Omax Corporation Celebrates 20 Years Developing Waterjet Technology
Omax Corporation, maker of high-precision Omax JetMachining Centers and affordable Maxiem JetCutting Centers, celebrated 20 years of abrasive waterjet technology development with a special event at its campus in Kent, Washington. The event featured the new products in waterjet machining as well as technical sessions, live cutting demonstrations and tours of the company’s recently expanded manufacturing factory.
Guests stream into Omax Corporation’s headquarters in Kent, Washington, in August 2013 for the company’s 20th anniversary celebration. The most recent and largest expansion of the company’s manufacturing campus here was completed last fall, bringing the total space in its three buildings to 130,000 square feet. It builds its Omax and Maxiem product lines at this site.
Omax showcased its new MicroMax Jet Machining Center during its anniversary event. Designed for prototype development and production runs, this machine features a table size of 2 feet 4 inches by 2 feet 4 inches and an X-Y cutting travel of 2 feet by 2 feet. It utilizes linear encoders, vibration isolation and specialized software control systems to achieve a position repeatability of ±2.5 microns (± 0.0001 inch) and a positioning accuracy of approximately ±10 microns (± 0.0004 inch), the company says.
Fabrication, assembly and testing of the Omax and Maxiem product lines takes place in Kent, Washington. Almost all components are manufactured in house or by local contractors, making these machines exceptionally high and U.S. content.
The machining area is equipped with around 20 late-model CNC machine tools from Haas, Mazak, Tsugami, Viper and Mori Seiki. This area produces 1.8 million parts a year, in sizes ranging from 1/8 inch to 172 inches long.
Omax designs, builds and tests its own pumps, a critical part of an AWJ machine. The company considers in-house production a must because it ensures quality for reliability and efficiency.
Rick Marks, an engineer in the company’s nozzle production center, proudly shows two of the nozzle styles manufactured here. He points out that nozzle design and quality are at the heart of an AWJ system’s capability for precise and consistent cutting. In the photo on the right, he holds a new style nozzle designed for super-fine waterjet cutting.
Omax produces many of the parts for its machines on its own waterjet equipment. This is a view of the three waterjet machines in the company’s waterjet production cell. The cell employs six, who work in two shifts. About 220 different parts are produced here.
The company’s demo lab is adjacent to the classroom training center. In the lab, trainees gain hands-on experience learning to operate and maintain Omax and Maxiem models. The lab also enables the company to demonstrate the capability of the AWJ process in demanding, advanced applications. This Omax 2626 JetMachining Center is one of several complete AWJ systems in the lab.
Sample AWJ workpieces on display in the demo lab give but a glimpse of the range of materials and dimensions achievable with the process. The photo on the left shows and aluminum workpiece that is 12 inches tall. The top face of this part shows how “deep embossing” with AWJ can produce cavities by etching the surface with rapid strokes of the jet stream. The photo on the right shows how a Rotary axis head enables pipe into cutting and six axes.
Festivities at the anniversary event included gatherings and refreshments under tents outside, where a team from Brian Hough Racing displayed its alcohol-fueled Funny Car. Brian Hough Racing uses Omax abrasive waterjet technology in the development and maintenance of its eye-catching (and race-winning) racecars.