Where the machining of composite materials is concerned, STM waterjet cutting systems are increasingly emerging as the best solution
Internationally, fibre composites such as CFC, CFP, GRP and carbon are enjoying ever more popularity. The same applies for composite laminates, porous sintered composites and particle-reinforced composites such as concrete, ceramic compounds or chipboard. All of these composite materials present the processing industry with a challenge, because composite materials are very heterogeneous in composition and thus require a cutting process that is just as gentle as it is flexible. Neither the material joints nor the mechanical material properties such as heat resistance, radiation absorption or fire resistance must be impaired by cutting. In most cases, there is a simultaneous requirement for high precision levels. No tool fulfils these requirements better than water because this cold-cutting technique is always gentle and can be used to cut both the finest and most complex structures accurately, reproducibly and almost completely automatically with tolerances of +/- 0.1 mm. Thanks to the very thin cutting clearance of 0.8 mm, this technology is not only quick and precise but also benefits from high material efficiency and minimum tool wear. Finishing is not necessary, likewise, in contrast to hot cutting techniques, neither hardening or stresses are created in the workpiece nor are harmful vapours, dust or smoke generated during cutting. To summarise, all customary composite materials in thickness extending from a thin film through to thicknesses of 200 mm can be cut environmentally and inexpensively using the waterjet. Almost too good to be true.
Ideal for this area of use are waterjet systems from the Austrian quality manufacturer STM and its German partner Maximator JET. These waterjet specialists can demonstrate years of experience in this sector and offer a correspondingly mature fully-compatible modular system. Hence guidance systems, cutting heads, abrasive systems and high-pressure pumps have been especially developed for this sector; not to mention custom-application options such as high-speed spindles for drilling sensitive materials. In principle, any composite material can be cut using STM standard systems on one and the same machine with either pure water or abrasive water and without any retooling effort. At the same time, the pressure can be continuously adjusted to match the material properties. With weaker composites, the working pressure can be throttled down to 500 bar, while with harder materials, cutting can take place using pressures up to
4,000 or 6,000 bar. The WS PREMIUM has emerged as the top-of-the-range model, which thanks to its full equipment range, offers nearly unlimited cutting options. The machine is available from € 132,500 with delivery times currently standing at 10 weeks. Companies that primarily only cut weaker composite materials would be optimally equipped with a WS ECOCUT for a price of around € 74,000. The system comes with an 11 kW pressure intensifying pump that cuts material thicknesses up to 50 mm precisely and cost-efficiently.
If you are interested, you can check-out the performance of STM systems based on your own, obligation-free custom test cut at any time in the brand-new machining centre at the STM headquarter at Eben in Pongau, Austria or in Maximator JET's showroom in Schweinfurt, Germany. Upon request, you will be also be provided with a free system proposal including a cost-benefit analysis, so that you can precisely assess the suitability of a waterjet cutting system based on your own requirements. For more information see www.stm.at and www.maximator-jet.de.
STM is a leading provider of waterjet cutting systems with its head office in Bischofshofen, Austria. For more than 20 years, the traditional company has developed future-proof production solutions, primarily for the steel, aluminium, metal, plastic, stone and glass industries, which are most notable for their efficiency, ease of use and resistance to wear. Alongside future-proof technology and quality as standard, STM places great emphasis on innovative full service. In so doing, the brand name manufacturer ensures that its individual manufacturing processes are continually matched to the current requirements of its customers. STM cooperates with the German, Schweinfurt-based company, Maximator JET GmbH in the fields of development and sales. Maximator JET relies on STM systems for their reliability and quality.
Maximator JET GmbH is a leading system supplier to the waterjet cutting industry, with its head office in Schweinfurt in the Franconia region of Germany. Since 1999, the company has focussed on building and selling highly specialised waterjet cutting systems for special applications throughout Europe. Alongside its in-house manufactured 2D and 3D cutting systems, its product range also includes systems made by the Austrian system partner, STM, high pressure pumps of up to 6,000 bar, high pressure components, equipment and a correspondingly comprehensive support and maintenance service.