A 90,000-PSI machine could have boosted cutting
speeds, but not enough to warrant the strain put on
consumables, such as the hoses, which would need
to be replaced much more frequently if exposed to
those higher pressures.
The waterjet came at the right time for the job
shop as it was in the midst of a large fabrication project for a company that marketed trailers for moving
magnetic resonance imaging machines. These were
no ordinary trailers. They were air-cushioned to ensure that these high-tech pieces of machinery survived the rough-and-tumble world of over-the-road
“The waterjet really cut the parts nice for the
hitch on those trailers. I did about 30 sets on there,”
AA Precision Tooling prepared about 38 total
hitch sets for its customer. The trailer company’s
welder used Schrank’s shop as his own workshop. It
took about 17 hours of fabricating to build the hitch.
The business relationship was a good one, but
the trailer company’s owner was looking to sell his
business. Schrank said he wasn’t interested in going
into debt to purchase the company just to hang on
to the work. Eventually the company owner found a
buyer in Pittsburgh, and that job came to an end for
AA Precision Tooling.
“God has been good to me. He’s given me my
health, and he let me pay o; the bills. I don’t owe
anyone any money,” Schrank said.
Also, around this time AA Precision Tooling was
in the middle of another project that arose while
Schrank was sitting in a church pew. On that particular Sabbath morning two years ago, Schrank
met Nathan Rittenour, a missionary associated with
Congo Frontline Missions, an organization that has a
well-drilling team that works to deliver clean drinking and cooking water to villages in the Congo. Often these remote villages rely on polluted rivers and
streams or stagnant ponds for their water sources,
and that contaminated water can lead to outbreaks
of typhoid fever and dysentery.
Rittenour was making the rounds of U.S. churches
trying to raise money for the well-drilling activities.
He happened to choose the right church because he
also got a manufacturing expert along with the proceeds from the collection plate on that day.
Over the next several months, Schrank and Rittenour worked together to sketch out the concept
for a pump. The goal was to avoid the typical drop-rod pump that can be di;icult for children and some
adults to work. With that traditional design, the water pump operator has to exert enough pressure to
draw up the rod and the accompanying water that
rises along with it.
Introducing a New Water Pump
In late 2016 the latest prototype pump was com-
pleted. This design incorporates a hydraulic system
that makes pumping easier. A counterweight assists
with the pushing of the handle in a downward mo-
tion, and a pressurized bladder helps with the up-
ward movement of the handle.
“A 4-year-old girl is able to run the pump,” Schrank
AA Precision Tooling has run a prototype pump at
the shop for 30 days and 30 nights, which amounted
to more than 2. 6 million strokes, enough to pump
225,000 gallons of water. (The development team
had run into an issue with the bladder, but replaced
it with a stronger material.) They also received a
patent-pending designation for the design in the
summer of 2016.
As Schrank worked to develop parts for the latest water pump design, he got an education on the
company’s waterjet (see Figure 3).
“When you are rotating the part and moving the
cutting head at the same time, it gets complicated,”
By cutting parts for the water pump, Schrank had an
opportunity to learn the tips and tricks necessary to
produce quality tube parts on the waterjet.
The waterjet has proven very useful in delivering angle
cuts on thick material, such as this 2-in. A36 steel.
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