A state-of the-art waterjet cutting machine is now up and running on the campus of Missouri University of Science and Technology thanks to the design work and a little luck from several S&T engineering students.


A state-of the-art waterjet cutting machine is now up and running on the campus of Missouri University of Science and Technology thanks to the design work and a little luck from several S&T engineering students.   On Tuesday, Nov.1, the WARDkit 5 x 5 waterjet  was inaugurated at Missouri S&T's Rock Mechanics and Explosives Research Center (RMERC)  in front of several dozen university faculty and staff, as well as, representatives from WARDJet.
Interestingly, the $89,000 machining tool was not purchased by the university, but won in a contest by a Missouri S&T team of engineering students in mid-September at the International Manufacturing and Technology Show (IMTS), held in Chicago.  More than 200 students  from around the nation participated in the event.
At the week-long conference, teams registered for one-hour time slots to build components of a waterjet cutting system. Students who participated in the build-off competition were then entered in a drawing to win the very waterjet they worked on.
 “We are so excited to see this machine up and running here,” said WARDJet president, Richard Ward. “It couldn't  go to a better group of people.” With headquarters in Tallmadge, Ohio, WARDJet  is  known as an industry leader in waterjet technology.
Their WARDKit 5x5 waterjet, now at Missouri S&T,  is equipped with a 30 horsepower 60,000 psi pump. The machine will replace S&T's antiquated  waterjet table.
Ward explained that waterjets are run off of computer software and come in various shapes and sizes. They are used to cut everything from food and mouse pads to blasting through steel. For the hardest of materials, waterjets operate on an extremely high-pressure water system that is often combined with a granular abrasive material. The mixture of water and abrasive make create a laser-like cutting tool.
He added that today's waterjets are replacing traditional tool and die machines. In fact, during  the dedication ceremony, the WARDKit 5x5 was at work cutting S&T gear medallions.
 “This machine will cost effectively cut materials and build tools to help researchers and our design teams,” noted Dr. Norbert Maerz, professor of geological and petroleum engineering at S&T and the director of RMREC.
Ward noted that his company is  excited about seeing the impact that IMTS will have  on educating students and providing high-quality American-made technology for the next generation of engineers.
“WARDJet is looking forward to seeing where Missouri S&T is able to use their new waterjet to uncover valuable research in the coming years,” he said.