Elasto Proxy uses abrasive water jet cutting for bulb trim and edge trim that is reinforced with metal wire. Our equipment makes smooth, clean 45° cuts and creates tight 90° corners without putting excessive pressure on the profile. In fact, we can cut any type of angle you need us to achieve. Here at our manufacturing facility near Montreal, Canada, Elasto Proxy can use abrasive water jet cutting with harder materials such as aluminum composite material (ACM), ballistic Kevlar, fiberglass, Inconel, tool steels, and titanium. This form of water jet technology is also a good choice for thick, soft materials that are difficult to cut by other methods.
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How Abrasive Water Jet Cutting Works
Abrasive water jet cutting mixes water with garnet abrasive in a high-pressure, high-velocity stream. To optimize this technology, Elasto Proxy uses an ABB IRB-4400 robot that is fast, compact, and versatile. Abrasive water jet cutting doesn’t require a robot, but the ABB IRB-4400 provides more manufacturing freedom than is available in an X-Y gantry system. Plus, since our machine’s worktable spans 60” x 44” (152.4 cm x 111.76 cm), Elasto Proxy can also cut larger parts. Examples include ballistic panels for military vehicles, titanium parts for airplanes, and dies made of tool steel.
The thickness we can cut varies by material, but 1” (2.54 cm) thick steel and ballistic Kevlar is typical. Accuracies also vary by material but are generally measured in tenths of a millimeter. Elasto Proxy has developed special clamps for making angled cuts and has considerable experience cutting bulb trim, including parts with 90° corners and “pockets” in the middle. Importantly, abrasive water jet cutting can produce near-net shapes with excellent edge quality.
Abrasive Water Jet Cutting Advantages
Unlike guillotine cutting, a manual or semi-automatic process, abrasive water jet cutting does not require significant surface finishing in order to bond the cut rubber. Abrasive water jet cutting is also faster than other manual cutting methods and puts less stress on the workpiece. With Elasto Proxy’s large worktable, stacking and nesting can optimize material usage and reduce cutting times. Once your parts are cut, they’re easy to assemble.
As a cold cutting process, abrasive water jet cutting won’t create heat-effected zones or cause hardening that requires expensive secondary processing. Any heat that’s produced by the cutting process is cooled by the water stream. By contrast, both laser cutting and CNC machining can cause warping, distortion, or material hardening. With rubber, die cutting can distort the edges of sheet materials. Abrasive water jet cutting requires water, of course, but the environmental impact is less than you might think.
For example, abrasive water jet cutting does not produce hazardous waste. Any vapors, smoke, or dust particles are trapped in the water and then filtered out. Because it’s a closed-loop system, abrasive water jet cutting also uses relatively little water. Scrap materials from cutting can be recycled, too. For companies with sustainability initiatives, outsourcing your cutting to Elasto Proxy makes sense on many different levels.
Manufacturers and Machine Shops
Abrasive water jet cutting from Elasto Proxy is a great choice for manufacturers who want to get more of their components from a single source, regardless of material. Carrying a vendor incurs costs, so it makes sense to consolidate your vendor list. There are advantages for machine shops as well. Cutting harder materials puts considerable wear on CNC tooling and the CNC cutting of fiberglass can create significant dust and raise environmental health and safety concerns. Instead, you can outsource to Elasto Proxy.
Rubber and plastic parts may be commodity products, but Elasto Proxy isn’t a commodity company. Instead, we’re the manufacturing partner that can help you solve business challenges. If you’re already buying sealing and insulation from us, talk to our team to learn more about all of our services. And if we haven’t worked with you yet, we hope you’ll reach out. Contact us to get started.