Addictions are typically bad for you and should be avoided. Our addiction to waterjet cutting is definitely not bad for us. Try FluidCut the next time you need anything cut. Our good addiction could become your “good” addiction, too.
As a production machining company of thirty-five years experience, we have used pretty much every form of cutting service and manufacturing service. From CNC milling to plasma cutting, to laser cutting, to wire EDM cutting, to band saw cutting… We have used it all. One day that long list was shortened to one type of cutting service. The clear winner for us was abrasive waterjet cutting (AWJ cutting). Yes, all of our cutting and fabricating was replaced with one process.
Not only did water jet trim the list of operations we used, it made coordinating all of our suppliers very simple. There was only one! There was no longer any coordinating to be done. One simple phone call or e-mail to the water jet cutting service and all of our troubles were over. There was no need to arrange for the items to be sent to other processes or hope that all the separate processes would be on time and be done accurately. Everything was done by one machine and it was done FAST!! Sometimes it was done in a matter of hours. Try to get a mill shop, laser shop, or die cutting shop to be that fast, let alone get all of them to accomplish that together. That probably won’t happen. With waterjet cutting, it can be done and is done!
On top of that all of this fast service was done cheaper. Yes, waterjet cutting is often times cheaper and faster than other services we were using. We also weren’t wasting valuable time picking-up and delivering the parts from place to place. One delivery with no wasted time or money.
Water jets were favored because they are a convenient, fast and affordable way to cut. But, the real beauty of waterjet is that it doesn’t matter how thick the material being cut is. We were always using steel for all of our projects. Thin steel wasn’t a problem for laser or plasma cutting. However, when the material is thicker laser and plasma weren’t an option. Water jet doesn’t have the limitations of laser and plasma. Whether 1/8 inch thick or 8 inches thick, water jet will cut it. The capability to cut thick steel was making us rely heavily on water jet cutting.
However, we weren’t addicted to it just yet.
Even with all these positive attributes we weren’t fully committed to waterjet cutting. What made us fully dedicated to waterjet was the fiasco created by laser cutting. We were cutting several pockets and holes in ¼ inch thick steel plate about 24 inches in diameter. We chose to use laser cutting because laser are allegedly the “right way” to cut thinner steel. We had this done numerous times before with only minor complications. This time, however, it was different.
The intense heat from the laser cutting created awful heat effected zones. This introduced and relieved all kinds of stresses into the material. The piece went from a 24-inch diameter “plate” and warped and curled into a large “bowl”. We tried to flatten the piece but we didn’t have any luck. Reluctantly, we had to have the piece annealed and straightened. That wasn’t a major problem accept for the extra two days it to do all of this screwing around and the extra bill that followed on top of the bill for laser cutting.After this, it was waterjet cutting for everything.
Over the years, we found dozens and dozens of opportunities to use water jet cutting to save us all kinds of time, save us plenty of money and save us from numerous headaches. Waterjet has totally changed the way we approach our cutting needs and how we approach designing everything. That is how we became addicted to waterjet cutting.