Technology

Sustainability in waterjet cutting made profitable

22/07/2020

The green philosophy of StM makes waterjet cutting even more attractive for small- and medium-sized businesses. With its integrated sustainability concept, Austrian waterjet pioneer helps small and medium-sized businesses pave the way into sustainable production based on “Industry 4.0” standards.

A manufacturing company that wants to keep up in the future will inevitably face the issue of sustainability. The problem: For small and medium-sized companies, this is a Herculean task that requires a great deal of planning, foresight and knowledge in parallel to day-to-day business.

Costs and benefits must be weighed, standards set, restructuring planned and employees sensitized. Measures which, due to their complexity, are dangerously often postponed or not implemented in a concerted manner. Austrian waterjet pioneer StM Waterjet has now created a solution for this problem with its “Green Philosophy”.

It offers users holistic manufacturing concepts that are optimized for sustainability and combine profitability with maximum performance and flexibility. It thus opens up the possibility for companies to make production processes without “blood, sweat and tears” more economically viable, while minimizing negative effects on the environment and sparing energy and natural resources.

This is made possible by StM's modular waterjet cutting system, which has been continuously optimized in terms of sustainability and adapted to the latest requirements for decades. Interested companies from the steel and stainless steel, aluminium, non-ferrous metal, plastic, stone, glass and ceramics processing industries can have this system adapted to their individual needs by experienced application engineers at StM and have processes demonstrated live – an input that requires no investment whatsoever.

This allows companies to evaluate the effects of new processes without any risk. In the end, they will benefit from a solid and flexible “ready-to-use” solution that is operational 24/7 within a few days and requires little training. With this partnership-based sustainability policy, StM ensures that the “Industry 4.0” standard does not have to be introduced at the expense of profitability and will not overburden anyone.

More power, less consumption and wear

Waterjet cutting is per se an energy-efficient cold cutting process. At StM Waterjet, this advantage is supported by the design as well. StM waterjet cutting systems are consistently designed as a raw-material and energy efficient “system that grows with you”, which can be adapted to changing cutting requirements at any time. Their service life is typically 15 years or more.

The construction of a StM waterjet cutting system is low-vibration, very robust and at the same time designed to be light-weight (on average 1800 kg). This minimizes the drive power of the motors and maximizes cutting speed and cutting quality. The electronic components are RoHS-compliant standard modules for which the manufacturer guarantees spare part availability for at least 10 years even after production has been discontinued. The thermally sensitive axis amplifiers are cooled by an energy-efficient, temperature-controlled air conditioning unit. This ensures a long service life of the components.

All lamps and lights as well as sensing devices are designed with LED technology. The electric motors of the high-pressure pump and the system components have efficiency class IE3. These energy-efficient asynchronous three-phase motors save energy during the entire service life of StM waterjet cutting systems. StM also uses electronic speed controls where, which further increase performance, where appropriate. The high-pressure pump has an oil/air cooler. Comparable high pressure pumps of the competitors need 12 litres/minute water to cool the pump. All system components, including the high-pressure pump, switch off automatically after cutting or in the event of a fault in order to avoid unnecessary power consumption. In addition, StM waterjet cutting systems require only 50 litres/minute of compressed air for the control valves and no sealing air for the guides and drives – up to 400 litres/minute per cutting head are common on the market.

But waterjet cutting “powered by StM” helps to save resources even beyond the energy aspect. It requires minimal personnel and tool costs. Material consumption is minimized by technical details like infinitely variable abrasive dosing and the efficient nesting of cutting jobs. The StM SmartCut cutting software also enables the cutting of workpieces on raw plates so efficiently and closely nested that 10–20% of raw material can be saved compared to conventional cutting processes. Rejects are minimal, especially with sensitive materials, as the tool water cuts without structural changes or thermal stress.

Minimum storage, maximum recycling

Due to the extreme flexibility of the waterjet cutting process, users can react immediately to current demand and switch to just-in-time production. After all, a wide variety of materials can be cut without the need for retrofitting costs. Parallel pure water and abrasive cutting is possible – regardless of whether 2D, 3D, pipe or robot cutting is requested. This makes expensive warehousing history. StM waterjet systems are additionally made of 90 % steel and aluminium. These raw materials are 100% recyclable. Individual components of old systems can still be used for new acquisitions, as the StM module system is almost fully compatible. Seals and process water can also be reused, e.g. with the fully automatic “StM OneClean” recycling system for water and abrasive. All residues can be separated and disposed of properly.

Programmed for healthy economic management

StM's “Green philosophy” also has a social component, which aims to make work healthier. This is due partly to the fact that waterjet cutting produces neither gases nor dust and noise pollution is moderate. Furthermore, the operation of a StM system is very convenient. On the other hand, the system takes over the heavy and monotonous work as well as tasks that require great precision. This not only minimizes rejects and errors – employees also enjoy working more. With a standard PC and the intelligent SmartCut software from StM, drawings can be imported and cutting parameters defined in no time at all. The system calculates cutting time and costs per order so that production in the ideal cutting area can be controlled at any time. Malfunctions can easily be remedied by the user or through remote maintenance. Maximum safety is ensured by plastic hoods on Z-axles and cable carriers as well as a clearly visible warning light.

StM Waterjet is a leading supplier of waterjet cutting systems based in Eben, Austria, Schweinfurt, Germany and Reiden, Switzerland, employs a total of 70 people and is represented in countries worldwide. For more than 25 years, the traditional company has developed integrated solutions, mainly for the steel, aluminium, metal, plastic, stone and glass industries, which are most notable for their efficiency, ease of use and resistance to wear. Since 2018, the company has also held the sole production rights to BYSTRONIC waterjet cutting systems.

StM stands for standard CNC-controlled portal systems in all dimensions and for all applications. In addition to economy, standard quality and excellent customer service, StM attaches particular importance to innovative modular system technology. The brand manufacturer thus ensures that its individual manufacturing processes are continually matched to the latest requirements of its customers.

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