The Value of 3D Waterjet Cutting Capabilities to a Machine Shop

The combination of the OMAX A-Jet articulating cutting head and the Rotary Axis continue to open new doors for machine shops. Abrasive waterjet cutting has become increasingly common in many machine and fabrication shops as more and more customers have seen the benefits of cutting with a tool that doesn’t create a heat affected zone, can handle virtually any material, and rarely has a need for a secondary operation. The increased throughput the waterjet provides shops is invaluable.

Recently however some new benefits are being discovered by OMAX waterjet owners. Many have started adding the A-Jet cutting head as well as the Rotary Axis to their table. The A-Jet allows for angled cutting from 0 to 60 degrees creating bevels and angles in flat material. The rotary axis takes the waterjet from just cutting flat plate to also cutting pipes, bars, and tubes. With the addition of the rotary axis the OMAX waterjet is now a 6-axis cutting machine.

Of course these hardware changes provide incredible opportunities for waterjet use in new industries but without a powerful and user-friendly software package to back it up it would still be a difficult transition for most shops. The initial software offerings from most waterjet manufacturers were incredible complicated and required a tremendous amount of the operators time to create even the simplest chamfer or bevel let alone a more complicated shape. Many operators were having to import the 2D file and then do complicated calculations of multiple angles to manually assign each angle to the different line segment on the part before generating a 3D toolpath usable for cutting. This of course severely limited the number of shops with the available man power to dedicate to this process and thus the advancement of 3D waterjet cutting. The OMAX suite of software, now including the Intelli-CAM portion, meets that need completely. Many customers have noted in the past how easy the OMAX software is to get started with and Intelli-CAM is no different. After years of R&D OMAX has come out with a sophisticated cutting model that does all of the complicated calculations automatically. Now any operator can import a solid 3D file, let the software run the calculations to generate the correct cutting angles, and be ready to start cutting. The operator no longer has to figure out the angles based on various material types and thicknesses – it’s all done for them by the Intelli-MAX software.

The new 5-axis waterjet capabilities are often used by shops looking to bevel multiple sides of a plate at once, create weld preps or countersinks however new uses are being discovered daily by OMAX customers. With the addition of the rotary axis OMAX customers have the unique advantage of being able to cut shapes that are “wrapped” around a cylinder. This is a feature unique to the OMAX product line and has allowed OMAX customers to pursue work in industries others could never go after. As the requirements for accuracy and faster turn-around times continue to get tighter shops are looking more and more at utilizing the technological advances offered by OMAX to help them stay ahead of the curve.