“With the waterjet inhouse, we cut sheet metal and all types of other material—wood, acrylic, stone—and we recently cut some bronze,” says Esenwein. “We can cut what we couldn’t with a plasma or laser cutting machine. Speaking to the diversity of work in this shop, we are working on Type 5052 aluminum sheet right now, with Type 1077 structural steel right beside it...switching from sheet metal to structural-steel fabrication. We can cut anything we have in here with the waterjet machine, to 12 in. thick.”
On top of that, to maximize material usage, Diversified Metal Fabrication takes advantage of the machine’s ability to space only 1⁄8 to 3⁄16 in. between cut parts, according to Esenwein, who notes that water usage is minimal as well, totaling only about 8 to 10 gal./min based on the application.
Company officials cite several projects that have benefitted from inclusion of waterjet cutting technology. A complex current project involves replacement of trash rakes for a water-district customer.
“Part of the complexity is custom-building new rake heads,” explains Chimerofsky. “This involves stainless steel and bronze pieces of various sizes and thicknesses. We cut all of those on the waterjet machine and then assemble.”
Adds Esenwein: “The customer sent us drawings and we detailed them out, with the customer requiring very tight tolerances. The waterjet machine really comes into play here because it cuts all of those parts to the tolerances needed, which couldn’t be done on a plasma cutting machine.”
The benefits of waterjet cutting for Diversified Metal Fabrication extend to assembly as well, due to eased fit-up of cut parts.
“The waterjet machine is very precise, which helps us in fabrication and speeds assembly,” Esenwein says. “And, we don’t have to mess with a grinder for the finish. The parts don’t have a burr coming off of the waterjet, so they can move directly to build.”
Knowledge Gained Each Day
Upon installation, to reap the full benefits of this technology, a group from Diversified Metal Fabrication traveled to Flow for training in cutting machine operation and programming and has been gaining knowledge ever since.
“While not intense, there is a learning curve for this technology,” says Esenwein. “Even now we’re learning things on that machine every day. If a customer just sends a photograph of a part, we can cut it on the waterjet. All of the drawing, programming, nesting—it’s all done right here in our one-stop shop. And, if we can’t, Flow provides us with excellent support. We’ll pass it along and Flow will set it up and run it and figure out the problems. Flow runs machines all day and has experience working with different materials, different abrasives and different pressures.”
With its expertise in waterjet cutting increasing day by day, the company has no problem keeping the machine occupied and operating to the company’s stated standards.
“We have a core philosophy at Diversified Metal Fabrication,” concludes Chimerofsky, “where we believe in finding the best tools out there and using them in our shop to achieve the best quality.” MF
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms
See also: Flow International Corp.