When people ask if the OMAX and MAXIEM abrasive waterjet systems are suitable for production manufacturers, I just take them out to our own manufacturing facility and show them. We have three OMAX units, operating 2 shifts per day, making parts ranging from simple foam rubber gaskets to complex thick 4340 alloy steel flexure plates for both our OMAX and MAXIEM product lines. We manufacture and ship hundreds of systems each year. However, with 19 different models of cutting tables, 3 different models of pumps and a large array of accessories, each system we produce is special. Thus OMAX is both a production manufacturer and a custom manufacturer at the same time. The OMAX/MAXIEM technology is one of the things that make this possible.
There are numerous cost-saving advantages to using our own OMAX systems to make our product:
- We can make parts quickly, only as we need them, to accommodate machine orders as they come in, thus minimizing expensive parts inventory while still assuring rapid delivery of systems to our customers.
- We can very quickly make changes to the design of any component, either in design details or material specification, in order to improve system performance or reduce cost or both.
- We can keep our inventory in the form of raw material stock, rather than finished parts stored on a shelf.
- We can take advantage of the unique capabilities of abrasive waterjet cutting during the design of our systems to reduce manufacturing costs. The unique flexure plates used on our Intell-Trax linear drive system are a good example. They were designed to be made on an OMAX. To produce these intricately shaped parts using any other process would be difficult and expensive.
All of these factors, together with good engineering design and an efficient and flexible manufacturing line, mean that we are able to produce all of our machines here in Kent, Washington, USA, very cost-effectively. Indeed many people just assume that our MAXIEM line of industry-standard products must be produced offshore in order for them to be so aggressively priced. They are not. They are made in America, using engineering and technology and a skilled, experienced work force to create quality products at the lowest possible cost.
There is another more subtle advantage to using our own technology to make our products. OMAX is the only abrasive waterjet manufacturer that designs, builds and tests the complete product that we ship. We design the cutting table, the linear motion system, the pump, the nozzle, the control system and the control software in-house. We manufacture virtually all of the parts that we design. We assemble and operationally test the complete system as specified by the customer’s purchase order prior to shipment. We do it all so our customers only have one company to call for guidance and support—OMAX. By using our own systems on a production basis, we put ourselves in the same shoes as our customers. The system has to work and it has to work reliably or our shipment schedule and our company suffer accordingly. Thus we are constantly testing and improving our design in a true manufacturing atmosphere, with all of the production pressures seen by any manufacturing company.
Are the OMAX and MAXIEM systems suitable for production manufacturing? We know they are. We don’t just sell them—we use them.
Dr. John Olsen