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Partnership with Gladding-Hearn keeps Diman on the cutting edge

flow FALL RIVER – Water. It’s critical to life, but can also be incredibly destructive … ask anyone in soggy South Carolina. But when we harness that power, water can be an incredible tool.

One such tool is making its way into modern manufacturing – water jet cutters, or “waterjets.” These waterjets use incredibly high-pressure water, often mixed with abrasives, to cut metal or almost any surface.

Diman’s Metal Fabrication and Joining Technologies shop received its first waterjet system – a Flow Waterjet Mach 2 – in June as part of the Massachusetts Vocational Opportunity Challenge grant. While teachers trained on the system in June and this summer, there was an obstacle to letting our students use it: the water itself. This is where Gladding-Hearn stepped in.

The issue is that Flow waterjets come without a shield to keep the water from spraying away from the machine. Besides potentially dampening everything around, the water and metal can contain microaerophilic organisms that cause unusual infections. In other words, the water can be dangerous, and when pressures of the jet can reach 55,000 PSI, caution must be exercised.

Somerset-based boat builder Gladding-Hearn came to the rescue. “I figured they work with glass windows and shields all the time, so let’s see if they could help us,” explained instructor Edward Carreiro.

The process of building the shield was a breeze, at least from Diman’s perspective. “Gladding-Hearn makes everything easy. They’re all professional, well-trained tradesmen. It was done within a week, from meeting to prototypes to finished product,” said Carreiro with a grin.

The four-part shield has removable sections to allow users to access the cutting head and to provide materials to be cut, so it not only helps with cleanliness and security, it’s flexible enough for everyday use. The best part was the cost: Gladding-Hearn provided the shield for zero cost.

“We love working with Gladding-Hearn,” said fellow instructor David Salsinha. He and Carreiro pointed out that Diman has a close working relationship with Gladding-Hearn. Said Salsinha with pride, “Probably half of their company are Diman grads.”

Carreiro agreed, “They take a lot of our students through the co-op program. They’re on our shop’s advisory board, et cetera. It’s a great collaboration.”

While waterjet cutting is old technology, recent advances in computer controls and technology have pushed it to the front of the line in current processes. Waterjets are often more accurate than traditional laser or plasma cutters, and more and more companies are getting on board with the technology.

Explained Carreiro, “Not a lot of companies have a waterjet, yet, so they’ll farm-out the work. It does truly high-quality cutting, and it’s super-efficient.”

The biggest benefit to the waterjet to Diman isn’t its accuracy; it’s the advantage it gives Diman students and graduates in the workplace. “When you tell people you have a sophomore or junior using a water jet, their ears perk up. They’re like ‘WOW!,’” grinned Carreiro.

The waterjet is the second of two purchases funded in part by the Massachusetts Vocational Opportunity Challenge competitive grant program. The first purchase, a Mazak Vertical Center Smart 410A machining center, was delivered to our Machine Tool Technology program in December, 2014, and is currently in use by Diman’s students.

Nathan Byrnes, Media Services Coordinator
508-678-2891 x1870