Waterjet cutting: Capacity crunch

1 min read

Q-Laser works across a range of sectors and with its waterjet cutting department reaching full capacity it needed to take action, so it invested in a new cutting-edge machine

As a subcontract manufacturer, Q-Laser offers laser, waterjet, press brake and fabrication services throughout the UK.

When the main division at Washington realised its waterjet cutting department based in Hebburn, South Tyneside was reaching full capacity, the company needed a solution – Kerf Developments – provided the answer with a Semyx Optima 420 twin abrasive waterjet cutting machine.

Located on the outskirts of Newcastle upon Tyne, Q-Laser provides its rapid-turnaround cutting services to the marine, offshore, automotive and general manufacturing sectors, cutting everything from exotics, stainless and mild steel to aluminium, armoured plate and virtually any material the customer requires.

Founded in 2012, the company set up its waterjet cutting division in 2019 to complement its laser, press brake and fabrication services, starting with a 5-axis waterjet machine.

Except for the pandemic, the waterjet division has grown exponentially, and the existing waterjet machine was struggling to meet the capacity demands of the business, so Q-Laser turned to Rochdale-based Kerf Developments for the solution.

The Kerf solution was the Optima 420 twin abrasive waterjet machine with two cutting heads. With two cutting heads, the 4m by 2m bed machine instantly doubled the cutting capacity in comparison to the existing machine.

In a sector where clients expect a quotation in hours and components cut and delivered in less than a week, the addition of the machine has alleviated the bottleneck, created additional capacity and immediately reduced lead times.

Discussing the evolution of the waterjet division of Q-Laser, company director Colin Hewitt, explains: “We set up the waterjet department for two reasons. Firstly, a laser is typically limited to cutting material up to 25mm thick.

"Secondly, unlike laser, waterjet cutting does not generate excessive heat that can impact the structural integrity of the material – this is of critical importance in aerospace, MoD and many automotive applications."

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