Over the past couple of decades, water jet cutting has become the preeminent cutting technology – used by industries large and small, and also a fair few individuals for personal projects.
And the growth of water jet cutting perhaps means that there have been less obvious changes every year in terms of both how it is used and by how many – after all, it is now well established.
However, 2018 could be an important and interesting year for all of us with an interest in water jet cutting. Here are a few things we will be keeping an eye on over the next 12 months.
As we have written about previously, the past couple of years has seen a few small water jet cutting machines hit the market. These are aimed at those who do enough water jet cutting to have any use for a machine of their own, yet perhaps do not need the level of accuracy offered by companies who specialise in cutting.
These machines can be fitted in a garage or workshop and, once set-up, would allow the operator to cut parts there and then.
However, we wonder if they currently hit a sweet spot. Given the cost to purchase these machines it seems unlikely there will be many companies who would find it more economical to buy and maintain a machine rather than outsource to the experts as and when required.
But, if prices come down, the power of the machines goes up and they become increasingly easy to operate then they could become more of a mainstream option.
Some of the uses for water jet cutting would have been obvious to the technology’s early pioneers. It is clearly a great way to cut metal or plastic for example.
Other uses have developed over time – would the first operators have had the foresight to see that water jet cutting would become a go-to choice for those in the food industry?
Are there other industries out there who have so far failed to embrace water jet cutting yet could benefit from its use?
At TMC Water Jet, we were extremely proud to work with two major art galleries in 2017 – helping produce the Ghost Tree for Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery and also completing work at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Many artists and sculptors have also used water jet cutting to help produce amazing pieces of work – water jet cutting makes it easier for their creativity to become reality.
The growth of artistic applications for water jet cutting has largely been because of the technology’s 3-d cutting abilities – the cutting heads can move in multiple axis and so complex cuts can be undertaken in one fluid motion.
However, many artists and scultptors are probably not even aware of water jet cutting as an option. Could the fact that major art galleries have started using this form of cutting mean that its use becomes altogether more widespread?
Predictions for 2018 and beyond suggest a major growth in water jet usage, yet much of this growth is expected to be in Asia.
Given the advantages water jet cutting offers when compared to other forms – it is more accurate, more cost effective and can have a quicker turnaround time – this could have implications for the wider economy.
Europe and especialy the UK clearly face a somewhat uncertain economic outlook and so the efficiency of industry could become even more important. The countries and individual firms within an industry that embrace water jet cutting are likely to become more competitive than those who choose to ignore its advanatges. If this is happening on a global scale, with huge differences between continents, then it could make some European producers less competitive.
Any continent or country which lags behind in implementing the most cost effective technology is liable to find itself squeezed out the market – this of course applies to all technologies and not just water jet cutting.
Whatever 2018 does hold…
Whatever 2018 does have in store, at TMC Waterjet we will continue to be at the forefront of water jet cutting technology.
We aim to further enhance our reputation as the UK’s leading water jet cutter, a company that can take on any job of any size – whether that’s for an individual or huge multinational.
If you want to discuss a potential job, please call us today on 01625 610 441.