GULF MACHINE SHOP
LAKE CHARLES, LA
Twenty years ago, Lloyd Smith, owner of Gulf Machine Shop of Lake Charles, Louisiana, quoted a large project for a paper mill. After realizing he would need a more productive cutting solution than his plasma and arc gouging systems could offer, he did some research on abrasive waterjet technology. Before the paper mill had even sent him the purchase order, he received a quote on a new waterjet system from Jet Edge Waterjet Systems of St. Michael, Minnesota.
Pre-waterjet, Gulf Machine Shop cut any stainless, nickel allow, Monel or Hastelloy with oxy-acetylene flame or by arc-air gouging. Both methods required cleaning slag from the cut material; most, if not all, projects required secondary machining (which abrasive waterjet technology would help eliminate) to get past the heat-affected zone (HAZ) and cut the part to the correct dimensions.
This was true in the case of the paper mill project. This project required the shop to fabricate and machine a wet-end frame using 316L stainless steel. Smith didn’t want to waste time knocking off slag, and he didn’t want to tie up his mill correcting parts, so he purchased the Jet Edge waterjet. Not only did it cut parts to the precise dimensions, eliminated secondary machining operations but it also eliminated slag and HAZ. To this day, the shop keeps its original 8’x12′, dual three axis waterjet, sometimes even running it 24 hours a day.