Page 24 - MetalForming May 2016
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Waterjet Meets Sanitary Stainless Standards
   Wolfe’s expertise in stainless-steel fabrication includes gas-tungsten-arc welding. Here a welder works on waterjet-cut Type 304 stainless-steel ductwork (14-gauge sheet) and fittings (3⁄8-in. plate).
firm operates an 8 by 10-ft. plasma table) might have sufficed for cutting mild-steel work for automotive cus- tomers, but not for clean-cutting stain- less steel.”
In addition to fabricating and installing processing equipment, Wolfe also fabricates a range of air-handling equipment, including ductwork and piping. It operates a glass-bead-blast facility as well as an oversized paint booth.
An End to Edge Taper
Wolfe’s new waterjet machine not only produces clean edges, it features Flow’s Dynamic Waterjet technology that does away with edge-taper con- cerns. The technology is based on mathematical modeling to predict taper angle, then compensating by adding the required wrist articulation. This action is managed by Flow’s Flow-
Master Windows-based control sys- tem, based on user-input process parameters such as material type and thickness, cutting speed and desired angle quality. The cutting process, with edge-taper compensation, then occurs without intervention by a Wolfe pro- grammer or operator. It pushes the taper to the scrap side of the work- piece to ensure a precise part-edge profile—four to six times more precise than a conventional waterjet, say Flow officials, with a much higher cutting speed.
“That’s critical to ensuring that we continue to meet lead-time require- ments,” says Wolfe, “which of course have been tightening.”
Also helping to optimize throughput is the recent adoption of common-line cutting, as explained by shop foreman Ritchie Alexander. “That lets us mini- mize cutting time, while also improving
While nearly all of the projects undertak- en at Wolfe Industrial are custom, here’s a repeat job it performs for a metal-pow- der atomizer. The three-piece assembly includes a copper-alloy furnace-nozzle insert fabricated from waterjet-cut 11-gauge sheet.
sheet utilization. And, with the increase in throughput, we’ve added other pieces of equipment downstream of the waterjet machines—a new CNC press brake, new four-roll plate bender and several new welding stations.”
Clean Cuts Eschew the Need for Sanding
Wolfe employs 25 in the shop and another 80 or so in the field working on installation and maintenance projects at several sites at any one time. It num- bers 120 active customers and process- es material from 26 gauge to 1.25 in. thick. As much as 80 percent of the material it cuts moves on to be formed and/or welded, and waterjet-cut work in particular rarely if ever requires any additional cleanup.
“Before we added the second water- jet machine,” shares Alexander, “we often were forced, due to capacity con- straints, to cut some of the stainless
 Which Abrasive is Right for the Job?
Wolfe feeds its waterjet-cutting machines a general-purpose alluvial-garnet abrasive (Barton 80 HPA, at about 1 lb./min.), which “provides good edge quality and solid cut- ting performance,” says Barton literature. Also available to fabricators are more aggres- sive garnets for higher-speed applications and a more fine garnet that optimizes preci- sion and generates the smallest possible kerf.
How do you know which garnet abrasive best-fits the jobs at hand? Well, seemingly like every other sheetmetal-job-shop process, there’s an app for that. Check out the Barton Abrasive Value Calculator, available for iPhone and iPad, which generates a cost comparison of available garnets based on a bevy of parameters. These include cost, cutting speed and hourly shop rate.
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