Shape the future: OMAX's 20th anniversary open house and technology event

OMAX staff pictured from left to right: Software Engineering Manager Carl Olsen, CFO Jim O'Connor,  Co-Founder and CEO Dr. John Cheung, and Co-Founder and VP of Operations Dr. John Olsen

August 2013 - OMAX Corporation welcomed nearly 600 customers, friends, family and special guests from across the country at SHAPE THE FUTURE: OMAX’s 20th Anniversary Open House and Technology Event. In addition to live cutting demonstrations and interactive technical sessions, the event featured tours of OMAX’s recently expanded, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Kent, Wash.

Innovation took center stage at the Anniversary celebration as attendees witnessed cutting-edge machining advancements throughout the facility. One such key advancement was the introduction of the new MicroMAX JetMachining Center, which provides manufacturers with the ability to cut parts or part features smaller than 400 microns from a wide range of thicknesses and materials, including exotic metals, advanced composites, polymer thermoplastics and glass. 

Ideal for prototype development and production runs, the MicroMAX is a highly rigid machine with a table size of 2 feet 4 inches by 2 feet 4 inches and an X-Y cutting travel of 2 feet by 2 feet. It utilizes advanced high-precision linear encoders, innovative vibration isolation and intuitive software control systems to achieve a position repeatability of ±2.5 microns (±0.0001") and a positioning accuracy of approximately ±10 microns (±0.0004").

The MicroMAX comes equipped with a high precision 7/15 Mini MAXJET5i nozzle that features a 0.007" orifice and 0.015" mixing tube combination for quickly and accurately cutting delicate, complex patterns. Because it forms a jet stream carrying an extremely fine abrasive, the nozzle can produce a kerf as small as 0.015". The machine also has advanced pressure controls for piercing delicate materials.

At the event, OMAX also launched a new version of its Intelli-MAX Software Suite, an intuitive control software that automatically optimizes the tool paths of the company’s advanced abrasive waterjet systems. The new Intelli-MAX 20 incorporates several enhanced features that improve the speed and memory utilization of OMAX JetMachining and MAXIEM JetCutting Centers as well as new tools that allow for increased operator efficiency. 

Attendees experienced the 3D part cutting capabilities of the company’s Rotary Axis. The Rotary Axis head provides infinite rotation while cutting, making it ideal for pipe and tube, circular and square stock materials. The company also displayed its fourth generation direct drive pump technology, designed for optimal efficiency, less energy usage, faster cutting speed per unit of input power and lower cost per finished part as compared with other pump technologies.

OMAX’s new Intelli-VISOR System Monitoring Package was also on display. Through its streamlined software interface and robust machine sensor network, Intelli-VISOR oversees the status and performance of an OMAX abrasive waterjet throughout the entire cutting process. Intelli-VISOR works to increase efficiency and uptime of any OMAX JetMachining Center by connecting operation controls with machine maintenance. The system can automatically pause the machine before resources are exhausted, while allowing the user to ensure proper pressure at the pump and predict potential interruptions before starting a cut. Further adding to its high adaptability, Intelli-VISOR can alert the operator of any issues at the machine control screen, and with an Internet connection can distribute an alert notice to up to four people via email or SMS text messaging.

In addition to advanced technology, OMAX showcased its expanded manufacturing facility. The new 22,000-square-foot building added to the campus extends the company’s training, research and development, and engineering efforts. Currently, the campus encompasses 130,000 square feet of space spread across three buildings.

During the OMAX 20th Anniversary celebration, attendees listened to special guest presentations on unique and diverse applications of abrasive waterjet cutting technology. USMC Gunnery Sgt. Matt Wolfe was in attendance to discuss how abrasive waterjet cutting technology was deployed to Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Military personnel used the portable abrasive waterjet cutting to fabricate parts less than 10 miles from where they would be used.

Dr. Robin Coope, Group Leader for Instrumentation at the British Columbia Cancer Agency’s Genome Sciences Centre, gave a presentation on how his team uses OMAX machines in the fight against cancer, specifically to manufacture parts for Barracuda, a robot that automates the selecting of a particular size of DNA strands to put into sequencing machines.

Steve Folin, Founder and Owner of Rickard Engineering & Design, shared how his investment in MAXIEM JetCutting Centers expanded his shop’s capabilities and increased productivity. The breadth of materials that can be cut using MAXIEM waterjet technology paired with its low maintenance, has enabled Rickard Engineering & Design to double capacity each year.

Students of Aviation High School’s FIRST Robotics team wowed the crowd with their robot, which was built using OMAX’s advanced abrasive waterjet technology. Additionally, members of Brian Hough Racing were on hand showing how OMAX abrasive waterjet technology was used in the development and maintenance of the team’s Alcohol Funny Car.

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