Prize turns quick profit for waterjet machine winner

Author Cutting Tool Engineering
January 25, 2017 - 02:00pm

What would you do if you won a waterjet cutting machine? In John Mullett’s case, he asked for a bigger one. 

Mullett is owner of Laureate Machine & Automation LLC, Leipsic, Ohio. He won one of two machines given away by WARDJet Inc. as part of the Tallmadge, Ohio-based waterjet builder’s Build It! Challenge competition that took place during the IMTS 2016 trade show in Chicago. Mullett represented the “pro side” of the competition, which placed students against industry professionals in a waterjet build-off. Missouri University of Science and Technology walked away as the educational winner.

Below: Employees from Laureate Machine & Automation and WARDJet with the Model XL-1530 waterjet machine.
From left to right: machinists Merced Torres and Neal Truckor, owner John Mullett, Benjie Massarra
(business development for WARDJet) and machine installer Johnnie Stamper. Image courtesy of WARDJet.

Mullett won a Model E-1515 (1.5m × 1.5m, or 5'×5') waterjet machine, and he felt it might not serve his company’s needs as well as WARDJet’s XL-1530 machine, which features a 5'×10' (1.5m × 3.0m) cutting area. As a result, Mullett was offered a trade-up option in which WARDJet credited Laureate the value of the smaller machine, allowing the parts manufacturer to purchase the larger machine for the difference in price.

A selection of parts Laureate Machine & Automation produced
on its new waterjet machine. Image courtesy of WARDJet.

Established in 2000, Laureate focuses on designing and building automated finishing systems. It was already equipped to perform CNC machining, wire EDMing, welding and fabrication. The waterjet was installed over a 3-day period, and the installation package included some basic training and calibration from WARDJet. 

“After the guys came out and did the ball-bar calibration, it’s cutting within a few thousandths of circularity on a 24"-dia. circle,” Mullett said. “Pretty amazing for this large of a machine.”

Before the installers even packed up to leave, Laureate was ready to put the machine to work. Mullett and his crew started immediately cutting parts and the shop made money on the first day of official operation. “We’ve already experienced a cost savings by cutting [in-house] some of the parts we were previously contracting outside,” Mullett said, adding that those parts include some large tool and jig blanks.

Related Glossary Terms

  • calibration


    Checking measuring instruments and devices against a master set to ensure that, over time, they have remained dimensionally stable and nominally accurate.

  • computer numerical control ( CNC)

    computer numerical control ( CNC)

    Microprocessor-based controller dedicated to a machine tool that permits the creation or modification of parts. Programmed numerical control activates the machine’s servos and spindle drives and controls the various machining operations. See DNC, direct numerical control; NC, numerical control.

  • jig


    Tooling usually considered to be a stationary apparatus. A jig assists in the assembly or manufacture of a part or device. It holds the workpiece while guiding the cutting tool with a bushing. A jig used in subassembly or final assembly might provide assembly aids such as alignments and adjustments. See fixture.

  • waterjet cutting

    waterjet cutting

    Fine, high-pressure (up to 50,000 psi or greater), high-velocity jet of water directed by a small nozzle to cut material. Velocity of the stream can exceed twice the speed of sound. Nozzle opening ranges from between 0.004" to 0.016" (0.l0mm to 0.41mm), producing a very narrow kerf. See AWJ, abrasive waterjet.