Abrasive waterjet machines require minimal fixturing, offer quick setups and make it easy to go from idea to finished part in no time. Attributes that many manufacturers see as a winning combination for prototype development. And, while this is true, it creates the perception for some that these machines are best suited for single-piece or niche applications. But nothing could be further from the truth as these same attributes make abrasive waterjet machines perfect for full production runs.
Today, abrasive waterjet machines are among the most versatile manufacturing technologies available. In fact, now more than ever, manufacturers, such as those in the aerospace and automotive segments, use abrasive waterjet machines in high-volume parts production. After all, these machines can quickly and accurately cut multiple parts from a single piece of material in one pass. They are also capable of cutting virtually any type of workpiece material and thickness with consistent tolerance.
In terms of our abrasive waterjet machines, we can attest to their high levels of reliability and performance in fast-paced production environments. After all, we use our own technology to process many of the parts that go into our OMAX® and MAXIEM® JetMachining® Centers.
For example, the advanced OMAX waterjet manufacturing cell inside our Kent, Washington, facility produces thousands of precision parts daily within two shifts. Every part processed by this cell, from foam rubber gaskets to complex 4340 alloy steel flexure plates, is made with unmatched speed and precision.
To help put this into perspective, here are four reasons we like using our own abrasive waterjet technology for production runs.
- We can quickly process parts as needed, which allows us to minimise expensive parts inventory for just in time manufacturing.
- We can make part design changes on the fly, in terms of design details or material specification, to improve machine performance, reduce costs or both.
- We can keep our inventory in the form of raw material stock, rather than finished parts stored on a shelf.
- We can utilise the unique advantages of our abrasive waterjet technology to reduce manufacturing costs. Several of the parts that go into our machines are intricately shaped and using any other machining processes would be difficult and expensive.
These advantages, together with our world-class engineering design and lean manufacturing processes, make it possible for us to cost-effectively produce all of our machines and complementary accessories in the United States.
So, in looking at these factors, there is proof that parts production by way of abrasive waterjet machines often results in higher productivity, lower production costs and increased quality as compared with traditional CNC machining operations.