Cutting a profit

A Nerang-based manufacturer has expanded interstate on the back of innovative water jet cutting technology.

After initially investing in laser cutting machinery with unsatisfactory results, Abrasive Jet Machining Services founder Mark Piacun, seized an opportunity in water jet cutters and has since expanded to now own the largest number of metal cutting machines in Australasia.

“It’s a very powerful technology which has excellent results,” says Piacun.

“Recently we had to modify our machines to fit the work pieces for two separate jobs – one of which saw us cutting the end off an aluminium casting that was 575mm thick by approximately 650mm long, the thickest cut we have heard of in this industry.”

Water jet cutters use a mixture of water and abrasives to intricately slice metals in a process similar to natural water erosion but in a greatly accelerated and concentrated form. Its main advantages include zero heat-affected zones and the technology is environmentally-friendly, leaving no hazardous waste.

“People are often very surprised when they start to learn about the process and what it can do,” says Piacun.

“It can cut any material you can think of with no waste material and it makes difficult jobs very easy.”

After initial trials proved successful Piacun launched Abrasive Jet Machining Services in 1998 with the aim of overseeing all the water jet cutting contracts secured by parent company, Blue Water Engineering.

Today, water jet cutting accounts for 80 per cent of contracts across both businesses.

“The advantage of water jet technology opened up new opportunities for using materials that are traditionally difficult to process with conventional tooling,” says Piacun.

“We are developing new products as a result of being able to process all types of materials in our own factories.”

Piacun says the business has grown into an effective, less labour intensive product manufacturer.

The company now employs 18 staff and has five Omax water jet cutters; three on the Gold Coast and two in Sydney.

Local projects have included working on the Robina Town Centre and cutting the intricately designed floor tiles at David Jones in Brisbane’s Queen St Mall.

The business is forecasting double digit growth and recently processed more than $1 million worth of titanium in Sydney for an international client.

“We have been working double shifts despite the recent global recession which I think is a testament to a product and service that prides itself on efficiency and quality,” says Piacun.

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