Tim HolcombClick image to enlargeby Tim Holcomb

6 tips to improve waterjet machine performance

 

Here are six basic tips shops should consider to ensure their waterjet machines operate at their full potential for maximum productivity.

The tips encompass operators, machines, maintenance and software.

Training
Operators are the most critical component in the abrasive waterjet cutting process. A machine is only as productive as its operator, so the better trained he or she is, the more s/he can operate a machine to its maximum performance. Operators should be trained extensively and on a continuous basis, which is more easily accomplished by working with those waterjet machine suppliers that offer free training.

Preparation
Prior to even installing an abrasive waterjet machine, shops should have their water tested. This will help determine if certain actions need to be taken, such as adding water filters or chillers to ensure the machine operates with only the highest quality water. It is often recommended and convenient to locate waterjet machines close to drains, as well as water sources within the shop.

Size
When it comes to selecting a waterjet table size, most machine suppliers suggest first evaluating parts intended to be cut on the machine–whether existing jobs or those being considered for the future. A common rule of thumb is to reference the largest part a shop produces or the biggest size sheet material with which it works as a starting point and select a machine table size accordingly.

Capability
Level of capability will contribute directly to a waterjet machine's performance and productivity. For instance, the capability to monitor changes in workpiece material surfaces or thicknesses and automatically adjust for them will eliminate the risk of machine damage if an operator momentarily steps away from the machine. Such a function allows for continuous uninterrupted machine operation.

Another is the capability of a machine to actively control taper. This type of function would automatically adjust for the naturally occurring taper of a waterjet stream. Other performance enhancing capabilities include five axis and rotary axis machining, which allow shops to increase their part cutting diversity. Thus, machines gain the ability to process a wider range of part types to further increase their productivity potential.

It should be noted that no matter what the waterjet machine's current capability or functionality, it is most beneficial to have the option to add such systems to existing machines. When machine suppliers make these systems retrofitable, they enable shops to keep machines producing to their full potential–even if they happen to be older models–and do so cost effectively.

Maintenance
For optimum performance, waterjet machines must be kept well maintained and in perfect operating condition. Certain machine control functions offered by some machine suppliers can make maintenance easier and more proactive, as opposed to reactive. Such functions include forms of maintenance management software that monitor machine components for wear and indicate when preventative maintenance is required. With this monitoring ability, shops eliminate unexpected down time through preventative maintenance, as opposed to only doing so when something breaks and the machine is down.

Software
On the hardware side, waterjet machines are basically just pumps, nozzles and worktables. It is the control software that is the key to optimizing a machine's performance in terms of speed and efficiency. Shops should make sure their waterjet systems include the most powerful and effective software. It is most advantageous for shops to work with machine suppliers that continually advance their software and offer free upgrades once new versions are available. Those shops that don't have access to software upgrades will definitely lose

out on potential increased machine productivity. SMT

Tim Holcomb is technical applications specialist at OMAX Corp., Kent, WA

Omax

 

Canadian manufacturing sales climb in October

Canadian manufacturing sales continued to climb in October, yet another sign that the economy is gaining steam and will continue to grow in 2014.

Automation Mindset

Investment in automation forms success for Ontario fabricator

Consumer spending grows in US

Consumer confidence augurs well for stronger North American economy

Consumer confidence in the US is growing, according to recent retails sales data.

Space: a new manufacturing frontier?

by Mary Scianna, Editor

Mining asteroids—rich in iron, nickel, rare platinum group metals and water—is a smart idea and one that may open the doors to a new manufacturing sector in the future.

Troubleshooting weld defects

by Dave Almy

Welding errors can result in costly downtime and rework

A history of GM in Oshawa

A video look at GM's long history in Oshawa, Ontario.

Get 'Career-Ready' with CTMA Work Program

Program helps match employers with students, recent grads, and/or potential new apprentices

CMTS keynote: Why Canada is a great place to grow a manufacturing business

Canadian manufacturers can compete and win on a global scale if they devote themselves to innovation in their products and processes, and efficiency in their operations. That’s the message from the keynote speaker at the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show (CMTS) Linda Hasenfratz, CEO Linamar Corp.

2018 SHOP TALK

by Andrew Brooks

Job shops in Canada discuss challenges and successes

Untapped Talent

by Noelle Stapinsky

Canadian manufacturers need to diversify to answer the need for more skilled workers

Job Shops | Ontario: Investing In Growth

Article by Peter Diekmeyer

Photos by David Afriat

A medical fix

Growing medical device market may be good for the health of your manufacturing business

by Tim Wilson

To get a handle on Canada's medical industry, it is important to know that Canada has four classes of medical devices.

Quebec firms form world's largest aerospace robotics firm

AV&R Vision & Robotics, Montreal, and IMAC Automation, St. Bruno, QC, have merged to create what the companies say is the largest aerospace industry robotics firm in the world and one of the largest engineering firms specialized in automation in Quebec.

Ask the Expert: Zero-Point Workholding

by Kip Hanson 

What is zero-point workholding, and how can it help machine shops achieve greater efficiency?

Voodoo Manufacturing triples 3D printing production with Universal Robots

Universal Robots’ UR10 handles the “harvesting” - loading and unloading plates in 3D printers - at Voodoo Manufacturing. Deploying the cobot has tripled production output and will help the Brooklyn startup cut costs by 90 percent. The company chose the UR robot due to its quick integration with peripheral systems enabled through the UR+ platform.

Stay In Touch

twitter facebook linkedIn