Waterjet Creates Surge in Business

Two Flow ultrahigh-pressure waterjet systems
Two Flow ultrahigh-pressure waterjet systems, one of which a dual-head model, allow Dix Metals to deliver blanks according to exact customer specifications, and reduce time, labor and cost.

Despite tough economic times, Dix Metals has realized a surge in business. It came when the supplier of raw materials – primarily aluminum – invested in ultrahigh-pressure waterjet technology to speed the squaring of metal blanks, and to improve on accuracy.

The shop’s two ultrahigh-pressure waterjets allow it to maximize material usage through tight nesting, which lowers the per-part production cost and saves valuable natural resources in the process. Customers, in turn, reap the cost-saving benefits by hiring Dix Metals to prepare precision machine-ready blanks for manufacturing parts quickly with little preparation time required.

Dix Metals has two ultrahigh-pressure waterjets from Flow International Corp., one 6 ft by 12-ft system delivers 60,000 psi and the other dual-head system, with Dynamic Waterjet technology, 87,000 psi. The shop mostly cuts aluminum and stainless steel plate up to 3-in. thick, and using the waterjets allows it to deliver blanks according to exact customer specifications and reduce time, labor and cost.

“We once had to cut 6-in.-thick aluminum plate with a high degree of accuracy. Flow’s Dynamic Waterjet gave us the accuracy we needed, whereas we could not achieve the necessary tolerances on conventional waterjet systems,” Bob Dix, president and CEO of Dix Metals, said. “And, another application is cutting stacked material, in which the Flow dual-cutting-head machine offers real value to the customer.”

Flow’s waterjet technology cuts machine-ready blanks without tapering, eliminates heat-affected zones, and enables true part-stacking capability with consistent tolerance layer to layer. And, it opens new opportunities for Dix Metals.

The demand for highly accurate cost-efficient machine-ready blanks is growing. While Dix Metals caters to machine shops and OEMs, its client list has expanded to include automotive and automotive aftermarket work, home builders and architects, aerospace, military, NASCAR race car builders, medical device makers, and more.

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