MACH: Shaken, stirred and cut

Posted on 10 Jun 2010 by The Manufacturer

If the 1964 Bond film ‘Goldfinger’ had been produced today, our fortunate protagonist would most likely have barely uttered the words, “Do you expect me to talk?” before he would have been cut seven ways from Sunday.

In addition, not only might he have been sliced and diced by a laser, but possibly also a plasma cutter or even a high pressure water jet capable of cutting 100mm thick steel.

If the young Connery had come to an unfortunate and untimely end, Fort Knox would have then been obliterated by a nuclear weapon and the global economic balance would have been sent into a tailspin with China emerging the financial victor. In the absence of a megalomaniac super-villain plot, the current reality is an interesting self-fulfilling prophecy.

Had Goldfinger succeeded, the solution to the resultant issues would have likely been the same as is currently being undertaken – ie. the strengthening of the manufacturing assisted ‘real economy’ as a core element of the route to recovery. Investment and innovation is considered to be the key to developing and nurturing our manufacturing sector and the new options available through the most advanced machine tools is a good place to start.

One of the newest developments in manufacturing technologies are on display at the MACH 2010 expo this week as referenced earlier is the OMAX water jet technology. Aquajet in the UK offer a complete range of OMAX CNC precision waterjet/abrasivejet machines which is widely popular in industries such as the automobile, aerospace, and glass to create precision parts from virtually any material.

An abrasivejet pressurizes water up to 55,000psi and then forces it through a small sapphire or diamond orifice. Garnet abrasive is then pulled into this high-speed stream of water and a stream of abrasive-laden water moving at 1000 feet per second exits the tube. This jet of water and abrasive is then directed at the material to be machined. The machines are capable of cutting metal up to 100mm in thickness and is a cool process rather than hot which allows for the use of a wider range of potential materials that laser machines cannot handle.

Of course if Ian Fleming had taken a trip to MACH he might have discounted the use of an abrasivejet by Goldfinger as Bond may have drowned before being threatened by the cutter thus ruining the scene. Of course if your intentions are to cut hard materials rather than flesh, the many various high-tech options available for tooling including plasma, thermal and laser are all worthy candidates. Of course water jet is also an option definitely worth considering.