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Waterjet cutting aerospace part
Waterjet cutting is effective for high-precision cutting of demanding materials, for example aerospace components.

New Cutting Combo as Hypertherm Buys OMAX

Merger creates a wider portfolio of waterjet product lines

Two big names in the manufacturing technology sector plan to combine: OMAX Corp., developers of abrasive waterjet systems, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Hypertherm Inc. under the terms of a definitive merger agreement that, they claim, will establish will be "the industry’s leading waterjet technology offering."

The specific terms of the transaction were not announced. The deal is expected to close on April 9.

According to their joint announcement, Hypertherm plans no significant changes to OMAX’s operations, management structure, or distribution channels. The offices and manufacturing operations in Kent, Wash., will remain in place, with no consolidations or reductions planned.

“Hypertherm is excited to welcome OMAX to our family and to bring together the leading waterjet R&D and engineering team in the world with our hardworking and talented waterjet team in Minnesota,” stated Hypertherm president and CEO Evan Smith.

Waterjet cutting applies water or a mixture of water and abrasive from a high-pressure jet system to cut materials with very high precision. It’s also applied for cutting without high heat. In addition to cutting metals, waterjet systems are used to cut stone, glass, plastics, ceramics, and various other materials. It also may be used to cut softer materials, including wood and rubber.

Hypertherm is known for developing and supplying laser, oxyfuel, and plasma cutting systems, as well as programming and control software. It also offers waterjet cutting systems and intensifier-based pumps and abrasive recycling systems for waterjet cutting: Adding OMAX to the portfolio brings a new range of direct-drive waterjet pumps, software, and applications.

Hypertherm plans to continue offering both Hypertherm and OMAX waterjet product lines, noting that the respective technologies and business models "balance each other."

“When the late Dr. (John) Olsen and I founded OMAX 25 years ago, our goal was to combine new motion-control technology with software to create an abrasive waterjet system unlike anything else on the market. We more than succeeded,” stated co-founder and CEO John Cheung. “In planning for this future, we wanted to partner with a company that shared our values and vision. We wanted a company that would protect our culture, provide stability for our employees, and give our customers products and services consistent with our mission statement.”

In 2009, OMAX rejected a proposed merger with another waterjet-cutting specialist, Flow International.

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