Water and light. When we turn on our taps in the morning and open the blinds, both these simple elements appear. We encounter them so often in our daily lives that we take them for granted. But one quick glance at a picture of the Grand Canyon, carved out by water, should remind us of the immense power that water can bring to bear. And walking outside on a balmy Rocky Mount summer night reminds us that, even when it’s not visible, light brings power and energy that is always around us. Here at J.R.’s Maintenance, we have harnessed the power of water through our waterjet cutter and the power of light through our new Trumpf Fiber TruLaser 3030.
If you don’t know much about waterjets, you may be surprised to learn that water is used in all sorts of industrial applications to cut cleanly and efficiently through plastic, wood, stone, and even metal. This use of water catches many people off guard -- water to cut metal? Remember, though, water did cut the Grand Canyon, and that water wasn’t even moving very fast. Our waterjet at J.R.’s Maintenance operates at about 40,000 lbs of pressure, and it moves fast.
Waterjets, as powerful and precise as they are, do have drawbacks. For one, they are difficult to keep up and running continuously for extended periods of time. The sheets that are being cut have to be loaded one at a time by hand, which makes 24/7 operation impractical. This is why we recently invested in a Trumpf laser cutter. The Trumpf Fiber TruLaser 3030 has neither anything to do with the President nor with a 30/30 Winchester rifle. Rather, it uses concentrated light, that other common element we walk through, absorb, and live by every day, to cut hard materials just as the waterjet used concentrated streams of water to do the same. The laser is capable of cutting one inch thick carbon steel and up to 3/4 inch thick stainless steel. While the two machines perform similar functions, we gained a couple of huge advantages from the Trumpf Fiber TruLaser 3030: the laser's cut rate of speed is about 5 times faster than the OMAX Waterjet, and we can now run the machine 24/7 and thus keep up the pace of production. This can be done with the assistance of the LiftMaster Compact, an application that goes with the Trumpf FIber TruLaser machine and sets up a production line by loading and unloading sheets automatically. The machine can run all night without anyone being there. This automation vastly speeds up the cutting process from what was possible with the waterjet, which had to be hand-loaded. We see the purchase of the TruLaser and LiftMaster as excellent investments as they increase our production capacity to meet the growth in our business.
You may be wondering what kinds of things we cut with these new machines. We’ll detail one example here. Pharmaceutical companies are one of our biggest clients. Because of the absolutely sterile environment required by these companies for their labs and production facilities, every surface must be hard and easy to clean. Therefore, stickers and paper tags, which would otherwise be used to identify things, do not work in a pharmaceutical lab. In their place, companies use metal product ID tags that identify part numbers, when these parts were replaced, and other important information. The Trumpf laser not only cuts through metal, but can have its setting adjusted to perform more delicate work like etching and engraving, which is necessary for this kind of job, which we frequently perform for pharmaceutical companies.
All in all, we couldn’t be happier with the Trumpf Fiber TruLaser 3030 and the LiftMaster Compact that we purchased this year. We believe our customers will be just as happy as their orders are sped up.