Reuel installs waterjet cutting technology

Reuel manufacture structures and products for the electrical supply industry and will use the waterjets to cut glass fiber.

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Jet Edge Inc. (St. Michael, Minn.) announced on Dec. 15 that Reuel Inc. (Goldsboro, N.C.) has installed Jet Edge’s latest ultrahigh-pressure waterjet cutting system, the Jet Edge Mid Rail Gantry. Reuel is a manufacturer of glass fiber composite insulating components for the electrical power equipment industry. The company specializes in molded switchgear components, apparatus bushings and specialty products for medium voltage electrical distribution equipment. It also manufactures traction-power substations for mass transit authorities and large-scale contractors.

Reuel, which started out manufacturing just epoxy and other polymeric material electrical components, has grown to over 50 employees and now occupies a 110,000-sq-ft/10,219-sq-m state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that features fully equipped machine and fabrication shops that, in addition to the new waterjet, include vertical milling centers, plunge and wire EDM machines, CNC lathes, CNC punches and press brakes, a shear, plasma cutter and a powder-coat paint line.  Reuel also has a molding and casting department that features 11 hydraulic molding presses including a custom press that it built itself, plus a new pneumatic material conveying system. According to Jason Stevens, project engineer, Reuel decided to add waterjet cutting to its extensive machining capabilities because it is the most effective way to cut GP03 fiberglass, one of the primary materials used in the company’s switchgear components for its traction-power substation line.  

“Waterjet is the best way to cut parts from this material because it eliminates an aggravating fine dust that is created by other cutting methods,” Stevens said. “This dust can cause accelerated machine wear, especially in machine ways and optical encoders.” Reuel also plans to cut other materials with its waterjet machine, including steel, stainless steel, polycarbonate and copper, Stevens noted.

Within a week of installing the Jet Edge, Reuel began cutting GP03 insulating components for a traction-power substation it is building for a light rail system in New Orleans, La. Reuel is building two substations for the city’s transit authority to replace units damaged by flooding following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.