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  • Jack Fanning

Hydro-Blade expands with the Help of New Techni Waterjet

When Hydro-Blade Waterjets merged with Paragon Metalworks in August of last year, owners Ben Chauvin and Charles Green needed to invest in new machinery to expand their business.

Keeping the Hydro-Blade name, Chauvin knew one of the shop’s first purchases was going to be a new waterjet, “As time has gone on, I’ve seen the changes in the market and how the technology has improved. I think it’s foolish if you don’t look to see what else is out there.”

Co-owner Ben Chauvin operates the Techni i612-G2

Seeing what else is out there led Hydro-Blade to Techni Waterjet, Chauvin was initially attracted to Techni waterjets’ ease of maintenance, usability, and low cost of consumables. After visiting machine shops using Techni waterjets and consulting with Kearney Machinery, Techni’s local dealer, Chauvin decided Techni’s i612-G2 (formerly called TJ4000-X3) was the best fit for Hydro-Blade and purchased the waterjet from Kearney Machinery, Techni’s machinery dealer for the southeastern US. Hydro-Blade purchased the i612-G2 from Kearney at the beginning of March and had it installed at the end of May.

Chauvin’s biggest draw to the i612-G2 series was the waterjet’s cutting speed, “In the time trials that we’ve done, it’s cutting faster than a larger jet would.” In fact, the G2 was able to complete some jobs up to 40% faster than Hydro-Blade’s previous waterjets. Techni’s Electric Servo Pump gets most of the credit for this increase in productivity. The ESP is very unique in the marketplace and the efficiencies, designed in, allow for the faster cutting, easier maintenance and more runtime between maintenance cycle

An assortment of work-pieces machined by Techni’s waterjet

Techni’s Tech-Sense technology monitors the cutting head and pauses the job before any blockage. Tech-Sense, along with the ability to monitor the job from any smart device, has allowed Hydro-Blade to run the machine with their lights out without worrying about wasting costs by way of scrap or consumables. Chauvin describes Techni’s advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting system as, “A mix of the man running the machine, and the machine running the man” adding that “It can save me 30 minutes to two hours trying to diagnose the problem, and that equates to saving money.”

Besides the machine itself, Chauvin knows that service is just as important, “I don’t care what type of machinery you have. If you don’t have the service to back it up, I don’t even want to have a conversation.”

Though Hydro-Blade hasn’t had their i612-G2 for long, the shop has already seen improvements in their workflow–especially when it comes to ease-of-use. “I took one of my guys that was a plasma operator that had very little experience on waterjets. We put the Techni on the floor, brought him in, and had him go through the learning process. He’s stepped up to be my lead operator. When you can have somebody that’s sweeping the floor, and in three or four hours have them running the machine, it’s a pretty significant move.” said Chauvin

Hydroblade’s machine operators with Chauvin

Hydro-Blade expects to continue expanding their shop and broadening its footprint as well as planning on increasing both workers and workspace soon. Hydro-Blade also plans on becoming more of a product-based company manufacturing other companies’ products and even designing their own. So far, Techni’s i612-G2 is making Hydro-Blades growth possible and the shop plans on purchasing additional Techni waterjets. “I can tell you what’s needed and not needed for our applications. Techni fit the bill and the price point was there. It made sense” said Chauvin.

Hydro-Blade Waterjets is a machine shop in Broussard, Louisiana, that specializes in waterjet cutting, plasma cutting, fabrication, and machining.

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