Technical Tip: Importance of Operator Training

Quality operator training can help to improve the profitability of your waterjet cutting system.


A Tool is Only as Good as its User

In the world of capital equipment, manufacturers are constantly innovating. There is a perpetual push to develop machines that are more efficient, more capable, and more productive. As advanced as these machines become, however, their performance will ultimately be determined by one independent variable: the operator. The most revolutionary machine in the world can be rendered useless if manned by an operator unequipped to use it. This is why proper operator training is one of the most important aspects of commissioning a new machine. An educated operator can mean the difference between simply breaking even or netting large profits. They can and will have an effect on the efficiency, throughput, and longevity of your capital equipment investment, which is why we strongly recommend thorough training for all waterjet operators.

Getting the Most out of Your Waterjet

Waterjet systems are capable of cutting virtually any material that is placed underneath the cutting head. Still, waterjets are not designed to be fully autonomous – they need human input to function. While WARDJet designs its systems to make the cutting process as intuitive as possible, it is the operator rather than the machine that will determine the overall efficiency of the waterjet. A well-trained operator will be able to optimize the cutting process through the implementation of an effective workflow.

Operator knowledge of common cutting methods/techniques are also useful when trying to squeeze the most profit out of your waterjet cutting system. Nesting and common line cutting are easy ways to reduce material waste and maximize total output of your machine. 

The software that a waterjet operator is trained on can also contribute to their overall success. WARDJet's proprietary motion control software Move™ is loaded with features that are designed to improve waterjet performance, stability, and ease of use. Ensure that your operators are always up-to-date on the latest control software.

Preventing Damage and Reducing Maintenance Costs

Waterjet operators must be well-versed in routine maintenance procedures. Failure to complete these procedures within the suggested timeline can result in damage to critical machine components, resulting in costly repairs and machine downtime. Be sure that your waterjet operator also knows the signs of a failing part. Catching potential problems before they happen will always be cheaper than replacing a broken component. A well-prepared and trained operator will be able to get the most uptime out of your machine. 

Along with routine maintenance procedures, the operator must know how to avoid common operating errors that may cause damage to the machine. A few examples of errors that can be avoided include:

•  Pieces tipping up while cutting, causing damage to nozzles.

•  Lack of Z-Carriage clearance while jogging, causing cutting head crashes.

•  Neglecting to check the water quality, causing damage to pump components.

Without the proper training on how to avoid these incidents, the odds of a mistake happening are much higher.

Ensuring Workplace Safety

Safety when operating capital equipment is of the upmost importance. No one should be permitted to operate a waterjet without first participating in a waterjet safety course. In general, waterjets are very safe machines. It is often due to negligence or poor training that accidents happen. To protect the safety of the operator and all those in the vicinity of the machine, ensure that proper safety procedures are in place. Lockout/tagout the machine according to company protocol and create a safety checklist that must be completed before each operation of the machine. Ensure that the operator knows not to take shortcuts; no amount of time saved is worth the risk of injury.

Operator training is paramount in keeping your machine profitable, your employees safe, and your overhead low. Encourage your waterjet operators to stay up to date with educational waterjet courses and training, such as the free IGEMS seminar provided by WARDJet on October 19th.  WARDJet offers free waterjet training for the life of the machine, provided that the training takes place at our manufacturing facility in Tallmadge, Ohio. Contact us for more information. Supply your machine operators with the education and knowledge that they need to be successful, as their success equates to the success of your business.

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