John Petras works with direct customer service at OMAX Corp. Click image to enlargeby Jonathan Will

A proactive maintenance program will save you time and money

Being proactive with maintenance on your abrasive waterjet will save you time and money by preventing unplanned downtime and extending the working life of your components. Here are 10 of the most important preventive maintenance tips to keep your abrasive waterjet productive.

1. Follow equipment manufacturer recommendations for maintenance
An established and trusted machine manufacturer will provide specific maintenance intervals and procedures for their machinery based on years of real-world industry experience. Following these recommendations will keep the machinery operating at top performance for the longest possible time. When a machine component is pushed beyond its recommended maintenance time, it typically puts stress on other components, shortening their working life. It’s a trickle-down effect. The manufacturer should also provide training for carrying out these recommended maintenance procedures.

2. Use preventive maintenance software
A good preventive maintenance software system monitors the operating conditions of things like the high pressure plumbing, pump, filters, abrasive and water tank levels. The system should also track operating hours of components and give alerts when they are due for maintenance or replacement. OMAX offers Intelli-VISOR software to handle this work. It predicts potential interruptions even before you start cutting, so rather than stopping midway through a job you can plan maintenance down time to occur between jobs.

3. Carry out maintenance in a clean environment
Ensure the work environment is clean and free of abrasive and material particles when carrying out maintenance procedures and repairs.

4. Regularly inspect for leaks in the pump and high-pressure plumbing components
If found, fix them immediately. Allowing a leak to continue at high pressure can very quickly erode and damage the component, probably beyond repair.

5. Inspect the table slats for wear at least once a month
Replace weakened or worn slats. Regularly rotating the slats to a different location on the table can greatly increase slat longevity.

6. Use high quality abrasive and keep it dry and free of debris
When loading garnet or other appropriate abrasive into the hopper, pay attention to how the bag is opened. Make sure no paper or plastic gets into the abrasive, as that will negatively affect your cutting. Test for moisture in abrasive using an ordinary multi-meter set to ohms. The ohm meter should indicate infinite resistance for dry abrasive.

7. Clean nozzle assembly in an ultrasonic cleaner
Use white vinegar in the ultrasonic cleaner to remove dissolved solids from the inside edge of your nozzle’s jewel orifice. Even diamond jewels require cleaning to keep them performing optimally.

8. Regularly remove accumulated abrasive and material particles from the tank
A solids removal system will do this automatically so you don’t incur downtime while manually removing the accumulated deposits.

9. Buy spare parts before they’re needed
Keep certain critical replacement parts in stock to avoid downtime while waiting for parts to ship. Check to ensure your supplier offers convenient and easy parts ordering online.

10. Test your water quality
Make sure the water quality meets the waterjet manufacturer’s specifications. Most Canadian and US city water supplies will meet the specifications. But poor water quality and high water temperature can dramatically reduce the lifespan of critical parts such as high pressure seals, high pressure plumbing and nozzle assemblies. If necessary, use a chiller or water treatment system. SMT

John Petras works with direct customer service at OMAX Corp.


Nd:YAG or fiber laser for micro welding?

Choosing the best option for your application

By Geoff Shannon, Amada Miyachi America

Four lasers can be used for micro welding: pulsed neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG), continuous wave (CW) fiber, quasi continuous wave (QCW) fiber, and nanosecond fiber. Each laser type offers unique features that work best for specific applications. Here is a comparison of the pulsed Nd:YAG laser with the three fiber laser options, and a discussion of why and when one might be chosen over the other. In some cases, several options may work; in that case, cost of ownership and serviceability can tip the scales.

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