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Waterjet-Cutting Contract Manufacturer Enjoys Remarkable Growth

Tuesday, March 01, 2011
 
The Great Recession has been no match for Pegasus Northwest, Kent, WA, a Boeing-certified industrial waterjet-cutting shop that has experienced a 57-percent increase in sales since 2007. Its expansion has kept its five waterjet-cutting machines (all from Jet Edge, St. Michael, MN) humming 20 hr./day during the week and another 12 hr./day on weekends.

Pegasus’ computer-controlled 60,000-psi waterjet-cutting machines carve virtually any material as thick as 14 in. for a variety of industries, including military, marine, automotive, architectural and aerospace. It counts Boeing among its major longtime customers, and credits the aerospace manufacturer for inspiring it to enter the precision waterjet-cutting market in 1997—27 years after its inception.

In recent years, while other businesses went into bunker mode, says general manager Ron Palstring, Pegasus Northwest took the initiative to become the first AS9100-certified company in Washington, and hired a full-time sales and marketing manager to drum up new business. As a result, the company is running at 70-percent capacity and has even installed two additional Jet Edge waterjet-cutting machines to keep up with demand.

“We invested more than $30,000 to become AS9100 certified,” shares Palstring, “and a lot of hard work from our quality manager and entire staff. We now have to pass annual audits and follow strict rules and procedures.”

Pegasus’ commitment to its quality program and its experience meeting stringent aerospace-industry performance requirements have helped it grow into one of the largest waterjet shops in the region.

“We can hold tight tolerances, ±0.005 in. in most cases,” Palstring says, “and sometimes even tighter depending on the material. We can cut thick materials and only leave 0.060 in. of excess per side. And, we have drills mounted on our cutting machines so that we can pre-drill sensitive materials such as composites.

“We outfitted our cutting machines with diamond waterjet orifices,” Palstring continues, “which last approximately six months and help us to maximize nozzle life and optimize efficiency and accuracy.”

Boeing approved and qualified Pegasus’ waterjet-cutting machines because of their consistent accuracy, says Palstring, noting that the firm collected data for quarterly ball-bar and laser calibrations during a 2-yr. span. Now Pegasus has authorization to ball-bar and laser its own machines per its quality procedures.

Pegasus’s waterjet tables include 12- by 14-ft. and 12- by 8-ft. setups, each with two cutting heads and a drill; a 6- by 10-ft. table with four heads and a drill; an 8- by 10-ft. table with four heads; and a 6- by 10-ft. table with two heads. The waterjets are powered by a 50- and 100-hp pump, and three 150-hp pumps; all five machines are plumbed to each pump to prevent downtime.

Jet Edge: 763-497-8700; www.jetedge.com

 

See also: Jet Edge, Inc.

Related Enterprise Zones: Fabrication

 


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