sharp corners, or tight radii. Avoid tiny holes in thick materials. Use AutoCad Release 12 ASCII DXF files for best luck in transfering files. Your final part will be no more accurate than the CAD drawing you start with. Brittle materials and laminates require special attention. Different machines & job shops have different specialties and capabilities.

  25. Two Omax Waterjets Redefine What One Job Machine Shop Can Do

    FF Journal Life is full of outsourcing. We hire cleaning personnel to vacuum our carpets, babysitters to look after our children and accountants to sort through our taxes. In the metal fabrication business, sending fabrication and cutting work to other companies can be costly and timeconsuming. The waterjet, however, could be considered the ultimate "insourcing" machine, as it allows a company to cut countless types ofmaterial in all sorts of ways. For Machintek Corp., Fairfield, Ohio, a contract manufacturer and job machine shop with a focus on steel, stainless steel and aluminum, the integration of waterjet cutting into its operations became an increasingly logical option, and a year and a half ago, the company purchased its first waterjet.

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