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Waterjet Cutting

Symbiosis

By Lynn Stanley

Above: MultiCam installed its 14,000th CNC machine—a 3000 series waterjet paired with KMT pump—at Scott and Holly Kimbrell’s company, Kimbrell’s Kustom Machine Shop Inc.

Collaboration gives customers the right cutting solution along with service and support for the life of the equipment

May 2021 - Humans breathe oxygen produced by plants and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants use the carbon dioxide to create oxygen. The link between humans and plants is an example of mutualistic symbiosis—where different species benefit from a relationship with one another.

The science of mutualism could also apply to MultiCam Inc. and KMT Waterjet Systems Inc. Texas-based MultiCam is a CNC cutting machine manufacturer with plasma, fiber laser, digital finishing knife and waterjet systems. KMT, Baxter Springs, Kansas, specializes in the design and manufacture of waterjet cutting pumps and technology. Since opening its doors in 1989, MultiCam has sourced KMT pumps for its CNC waterjets. “Their pump technology can cut anything—soft substrates, food, composites, glass,” says MultiCam Fabrication Product Manager Rashad Galloway. “KMT doesn’t look at a waterjet machine and say, ‘we’re only going to cut metal.’ That latitude gives us a lot of avenues to pursue.”

Both companies recently marked important milestones. MultiCam installed its 14,000th waterjet at Kimbrell’s Kustom Machine Shop in December 2020. KMT is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

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MultiCam’s 6000 series CNC waterjet gives fabricators a heavy-duty cutting option.

History lesson

“It’s interesting to look back,” says Tom Sanders, director of sales and marketing for KMT and a 20-year veteran of the waterjet industry. “The first project was a straight water application for movie theater seating. We’ve made a lot of advancements to our pump technology since then, but the basic principles of a reciprocating pump remain the same. An electric motor powers a hydraulic pump, which drives a reciprocating intensifier that converts water into a high-pressure cutting stream. Or, for abrasive applications, the water acts as a vehicle for the abrasive. Either way, it starts with horsepower.”

Like KMT, MultiCam has built its business by helping customers to have confidence in their capital equipment investments. Its application team includes a waterjet expert, a materials specialist and a master fabricator, each with over two decades of experience. “We do our homework to vet the right cut solution for the customer,” Galloway says. “We’ll take their test parts and cut them on our fiber laser, plasma cutter and waterjet to identify which method most closely meets their needs.”

“Waterjet is a tool in a fabricator’s toolbox,” agrees Sanders. “Our pumps can cut everything from celery to 12-in.-thick titanium. Heat affected zones are eliminated, and the parts don’t require any secondary finishing. It’s a versatile tool. We’re in the business of helping manufacturers and job shops make money. Downtime, inefficiency and poor performance are the enemies. Everything we do is focused on giving the customer improved productivity and uptime. Companies need to look at capital equipment purchases through this lens and ask themselves, ‘Can the OEM deliver support and service over the life of the machine?’ ‘Can they evolve with our business?’ Not every equipment manufacturer can. We have the product depth to do that and so does MultiCam.”

MultiCam’s entry-level, economical V-Series CNC waterjet can cut with pure water or abrasives and is suited to a variety of materials. Its mid-range 3000 series and heavy-duty 6000 series pick up where the V-Series leaves off. MultiCam has more than 60 technology centers around the world with sales and service representatives in more than 100 countries.

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Technician checks intensifier on KMT waterjet pump.

Teamwork

KMT manufactures intensifier pumps that can pressurize water up to 90,000 psi. The company integrates its line of pumps, pure water or abrasive waterjet cutting nozzles, abrasive management systems, and waterjet parts and components. Its fleet of service vans and technicians can reach a customer in two hours anywhere in North America. KMT has more than 80 integrators worldwide. “The waterjet’s flexibility combined with our global OEM network allows us to tackle almost any application,” Sanders says.

The two companies make an effective team when it comes to customer service but they also support one another. “KMT has our back and not just from a service standpoint,” says Galloway. “Even during the pandemic they reached out to let us know about markets that were exploding versus those that were in decline. “

Collaboration also helps ensure customers get the right cutting solution. “There is a difference between cutting and cutting correctly,” says Galloway. “When customers look at a waterjet, we have to evaluate their entire fabrication process and help them consider what they may need down the road.”

MultiCam and KMT have observed spikes in demand as customers work to stay ahead of current trends and maintain a level of readiness that will allow them to adjust quickly to market changes. Others, like Kimbrell, have taken bold steps to invest in technology versus holding on to their checkbook. “I’m amazed at what Scott has achieved,” Galloway says. “When most people weren’t spending capital equipment dollars due to COVID-19 uncertainties, Scott came to us and said, ‘I need a waterjet.’”

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MultiCam’s V-Series CNC waterjet gives customers an economical entry-level machine.

Longevity

The Garland, Texas, job shop performs machining, production and repair work, and milling of custom one-off parts. “With employees to support, Scott knew he needed to keep business coming in the door,” says Galloway. “He wanted a waterjet to boost his efficiency. If you are cutting with a mill, the machine’s clamping limits you in terms of the shapes you can cut. It means a lot of part handling, setups and scrap. They installed our 3000 series CNC waterjet with a KMT pump able to cut at 90,000 psi. Scott also upgraded to a recirculation water feed and abrasive removal system. The waterjet has helped them eliminate some processing steps, get the edge finish they want and nest parts on a sheet to gain a higher part yield.”

MultiCam and KMT have matured in the areas of reliability, serviceability and performance. “The product is important but in the long run it’s the people that support that technology,” adds Sanders, pointing to KMT’s company culture and its personnel as the reasons for the company’s longevity. Galloway agrees that a work culture made up of dedicated employees is crucial. “We push each other hard to improve and we extend that to our customers,” he says. “When a customer buys from us, we don’t just tell they are part of the MultiCam family, we show them.”  FFJ

Sources

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Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Beckwood Press Co. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters Triform

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc.

LASER TECHNOLOGY

Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

AMADA AMERICA, INC.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. Mazak Optonics Corp. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC MC Machinery Systems Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SigmaTEK Systems LLC

BEVELING

Murata Machinery, USA, Inc. Davi Inc. Striker Systems
Steelmax Tools LLC TRUMPF Inc.

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

COIL PROCESSING

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Bradbury Group MTS Sensors Rolleri USA

STEEL

Burghardt + Schmidt Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

PRESS BRAKES

Alliance Steel
Butech Bliss Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC.

TUBE & PIPE

Red Bud Industries UFP Industrial Automec Inc. BLM Group
Tishken

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

MC Machinery Systems Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

Advanced Gauging Technologies SafanDarley

WATERJET

Mayfran International

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

PUNCHING

Barton International

DEBURRING/FINISHING

Cincinnati Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Flow International Corporation
ATI Industrial Automation LVD Strippit

SAWING

Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Lissmac Corp. Scotchman Industries Inc. Behringer Saws Inc.

WELDING

Osborn Trilogy Machinery Inc. DoALL Sawing American Weldquip
SuperMax Tools

METAL FORMING

HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
Timesavers FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Savage Saws T. J. Snow Company

 

MetalForming Inc.

 

 

 

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

 

 

 

Titan Tool Supply Inc.

 

 


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