When a Minnesota-based manufacturer wanted to fabricate an expansive array of  material handling products—including screw conveyors, screw feeders, and bucket elevators for their global client base yet also expand its own capabilities as a job shop for their local customers, they turned to Jet Edge to find the right tools for the job.
Laser-cut parts often prove too expensive to be practical investments, but today’s waterjets are proving they are powerful enough for metal cutting and also precise enough for softer materials. Also, although waterjet cutting is a process many manufacturers are familiar with from contracted or outsourced jobs, Jet Edge has been making these tools affordable for a range of industries to bring on-site, where they can find greater productivity in their shops as well as greater quality in their parts.
#304 stainless steel screw conveyor trough flanges and round inlet and discharge flanges. They are all ¼ inch (6.35 millimeter) thick. (Photo courtesy Anderson-Crane Company)
Anderson-Crane Company, a world leading material handling equipment manufacturer, has installed a Jet Edge waterjet cutting system at its fabrication facility in Litchfield, Minnesota.  With its new waterjet system, Anderson-Crane is now capable of cutting complex finished-quality parts from virtually any material. Anderson-Crane Company manufactures a wide variety of material handling equipment, including screw conveyors, screw feeders, and bucket elevators, specializing in custom projects. Anderson-Crane conveyors are used around the world to move everything from chocolate to taconite.  The company also fabricates hoppers, bins, and gates.
In addition to manufacturing its own products, Anderson-Crane operates as a local job shop, building structural equipment for local businesses and molds for the plastics industry. It also offers metal repair services. Founded in 1950 as an offshoot of its Minneapolis-based sister company Anderson-Crane Rubber Company, Anderson-Crane Company has been steadily growing its fabrication facility and capabilities for more than sixty years.
Company spokesman Rob Crane attributes his company’s growth and customer loyalty to its commitment to quality and its expertise in manufacturing custom material handling equipment.
“Anderson-Crane has become recognized as a leader in quality in the material handling business, delivering products with a very high attention to detail and finish,” Crane says.  “We have decades-long customers that include Fortune 500 companies and major multi-nationals. We pay very close attention to our products’ fit and finish, assuring all dimensions are precise and weldments are cleaned.  Customers call on us when they have a special conveyor design that can’t be found in a catalog. We treat our customers’ projects as unique equipment that deserves close attention to detail and quality.”
These parts are now always cut on the waterjet, and go straight from the waterjet table to the welding production line with no cleanup in between required. (Photo courtesy Anderson-Crane Company)
This meticulous attention to quality is what compelled Anderson-Crane to install a precision waterjet cutting system, Crane notes.  Before installing its water jet, the company had been cutting parts on a CNC plasma machine and outsourcing work to waterjet shops.
“Due to our high demand for quality, we have spent a lot of time cleaning parts that come off our plasma machine,” Crane recalls.  “We decided to buy a waterjet because of its clean cut; our goal is to reduce rework and part cleaning time.  We wanted a system that cut parts with little or no edge cleanup required. A laser proved too costly and a waterjet allowed us to cut metal (our main working material), but also softer material such as gasket. We had been outsourcing waterjet cutting and were always satisfied with the edge quality and easy assembly of its finished parts. With the waterjet we’re able to move from raw material to finished parts in as little time as possible while improving our products’ quality and precision.”
Anderson-Crane’s new waterjet cutting capabilities will help the company maintain its competitive edge, Crane adds.
“Manufacturers in the material handling industry do not focus on the same level of quality as we do,” he says. “Adding a waterjet to our fabrication process set the quality bar even higher. Our goal is to minimize the time it takes to go from raw material to assembly. As we implement this, we’re striving to consistently deliver a product with outstanding quality.  We’re setting Anderson-Crane even further apart in an industry where quality and workmanship are often afterthoughts.”
In addition to improving its own products, Anderson-Crane also plans to grow its job shop business by offering waterjet cutting services.  It plans to cut primarily mild and stainless steel and occasionally rubber gasket and UHMW.
Anderson-Crane’s Jet Edge Mid Rail Gantry waterjet system features an 8 foot by 13 foot (2.4 meters by 4 meters) work envelope and SigmaNEST® Companion CAD/CAM nesting software to maximize material usage.  It is powered by a 60,000 psi, 50 horsepower Jet Edge iP60-50 waterjet intensifier pump.  The system features an eco-friendly Ebbco closed-loop water filtration and chilling system that prolongs waterjet component life and reduces water consumption and sewage fees by recycling water.
Anderson-Crane decided to buy its waterjet specifically from Jet Edge for a variety of reasons, Crane notes.
“Jet Edge’s proximity to our shop is a unique benefit,” he says. “Being close to the manufacturer for support and training is important to us. We also wanted a dual gantry design, which we see as a more robust design than cantilever models offered by other waterjet firms.” ■
Nancy Lauseng is the marketing manager for Jet Edge, a global designer and manufacturer of waterjet systems for precision cutting, surface preparation and coating removal. For more information about Jet Edge, visit www.jetedge.com, or call 800.JET.EDGE (538.3343) or 763.497.8700. For more information about Anderson-Crane Company, visit www.screw-conveyor.com or call 800.314.2747 or 612.359.3535.
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