How surprised would you be if you won a waterjet? Well, that’s what happened to John Mullet, owner of Laureate Machine & Automation of Ohio, the winner from the “industry pro” side of our IMTS waterjet build-off competition. John and the installation of his prize, a WARDJet E-1530 waterjet, account for the final chapter in our IMTS Build It! Challenge story.
After joining to us to compete in our waterjet build-off event at IMTS 2016, John returned to his modest-sized contract machine shop with little expectation of actually winning our waterjet. Who actually wins these things, right? So naturally, we caught John by surprise when he got a call from WARDJet president, Richard Ward, telling him he was now the owner of new WARDJet waterjet.
“We've already experienced a cost savings by cutting some of the parts we were previously contracting outside”
Sizing Things Up So what do you do when you win a waterjet? In John’s case, he asked us for a bigger one. As he saw it, the prize, an E-1515 machine (1.5 meter by 1.5 meter) with a 5’x5’ cutting area, might not serve his needs as well as our 1530 E-Series model with a 5’x10’ cutting area. Knowing how standard sheet sizes run, this was not an odd request and we simply offered John a trade-up option. Crediting Laureate the value of the E-1515 allowed the company to purchase the E-1530 for the difference in price.
Laureate Discovers the WARDJet Difference Laureate, established in 2000, focuses on designing and building automated finishing systems in addition to handling other types of contract work. His shop was already equipped to do CNC machining, wire EDM, welding/fabrication, but John had also previously considered a waterjet purchase knowing the versatility of waterjet technology would complement his capabilities.
The machine was delivered in late November (‘16), and it quickly became clear that John grasped the value of both his machine and working with WARDJet. “After the guys came out [WARDJet Installers] and did the ball bar calibration; it’s cutting within a few thousandths of circularity on a 24" diameter circle. Pretty amazing for this large of a machine,” John reported to us.
“I have to admit that this WARDJet really excels in its rigidity and quality of cut compared to the cantilever design of our sub-contractor’s waterjet machine”
Cut Right To It Who wouldn’t like to see a quick return on their investment? After a smooth installation, basic training session and calibration process that only took about three days, the guys at Laureate were ready to put the machine to work. In fact, the Laureate crew started cutting parts immediately and the shop made money on the first day of official operation. “We've already experienced a cost savings by cutting [in-house] some of the parts we were previously contracting outside,” John said. He went on to explain that the company had been outsourcing waterjet cutting of some large tool and jig blanks that he could now bring in-house and cut on his new WARDJet waterjet. Furthermore, John clearly saw some notable differences when using the WARDJet machine. “I am really impressed with the rigidity of this machine and the quality of cut compared to what we were seeing on parts cut on the cantilevered design machine our sub-contractor was using.”
The In-house Perks We couldn’t be happier for John and his team. We also got a kick out of the fact that one of the employees had tested out the machine on a “government job,” (personal side project) which involved the cutting of a custom aluminum guitar pedal board for his son—a very cool project. As we continue to support John, we’ll report back on how things work out for Laureate. Either way, we know that bringing services in-house can help your bottom line while providing more control over quality and lead times. We hope to hear that John has realized these benefits and more, all tied back to his new WARDJet waterjet.
Here's a short video from our visit with Laureate: