By Kate Bachman
Fabricators must adapt to and overcome chal- lenges related to frequently changing part re- quirements, said Stephen Bruner, vice president of marketing for OMAX® Corp., Kent, Wash.
Whether they must make more complex cuts or use
new and di;erent materials, they must be versatile.
Fabricators need to get the most capability out of
every piece of equipment on their shop floors.
Fortunately, abrasive waterjet technology has
historically been one of the most versatile cutting
technologies in that it is nearly unlimited in terms of
the material type, thickness, part size, and shape it
can cut, Bruner said.
Brian Sherick, vice president of North American
sales at Flow International, Kent, Wash., cited the
need to simplify integration of waterjet technology
into standard production flows. He also said that
the break-fix model of operation must migrate to a
preventive maintenance model to ensure continuity
Dave Dumas, director of waterjet OEM sales for
1. How is waterjet technology evolving
Hypertherm, Hanover, N.H., weighed in. “Like ev-
eryone, waterjet fabricators are under constant
pressure (no pun intended) to lower costs and in-
Bruner, Sherick, and Dumas o;er their perspec-
tives on waterjet technology’s advances and predic-
tions for its future.
to help meet fabricators’ challenges?
Sherick, Flow: Waterjet technology is evolving to
help fabricators on a few fronts.
We are committed to creating a more reliable and
predictable system that requires less interaction
with the equipment. With advanced system diagnostics and proper preventive maintenance practices, fabricators can realize greater predictability and
uptime. The industry is migrating to using a preventive maintenance model. This is really a fundamental change. For years the industry has run in a break-fix model; the machine runs until it breaks and then
it’s an emergency. We’re trying to o;er fabricators
the ability to not have to go through that.
In addition, expanding so;ware capabilities are
improving fabricators’ experiences with a simple-
to-use CAD/CAM interface that is compatible with
nearly all current file formats. Modern so;ware ar-
chitecture is designed to simplify the integration of
waterjet technology into standard production.
We’re constantly improving and evolving the
Flowmaster so;ware cutting models that do taper
compensation to empower the Dynamic Waterjet®
to increase the accuracy and precision of the cuts.
(see Figure 1).
Wrist articulation ± 10 degrees (5-axis kinematics
with articulated A/B wrist); high-precision clamping
that allows fabricators to quickly attach or remove
the cutting heads; and the touchdown height sensor that establishes proper stando; height are all
helping fabricators become more versatile.
Bruner, OMAX: Our A-Jet® articulated cutting head
and the rotary axis allow fabricators to perform multidimensional cuts in up to six axes for bevels, 3-D
shapes, and pipes on one machine.
For tight part tolerances, taper compensation
technology such as the Tilt-A-Jet® eliminates taper
and generates high-precision parts with squared
edges without slowing the cutting speed.
Fabrication shops are also implementing waterjet technology as a cost-e;ective complementary
machining method to cut parts to near-net shapes.
Multidimensional cutting, abrasive media recycling,
intuitive software, smarter pumps, Internet connections,
and PM are streaming
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