Specialist fabricator invests in waterjet cutting technology, improving process time and lowering production costs
Birmingham based Brookeson Material Handling Ltd specialise in the manufacture of stainless steel processing equipment for the food and pharmaceutical industries and can boast many household names, including Eli Lily, Pfizer, Proctor and Gamble and GlaxoSmithKline amongst their list of satisfied customers.
Some of the sheet steel components processed by the company used in the manufacture of such items as IBC's, frequently require a nonlinear cutting path and have until now required the use of a laser cutter in order to achieve any shaped cuts, a process that has previously been outsourced by the company.
However, with the acquisition of a TCI Cutting Waterjet system supplied by Prosaw, these components can now be manufactured entirely inhouse.
The waterjet cutting head tool is capable of slicing through stainless steel plates by using a jet of water mixed with an abrasive and then directed at the plate at high pressure and velocity.
In this case, the abrasive used is a granular form of the silicate material garnet, the non-granular form perhaps being more familiar to many as a deep red coloured stone often used in jewellery.
The Waterjet cutting head is manipulated by the use of a three axis CNC and computer generated pathways.
The system can accommodate steel sheets measuring up to 3 metres by 1.5 metres and can operate at speeds of up to 20 metres/minute.
Water is pressurised by means of an integral hydraulically driven reciprocating pump system whilst the garnet is metered at a rate relative to the material being processed and the required finish of the cut edge.
The garnet is directed into the jet stream immediately prior to being discharged from the nozzle outlet.
Metals of thicknesses up to 200mm can be extremely accurately cut in this way.
The system has delivered a number of benefits to the company as Managing Director Ian Brookes explains:
"Our new waterjet cutting system means that we no longer need to rely on laser cutting sub-contractors to process some of our components, which has had the beneficial effect of reducing turnaround times as well as lowering production costs," adding: "The facility has also introduced a greater degree of flexibility into our working practices, something that is particularly important when producing products for the pharmaceutical market."