Page 22 - MetalForming May 2016
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 Clean and Precise
 Wolfe Industrial’s new waterjet-cutting machine, the company’s second, features a 6.5 by 13-ft. work- table and 60,000-psi pump. It’s a workhorse for the company, cutting primarily sanitary stainless-steel sheet and plate for conveyors and other handling equipment used in food-processing plants.
Abrasive-waterjet cutting leaves a tapered edge, and the faster you cut the greater the V-shaped taper. Traditionally, to compensate fab- ricators either have to slow down or make adjustments in weld-joint design or weld-prep steps, assuming that cut parts are to be welded.
Those concessions simply are unac- ceptable in today’s highly competitive job-shop sheetmetal-fabrication envi- ronment. For awhile customers used to look just for suppliers who will jump through hoops for them, “now cus- tomers want us to jump through hoops of fire,” says Derek Wolfe, operations manager at Wolfe Industrial, a metal fabricator and installer based in
LaVergne (Nashville), TN. “Meeting and exceeding customer expectations gives us little to no room for waste in our processes.”
Waterjet Machines Answer the Call
Wolfe’s perspective played out last year when the company found itself in the midst of rapid expansion, pri- marily due to growth in the food-pro- cessing arena. To meet increased demand for fabricated-sheetmetal products, the company had to find a sheet- and plate-cutting machine that would allow cut parts to move directly (or as quickly as possible) to down- stream operations. Enter a new Flow
Waterjet Meets Sanitary Stainless Standards
Transitioning its customer base from automotive to food manufacturing put this Nashville job-shop fabricator in the market for additional sheet- and plate-cutting capacity. With edge quality and cleanliness top of mind,
a new waterjet machine with taper compensation fit the bill.
Mach 3 machine (Model 4020b, with 6.5 by 13-ft. worktable and 60-ksi pump), brought in late in 2015 to work aside the company’s first waterjet-cutting machine. That’s also a Flow model, which has been a mainstay in the com- pany’s 54,000-sq.-ft. shop since 2005.
“While we used to focus primarily on the automotive industry,” shares Wolfe, “80 percent of our work now goes to the food-manufacturing mar- ket. The majority of that requires fab- rication of stainless steel—conveying equipment, chutes, hoppers and the like. In the last year we’ve grown by nearly 40 percent, and so did our need to cut sanitary stainless-steel sheet- metal and plate. Plasma cutting (the
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