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Waterjet Cutting

Escape the heat

By Lynn Stanley

Cold cutting technology helps manufacturers prevent stress fractures and avoid secondary processing

May 2020 - For the last decade, so much buzz about cutting metal has tended to revolve around fiber lasers. But according to MultiCam Inc.’s fabrication product manager, Rashad Galloway, some manufacturers have begun to sing a different tune that sounds oddly reminiscent of Elvis Presley’s hit, “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”

“A lot of companies kind of forgot about the waterjet,” he says of the cold cutting technology. “But we’re asking parts and the machines that make them to push past limits we wouldn’t have dreamed about even five years ago. Whether you are talking about the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest manmade structure in the world, the latest commercial aircraft or steel vehicles that have evolved to aluminum-based frames, you can’t afford to have parts that could experience a stress fracture from heat during the cutting process.”

MultiCam demonstrated its V-Series CNC waterjet technology during a 2019 trade show, cutting carbon and stainless steels, titanium and Inconel. “When people saw the value adds they could realize with the final product, they fell in love with the waterjet all over again,” says Galloway.

FFJ 0520 waterjet image1

The MultiCam V-Series waterjet can cut materials with pure water or abrasives using a KMT Tri-Line pump that creates up to 55,000 psi cutting pressure.

No heat zones

The MultiCam V-Series allows operators to perform pure water or abrasive cuts. Multiple heads make it possible to simultaneously machine parts.

A KMT Tri-Line pump creates up to 55,000 psi cutting pressure. The low-maintenance machine can be equipped with an optional closed water filtration system, abrasive removal system or intensifier available in 30 horsepower to 200 horsepower.

“Fiber lasers are great but, because they do introduce some heat to the material, they are not a good solution for companies that need a cold cutting process,” Galloway states. “Waterjet technology doesn’t molecularly change the nature of metal, which is critical for markets like aerospace.”

MultiCam’s equipment developments and interaction with a diverse group of industries have helped it collect data that provides a more precise analysis about material requirements.

FFJ 0520 waterjet image2

MultiCam’s cold cutting technology can handle all types of material including exotic metals and intricate designs.

“We try to ask customers the right questions such as the type of material they plan to cut, how the part needs to perform and what kind of environment it will be exposed to,” Galloway says. “We know how machines affect material. Manufacturers also need to think about what the cut edge of a part is doing and how it will attach.”

MultiCam also breaks job costs down for customers, including the potential for eliminating secondary operations and scenarios where a company pays a welder for only one day’s work.

“A business owner wants to know what it will cost to produce the parts they need and what their net gain will be,” notes Galloway. “If you stack a waterjet next to a fiber laser, the fiber is cheaper to run. But what you have to do with the part after you cut it is what matters.”

Recouping costs

When heat is introduced, a part has to be cut slightly larger so the oxidized edge can be removed in a secondary milling or grinding operation. The extra step costs time and money.

“We work with a lot of small to medium-sized companies that have a lot riding on capital equipment decisions they hope will produce dividends in terms of business growth,” Galloway says. “At MultiCam we’re about helping customers grow.”

FFJ 0520 waterjet image3

With more than 13,000 machines installed worldwide, MultiCam has more than 50 technology centers that offer demonstrations, training, service and support.

Galloway, who began his career with the CNC cutting solutions supplier as a technician in 2013, says he took a “shine to waterjet machines and wanted to learn everything about them” so that he could leverage his knowledge to help manufacturers solve production problems. But he admits to an altruistic motive as well.

“I’m very passionate about fabrication machines,” he says. “My superhero was my grandfather, Thomas Galloway Sr. He was a construction worker who poured the concrete and built the foundations of some of the roads we now drive across. I’m trying to carry that legacy forward through cutting machines.”

The parts that MutiCam waterjets cut and the service and support the company provides “all go into the creation of products that will be used for decades into the future. When it comes to manufacturing, time may be money but so is quality.” FFJ

Sources

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