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August 14th, 2009 Comments off

We started OMAX 16 years ago because I was convinced that virtually every machine shop in the world could benefit from abrasive waterjet cutting technology.  I still feel that way.  Back in the early 90’s my colleague John Cheung and I were able to gather a small group of enthusiasts who shared our belief and we built the first abrasive waterjet cutting system designed specifically for use in a machine shop—The OMAX Model 2448.  It is still in daily use at MIT.  It featured a unique PC-based control system with an embedded mathematical waterjet cutting model and an exceptionally easy-to-use interface that made it possible for a waterjet neophyte to make a good part on the very first try.  It featured an efficient direct-drive pump for easy maintenance.  It featured a precision X-Y cutting table designed specifically for use with an abrasive waterjet cutting nozzle.  It amazed a lot of skeptical people.  Now over 2000 OMAX systems are used in machine shops worldwide and the OMAX brand is synonymous with high-end precision abrasive waterjet machining.

Precision abrasive waterjet cutting is now recognized as a viable and versatile machine shop process on every continent of the Earth.  But I’m really not satisfied.  I still haven’t accomplished what I set out to do.  Even though OMAX systems have demonstrated the ability to quickly and economically produce precision parts from virtually any material, the abrasive waterjet is still not a universally-adopted technology.  There are tens of thousands of machine shops in the world, and abrasive waterjets are found in only a small percentage of them.  My dream of an abrasive waterjet in every machine shop is still not even close to reality.  And that is why we have introduced the MAXIEM line of abrasive waterjet cutting systems.

Over the years the OMAX system has evolved based on the needs of precision machine shops who desired ever higher levels of accuracy and precision.  They asked for and received closer tolerances.  They asked for and received automatic taper control.  They asked for and received special features such as programmable Z-axis control and a controllable rotary axis.  The end result is an OMAX line of products that provide the most precise abrasive waterjet machining systems on the market.  However, such precision has a price.  Moreover, we at OMAX realize that many potential users do not really need all of the features and precision that an OMAX has to offer.  If we are to meet my goal of an abrasive waterjet in every shop, we need to offer a more basic line of products that meets the needs of the basic shop.  And that is why we have created MAXIEM.  We have taken all of the things that we have learned in developing the OMAX products in the last two decades and used them to create a machine that provides just the basics, but provides them very very well.  We have taken the key elements of our user-friendly programming system, our reliable direct-drive pumps, and our unique X-Y table designs and axis drives.  We have then started from a blank piece of paper to create a family of solid, reliable, easy-to-use and low-cost abrasive waterjet cutting systems that we have named MAXIEM.  The OMAX family of systems will continue to be upgraded and improved to maintain OMAX as the machine of choice for precision applications, but the MAXIEM will now provide a low-cost alternative for the fabricating and machine shops that need a solid, basic abrasive waterjet cutting system with the quality and reliability of an OMAX.  Take a look at and see what I am talking about.

Best regards,

Dr. John Olsen

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