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Water Jet Cutting and the future of engineering

Water jet cutting, in common with other manufacturing processes, is commonly used by traditional industries and to bring new efficiencies to tasks that have existed for decades.

However, it is also a technology that helps to innovate, quickly cutting parts with incredible accuracy and in a way that is kind to the environment.

This ability to help engineers and businesses innovate has led to water jet cutting technology being used in a truly fascinating project – a residency programme whereby companies can work collaboratively to solve problems in design and construction.

The programme, run by Autodesk, brings together many leading technologies, water jet is one such tech, but also included are 3D printers, metalworking equipment and robotic metal arms for part manipulation.

Companies can use this technology and the expertise within the programme to find ways to either solve a problem or bring new efficiencies.

Many of the examples have great potential, and have huge real-world benefits.

One example is the creation of drones that are able to carry out accurate work on industrial construction sites. The drones can carry out maintenance tasks or even install parts of the construction, this also boosting safety as they can carry out tasks that would be somewhat dangerous for humans to undertake.

Another project saw the robotic manufacture of a steel pedestrian bridge used to cross a ravine. Imagine the use this could have – this machine could build a bridge in an area hit by floods, or war damage, allowing vital resources to be brought in, or a rescue effort to be undertaken. With the machine present, and the raw material, it could then be programmed to build the bridge parts, these then simply need installing into place.

Augmented reality has also been used on projects, for instance using Google glasses to bring up instructions to the user. This allows someone with little or no prior experience to use highly specialised tools.

As with the bridge example, this could allow repairs to be undertaken or parts built in remote settings, without need for a specialist team to be brought in at great time and expense. These solutions allow for greater self-sufficiency in areas where this may be of huge value.

A quote from the project leaders sums up the ethos.

“We need each other. We need to collaborate with each other so we can really transform construction.”

This is a mindset we buy into wholeheartedly at TMC – working with other technologies to find solutions and deliver projects that have real impact.

To read more about this fascinating project, please head over to this article.

Details of the project to build a bridge across a ravine are available here.