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Supply Chain Issues? Bring Your Work In-house with Waterjet


Supply chain issues – an unexpected consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic – have crippled businesses across the globe.  

From retail to construction, companies have struggled through price spikes, delayed deliveries, and uncertainty regarding the future of transportation and storage. High demand and short supply have raised costs and created headaches that affect suppliers and consumers alike. And the future is anything but clear, with analysts warning of supply chain precarities remaining in 2022 and beyond.  

But these roadblocks have created a silver lining for some: the increased use of in-house services to circumvent supply chain challenges. Businesses have resorted to taking their work in-house to better serve their customers and the bottom line. Waterjet is a prime example of how bringing a technology in-house can help increase production and reduce costs without using third-party suppliers.  

Control Costs and Timelines, Create More Cost-Efficient Outcomes

The most obvious advantage of bringing your waterjet work in-house is that it cuts out the middleman. You’re able to create your own timelines, avoid supplier markups, and manage overall quality.  

With a waterjet in-house you also can enjoy the advantage of added flexibility. Need to make changes to your part mid-project? No problem. You can adjust and pivot easily when you’re the one in control of the project. Not to mention, you save yourself from additional project and contract negotiations with your supplier should demands for your part change.  

If you’re running the work, you don’t have to worry about the quality of your cut parts. When it’s your team, you control the expectations, the output, and the success. 

Plus, when your work is completed in-house you save money on shipping costs. Save the money you spend shipping parts back and forth between vendors and see it reflected on your bottom line. 

What’s more, with waterjet, you open the door to new possibilities (and revenue streams) due to the versatility of the machine and technology. Let’s take a closer look. 

You Can Count on Expanding Your Capabilities Through Waterjet’s Versatility   

Waterjet is often regarded as one of the most versatile major machine tools, and it’s easy to see why when you start peeling back the layers of what you can cut. Waterjet is cable of cutting soft materials – paper, food, gaskets, and foam for example. And on the very same system (merely change out the cutting head) you can cut hard materials such as stone, composites, metals, glass, Inconel, and even ballistic materials. Often times it’s easier to quantify what waterjet can’t cut, because the list is so small. Stay away from tempered glass, period. 

Waterjet is virtually the only material processing solution that allows for this kind of variety of material options – which also means it opens the door to increasing opportunities for uses of your system. Owning a system that is affectionately referred to as the “swiss-army knife” of the machine tool world is a great way to increase revenue. When you’re no longer restricted by what materials you can process, you can easily optimize additional manufacturing operations, or break out into new markets. Waterjets produce parts for a number of different industries, including aerospace, automotive, energy, transportation, and more.  

Waterjet is a cold-cutting process, which may not seem like a big deal in passing, but the truth is, this is one of the major reasons waterjets are such a flexible solution. When no heat or stress are imparted into the cut material, you can cut a wider variety of materials, with virtually no secondary processing needed and participate in industries that require parts processed with no heat-affected zone (HAZ). 

Additionally, waterjets cut with a small kerf – the diameter of the cutting stream is roughly 0.030” to 0.040” (0.762 mm 1.016 mm). When bringing work in-house, material utilization is key. If you’re cutting expensive materials (or realistically, even if you’re not, as any material you cut represents a business expense), you can make sure you get the most out of each sheet or slab with the tight nesting capability of waterjet. With waterjet you can make your raw material go further, saving in cost and improving profit.  

What About High Precision, Complex Parts? 

If you’re not already aware, waterjets can be used to repeatably hold high tolerances, and cut complex, 3D parts. Flow’s Dynamic XD multi-axis cutting head allows you to create beveled and 3D parts. This can also allow your shop to branch off into different industries, giving you the ability to create both artistic and functional pieces.  

Need to complete a high production run? No problem. While waterjets are great for cutting a wide variety of parts and are great for prototyping, they’re also a solid solution for large scale production needs. You can stack materials, run dual cutting heads, and use ultrahigh-pressure technology to pump up your production.   

Adding Technology Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Adding People 

At this point, you may be considering bringing your waterjet work in-house, but have concerns about training an operator and having someone on staff to provide maintenance of the machine.  

Here’s the thing, waterjets are not difficult to program or operate. With the right software suite, you can be proficient in a day, and well-versed in a week. It’s not as complicated as CNC systems, or code-based solutions. With a few training sessions, you’ll be in production – fast. 

And lastly, with the right waterjet, maintenance is straightforward and simple. If you have a service contract with a partner like Flow, your technical waterjet needs will be taken care of by highly skilled, local service engineers. 

Take Production Matters into Your Own Hands  

At the end of the day, bringing your waterjet application in-house will save you time and money. You’ll be reaping major benefits – and so will your customers: Bringing your waterjet work in-house means you don’t have to push supplier markups onto the end consumer.  

Interested in getting your own waterjet machine? Learn more about our offerings here.