Back to News For a fraction of the cost of a full waterjet cutting system, you can retrofit your current waterjet with a new motion control system and increase your productivity on day one!

5 Signs You Should Retrofit Your Waterjet Instead of Buying a New One

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We know you’ve been lining the walls of your shop with the latest flavor of the week waterjet pinup posters. You admire them from afar while you go about your day. You’ve been printing out waterjet articles and slipping them under your supervisor’s door in the morning. You think, “Why can they not see we need a new waterjet!” Truth is, they see it, but let’s face it - waterjet cutting systems can get rather expensive and there is only so much room in the annual budget.

Luckily, there is another way: Retrofit your current waterjet - without buying a brand new machine. Here are the top 5 signs you should go with a retrofit.

1 - You need full waterjet capabilities on a shoe-string budget

For a fraction of the cost of a full waterjet cutting system, you can retrofit that old dinosaur with a new motion control system and start to reap the benefits on day one. Most manufacturers offer solutions for common drive systems including ball screw, linear, belt drive, and rack & pinion. Often times, the waterjet hardware is fully capable but remains ineffective because the motion control system doesn't take full advantage of the mechanical components. Open up your waterjet's capabilities by upgrading your motion control system. We think your supervisor will also appreciate the price tag.

If budget is the driving factor, use these points in your pitch:

  1. A retrofit costs only a fraction of what a new waterjet system would cost
  2. Most manufacturer’s offer low-rate financing that can spread out the cost
  3. You can write it off - deduct up to $500,000 of capital expenses with Section 179. This is big!

2 - You’ve paid more in repairs than the system is worth

As CNC equipment ages, there is no guarantee that the fly by night manufacturer with the best blowout prices of 1979 will stay in business. Once that business closes, OEMs buy up the rights and inflate the prices of repair parts. You will often find that a small repair can cost as much as a new system and there is guarantee the system won’t break down again in a week. Our advice, to save your wallet and your sanity, is to spend a little extra now and save big in the long run by retrofitting your system with a new motion control system. With most manufacturers, you’ll receive a new warranty period on their parts and tap into a full service and support system. Choose wisely though, you want to make sure that manufacturer is going to be around for awhile, or you’ll be back in the same position down the road.

Retrofit your waterjet with WARDJet

3 - You need to reduce costs and shore up your contribution margin

Ever hear of the old saying, “You have to spend money to make money.” This is never truer than it is with capital equipment. If you are reducing costs, the last thing you might be thinking is to spend more money for equipment, but time and time again, it has been shown is this is exactly where you should be looking. While a full waterjet system may not be in the budget, a motion controller retrofit often is. With a new motion control system, you tap into a bevy of new features and capabilities you wished you had years ago.

Here’s the secret - those new features can directly affect your contribution margin. For example, say it takes you 5 minutes to manually adjust your cutting height inbetween parts and by automating the process, it now takes you 5 seconds. By subtracting 4 minutes and 55 seconds of paid labor, you have now lowered your cost per part. Meaning, and this is what everyone loves, you'll make more money per part!

With results like that you might as well look into taking up a new career title, like “magician” or maybe “miracle-worker”.

4 - You’ve bought a used machine and need support

You’re a savvy shopper, and you’ve snagged a great deal on a used waterjet system. Nice work! Now comes the hard part - integrating that system into your current production system. Unfortunately, not all waterjets are created equal, and you’ve now just inherited the previous owner's undisclosed list of issues and problems. To complicate matters, the controller looks like it was taken from the shuttle of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission or maybe it was lifted from the Return of the Jedi set. Either way, the point is that you now need to figure out how to use it.

Since we know you like stretching your dollar, we recommend outfitting your amazing find with a new motion control system. Along with all of the upgraded features, and if you pick correctly, you can tap into a waterjet manufacturer’s service and support system for the retrofitted equipment. The support system often includes free on-site training, parts warranties, training materials and (WARDJet plug, sorry) free remote support without buying an expensive waterjet cutting system. Make sure you get noticed for being a smart shopper, not the one who bought the company a money pit.

5 - You often catch yourself saying, “There has to be a better way”

We’ve sent drones to Mars, eradicated smallpox with vaccines, and even mapped the human genome, but I still have to manually adjust my cutting head height? Not anymore, my friend! You can now automate it with just the touch of a button! As your business grows, you may find that what was once an all-in-one system now lacks capability. You can retrofit many aspects of waterjet hardware including installing a programmable Z-axis cutting head, adding 5-Axis capabilities, equipping with a shuttle table, or even upgrading to a cost cutting intensifier pump - all of which could be controlled automatically from the motion control software. By removing tedious manual operations, you can skyrocket your productivity.

* A Free Tip

If you are going to replace your motion control system, we suggest you have it specified and installed by a trained professional. While it is being installed, your machine will be down. The faster you can get back up and running is paramount. Retrofitting machines is not for the faint of heart, and if you choose to do it yourself, be prepared to run into many time-consuming issues. Be sure to avoid downtime and future issues by having it installed properly by a waterjet professional. Plus, most manufacturer’s will do training on-site.

More Information

Learn more about WARDJet Retrofits and our Motion Control Software. If you have any questions on retrofitting your waterjet, just contact us!

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