When the governments of the world undervalue manufacturing’s impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the result can be detrimental to the economy. The results can include taxes and laws being put in place by governments without understanding the true impact on manufacturing. A recent study by Manufacturing Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) suggests the US has been significantly undervaluing manufacturing’s contribution to GDP. If you are reading this post outside the US then I hope the topic at least has some relevance to you in your own country.
The Colorado River versus Waterjet
Waterjet gives the best edge. The surface is unaltered, exhibiting no heat or stress damage. This outstanding edge quality it is created by supersonic erosion.
Erosion is an extremely gentle form of material removal, however it achieves amazing results.
For example: the Colorado river can erode the one mile deep Grand Canyon in 35 million years, and the abrasive waterjet can erode over one foot thick of granite at 0.2 inch per minute (5mm/min).
Great machinists know the need for proper fixturing. And they also know the fixturing has to be true to the machine tool motion. I don’t pretend to be a great machinist, but I know quite a few, including Curtis Waffle pictured below in an old photograph. Curtis is a master machinist with 35 years at Flow. The large bed of a typical waterjet machine is an XY plane, and that plane must match that of the machine. If the worktable is not flat to the machine motion it creates ongoing headaches and part accuracy and quality issues for the operator.
What makes a technology take hold? Technologies come and go; even some that seemed so permanent at the time, such as kerosene lamps, typerwriters and record albums. One of the reasons waterjet has remained one of the fastest growing major machine tool processes in the world for the past 20 years is due to adaptability. The waterjet process was invented in the 50’s by Dr. Norman Franz, but it didn’t begin commercial use until the 70’s with the explosion of disposable diapers (which in this case is a good thing).
Then ultrahigh-pressure water was adapted to hard material cutting (metal, stone, composites, ceramics) with the invention of the abrasive waterjet in the late 70’s, really beginning industrial use in the mid 80’s. This important technology was invented by a team of engineers and research scientists led by Dr. Mohamed Hashish. Here is a brief excerpt of the abrasive waterjet master’s tale.
My first day on the job I met Duncan Murdock. It was 1989, and I sat in on a paper slitting meeting. I sat and listened and learned. Duncan was a senior tech (not a regional manager as he is today), and was clearly on top of the technology and the application. Although he was young, he explained to the engineers and designers exactly how to design the slitter’s cross beam, the redundant cutting heads (to ensure 24/7 operation) the catcher tank. He understood how the paper would flow at extremely high speed, across the top of the catcher, and how the catcher top would create the right airflow to keep the paper down and flat without billowing.
In Part 1 Jessica covered marketing your waterjet on the internet. In this second part of a two post series I will cover some basic suggestions we’ve picked up over the years from successful job shops, concentrating on maximizing the power of your quote.
Of all the collateral you have as a job shop, it could be argued that the most important is your quote. Nothing else you create will be scrutinized as thoroughly and compared side-by-side to your competitors as often as your quote. Is your quotation setting you up for a simple price/delivery war with your competitors, or is it separating you from the pack by showing all the value you give beyond that price and delivery?
For this blog post we get into the subject of marketing your waterjet online. I’ve asked our in-house expert and global marketing communications manager Jessica Harding to give us some quick tips. Take it away, Jessica.
You might be good at making stuff with your waterjet, but not as confident at marketing your waterjet capabilities. To some the internet can be an intimidating space of hashtags, likes, keywords and Googles. Yet, when you really dig in and move past the natural mystique of what goes on in the secret algorithms within, you’ll find that if you consistently follow some simple best practices your business’s awareness will rise. Yes, it’s true, we could go on and on about how to refine your internet presence, but for today, we are going to merely touch on some powerful basics. For this post I am going to assume you already have a website up and running. If you don’t, I suggest you start there. There are numerous services available to help you build a site from scratch. No code experience necessary.