abrasive water jet machines?

I don't wander by this way very often, but when I have you 'Guys' have been a great help. Just like your thoughts on the pros and cons of the different
makes of abrasive water jet machines on the market. We have an Omax 2626 and so far have been relatively happy with it. I'm in a University environment and have found that students are designing projects with the water jet in mind, and it certainly helps to move the jobs along, When running the machine I do find there is little warning when thing are about to go wrong, such as nozzle wear, blockages etc. This may be because I have a number of technicians that use the machine. May this be a case for one man one machine?
How does this type of machining fair in the real world? there seem to be quite a few manufactures out there.
I would like to hear your comments, experiences etc with this type of machining.
ttfn.....Alistair
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They are maintenance intensive from what I have seen.
They are a fairly primative machine tool and I'm not aware of any that have the ability to detect excessive wear in the nozzles, blockages, or can warn of a pump failure ahead of time. But I'm not expert with them and it has been a good nine years since I've been around them on a regular basis. So things may have changed.
Good record keeping might reveal some ratio of hours of use to wear. Then an effective PM program can be put into place using the collected data. In an educational environment I'm more in favor of as many prople as possible getting to work with it rather than one man/one machine. Hands on experience is invaluable and water jets are simple to learn and use.
--

Dan

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