Waterjet Cutting

Synchronizing solutions

By Gretchen Salois

Above: Waterjet USA will provide Lantek software with its cutting systems because of its stable and structured support center and familiarity in the U.S.

Demand for an essential resource prompts one fabricator to invest in new equipment

May 2015 - We often take for granted the ease with which we can flick on a faucet for fresh water. Depending on where you live, that water must travel great distances after being thoroughly processed. To meet this vital need, one fabricator sought out software to get the most out of their operations.

Having started with a laser and a smaller waterjet cutting operation, Rodney Hunt-Fontaine Inc., Orange, Massachusetts, realized the growing nature of its business couldn’t be adequately met. The company looked at different waterjet options and went with the larger Mitsubishi X4 series 90,000 psi pump with 6 ft. by 12 ft. bed. 

“We knew we needed to upgrade but also keep all our machines consistent and working on the same program,” says Jose Alvarez, operations manager of Valve and Gate Group’s Rodney Hunt. 


The company was satisfied with the performance of the Lantek software that ran its laser cutter. “We used it with the laser and we liked the nesting feature and interface and wanted everything to be controllable from our CNC programmer’s station.”

To ensure it used the latest software available, Rodney Hunt equipped its machines with nesting software from Lantek Systems Inc., Mason, Ohio.

Easy access

At the time, Rodney Hunt’s laser and smaller waterjet cutter used different software to nest parts, according to Sal Taverna, CNC programmer for waterjet at Rodney Hunt. “We wanted a centralized spot to do nesting.” The company upgraded to Lantek Expert, which meant it could control all nesting and programming from a central computer as well as from each of the workstations. 

“From my office I can import parts according to workload and create a nesting program that will optimize our plate usage,” Taverna says, adding the software is straightforward. “I can create a file, import the parts, and the engineers and draftsmen make the drawing exchange file (.dxf) that the software reads and converts to code the laser and waterjet need to run the job.”


After importing the program from the main database, Taverna can create different sub-folders and sub-files for each project. “I can manipulate the program and adjust the nesting right at the machine as well as from my computer in the office,” he says. “If one of the operators takes my program or needs to add a piece in or shift things around, they can do that right at the machine and it’ll communicate any changes to me.”

The nesting option allows Rodney Hunt operators to perform common line cuts. “If you have 10 of the same parts and they’re sitting on a sheet, it’ll cut the middle line and cut two pieces that will serve as the edge on both pieces rather than cutting and leaving an edge in between—it makes the most use of the sheet,” Taverna says.

Lantek’s autonest feature lets Taverna import all the parts to a program and executes it with a simple push of a button, but he is still offered “several configurations and choices between a few different options. If there’s a piece of sheet left over from another job, I can choose that sheet and basically all the operator has to do is grab that sheet and load it up.”

Rodney Hunt builds stainless steel gates ranging from 12 in. by 12 in. to 12 ft. by 12 ft. Each gate is custom engineered according to specification. Lantek’s Expert software allows engineers and operators to cut parts quickly and efficiently, which was not possible with the manufacturer’s older software suite. 


Standout selection

Lantek sells software directly to machinery users as well as through partnerships with machinery builders such as Waterjet USA, Geneva, Illinois. Waterjet USA will provide Lantek software with its cutting systems, because such support is of critical importance to operators. 

“We chose Lantek because we feel they’ve got a stable and structured support center in the U.S. and it’s a familiar brand—people in the fabricating sector already know it well,” says Roberto Impellittiere, sales director for Waterjet USA. “Machine tool operators don’t want or have the time to move through complicated software platforms. They need something efficient, user friendly and reliable.”

Lantek software “enables the operator to easily create drawings and import existing parts with just a few clicks without opening multiple software platforms,” Impellittiere says. “[The software manages the] advanced features of our complete range of waterjet cutting systems,” he continues, noting that Lantek was able to seamlessly address the company’s technical requirements by fully integrating waterjet technology with their software, while efficiently managing any technical requirements, from the simplest three-axis cutting jobs to the most advanced and complex four- or five-axis cutting jobs with intelligent taper compensation.

The latest nesting algorithms improve the material usage and the speed with which nests are generated, says Bob Berkshire, Lantek Systems’ channel manager. “Nesting for multiple cutting heads and multiple nesting algorithms for maximizing material utilization” are lacking in competitors’ options, he claims. 


The software suite provides a single programming solution for companies that need it for profile cutting, punching, tube cutting and five-axis machines. “These CAM solutions can be integrated with our Integra business system or our Lantek Manager manufacturing execution system,” Berkshire says. 

In addition, customers are issued DVDs once a year to maintain active software maintenance with service packs that can be downloaded from the company’s website as they become available. 

As for Rodney Hunt, the success it’s had using Lantek will help it meet rising demand for efficiently nested part production. “It’s a $150 million market in the U.S. for fabricated product,” Alvarez says. “A lot of the gates we sell go to new water treatment facilities in cities like Boston, New York or as far as Dubai—like an order we’re sending out later this month.”

Since installing the waterjet with Lantek Expert software, the flow from job to job has never been better, he says. “We have three machine cutting capabilities, [with] a specific machine for each manufacturing cell, which allows us to have continuous flow throughout the facility, eliminating bottlenecks. Each cell becomes its own value stream.” FFJ


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