CAMX 2020 exhibit preview: OMAX Corp.
Appears in Print as: 'Abrasive waterjet cutters'
OMAX Corp. is showcasing the benefits of its abrasive waterjets for composites cutting.
Source | OMAX Corp.
OMAX Corp. (Kent, Wash, U.S.) is showcasing the benefits of its abrasive waterjets for composites cutting. According to the company, an abrasive waterjet never dulls, enabling unlimited machining without time-consuming change outs of cutting heads or subsequent blemishes on the final product. Since waterjet is a cold-cutting process, OMAX says, there is no material distortion that can warp or melt some materials. In addition, since the waterjet is not generating heat, hazardous fumes often generated by conventional machining are nonexistent. According to the company, OMAX waterjets can cut through nearly any material, including glass-reinforced plastics, carbon fiber and G10 composite.
OMAX Corp.’s IntelliMAX software is designed for simple use: the operator enters the material type and thickness, then the software calculates and controls the cutting. Compared to machines running g-code, waterjets require very little time to program, OMAX says, and first-time users of its waterjets are often cutting parts within the first day. In addition, machinability is already factored into the software for more than sixty materials, and custom machineabilities can be added in for new products.
OMAX adds that some of its customers use their waterjet to prepare destructive testing coupons for ASTM-related composite testing. The company says that cutting composite coupons to evaluate against ASTM D3039/D3039M, ASTM D7264-15 or ASTM D7913/D7913M standards is just as fast and easy as it is with any metal. Additionally, when using a waterjet to cut composites, there’s no chance of deformation due to heat and no need for costly retooling between types of composites or from material to material. The waterjet can also be used to support the resin production business as well as test method development validation that includes testing jigs, OMAX says.
Recycling of carbon fiber, glass fiber and — at last — resins, is growing as new players enter the space.
Designers envision aircraft components that do more than bear structural loads, but must first confront great complexities to actualize greater functional efficiency.
Hand layup has a long history in aerospace composites fabrication, but it's not well suited for automotive composites manufacturing, where volumes are much higher. But the discrete placement of fiber reinforcements still has value. Research is pointing toward automated hand layup that might help this process bridge the aerospace-to-automotive divide.