StM – Profitable sustainability

Allrounder PremiumCut with 3D cutting head. Image: StM waterjet GmbH
Allrounder PremiumCut with 3D cutting head. Image: StM waterjet GmbH

With its integrated sustainability concept, the Austrian waterjet pioneer is paving the way for SMEs to future-proof production to Industry 4.0 standards.

A manufacturing company that wants to keep up in the future is inevitably exposed to the issue of sustainability. The problem: For small and medium-sized companies, this is a Herculean task that requires a great deal of planning, foresight and knowledge in parallel with day-to-day business. Costs and benefits must be weighed, standards set, restructuring planned and employees sensitized – measures that are dangerously often postponed or not implemented in a concerted manner due to their complexity.

The Austrian waterjet pioneer StM has now created a solution to this problem with its “Green Philosophy”. It offers users holistic manufacturing concepts optimized for sustainability that combine profitability with maximum performance and flexibility. It thus opens up the possibility for companies to make production processes more economically viable without “blood, sweat and tears”, while at the same time minimizing negative effects on the environment and conserving energy and natural resources.

Almost any material can be cut with a water jet. Image: StM waterjet GmbH
Almost any material can be cut with a water jet. Image: StM waterjet GmbH

This is made possible by StM’s modular waterjet cutting system, which has been continuously optimised for decades in terms of sustainability and adapted to the latest requirements. Interested companies from the steel and stainless steel, aluminium, non-ferrous metal, plastics, stone, glass and ceramics processing industries can have this system adapted to their individual needs by experienced application engineers at StM and have processes demonstrated live – an upfront service that requires no investment.

This allows companies to evaluate the impact of new processes without any risk. In the end, you benefit from a solid and flexible “ready-to-use” solution that can be used 24/7 within a few days without any major training effort. With this partnership-based sustainability policy, StM ensures that the “Industry 4.0” standard does not have to be introduced at the expense of profitability and does not overburden anyone. For further information on the “Green Philosophy”, interested parties can contact the StM test centres in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

As a cold cutting process, waterjet cutting is energy-efficient per se. With StM Waterjet, this advantage is also supported by the design: StM waterjet cutting systems are consistently designed to be raw material and energy efficient as a “system that grows with you”, which can be adapted to changing cutting requirements at any time. Their service life is typically 15 years or more. The construction of a StM waterjet cutting system is low in vibration, very robust and at the same time designed for light weight (on average 1800 kg). This minimizes the drive power of the motors and maximizes cutting speed and cut quality. The electronic components are RoHS-compliant standard assemblies for which the manufacturer guarantees spare parts availability for at least 10 years even after production has been discontinued.

The thermally sensitive axis amplifiers are cooled by an energy-efficient, temperature-controlled air conditioning unit. This ensures a long service life of the components. All lamps and luminaires as well as pushbuttons are designed in LED technology. The electric motors of the high-pressure pump and the system components have efficiency class IE3. These energy-efficient asynchronous three-phase motors save energy during the entire service life of the StM waterjet cutting systems. In addition, StM uses – where it makes sense – electronic speed controls, which additionally increase the performance.

The high pressure pump has an oil-air cooler. Comparable high-pressure pumps from competitors require 12 litres/minute of water to cool the pump. All system components including the high-pressure pump switch off automatically after cutting or in the event of a fault in order to avoid unnecessary power consumption. In addition, StM waterjet cutting systems require only 50 litres/minute of compressed air for the control valves and no sealing air for the guides and drives – the market norm is up to 400 litres/minute per cutting head.

But even beyond the energy aspect, waterjet cutting “powered by StM” helps to save resources. It requires minimal labor and tooling costs. Material consumption is minimized by technical refinements such as infinitely variable abrasive dosing and efficient nesting of cutting jobs. With the StM SmartCut cutting software, workpieces can also be cut so efficiently and closely nested on raw boards that 10 to 20 percent raw material can be saved compared to conventional cutting processes. The scrap is minimal, especially with sensitive materials, that the tool cuts water without structural change or thermal stress.

Minimum storage, maximum recycling

The extreme flexibility of the waterjet cutting process allows users to react immediately to current demand and switch to just-in-time production. After all, a wide variety of materials can be cut without any changeover effort. Pure water and abrasive cutting are possible in parallel – regardless of whether 2D, 3D, tube or robotic cutting is required. This makes costly warehousing a thing of the past. Water jet systems from StM are also made of 90 percent steel and aluminum. These raw materials are 100 percent recyclable. Individual components of old systems can still be used in new acquisitions, as the StM module system is almost fully compatible. Seals and process water can also be reused, for example with the fully automatic “StM OneClean” reprocessing system for water and abrasive. All residual materials can be properly separated and disposed of.

Make production processes more economical while minimizing negative impacts on the environment and conserving energy and natural resources. Image: StM waterjet GmbH
Make production processes more economical while minimizing negative impacts on the environment and conserving energy and natural resources. Image: StM waterjet GmbH

Programmed for healthy management

StM’s “Green Philosophy” also has a social component that aims to keep work healthy. This is partly due to the fact that neither gases nor dust are produced during waterjet cutting and that noise pollution is moderate. In addition, the operation of a StM system is very convenient.

On the other hand, the system takes over the heavy and monotonous work as well as tasks that require great precision. This not only minimizes waste and errors – employees also enjoy their work more. With a standard PC and the intelligent StM software, drawings can be imported and cutting parameters defined in no time at all.

Cutting time and costs are calculated per order by the system, so that the production can be controlled at any time. Faults can be easily rectified by the user or by remote maintenance. Maximum safety is ensured by plastic hoods on Z-axles and cable tractors as well as a highly visible warning light.

StM Waterjet is a leading supplier of waterjet cutting systems with headquarters in Eben (Austria), Schweinfurt (Germany) and Reiden (Switzerland). For more than 25 years, the traditional company has been developing integrated manufacturing solutions, primarily for the steel, aluminium, metal, plastics, stone and glass industries, which are characterised above all by efficiency, ease of operation and wear resistance.

Since 2018, the company has also held the sole production rights to Bystronic waterjet cutting systems. StM stands for standard CNC gantry systems in all dimensions and for all applications. In addition to cost-effectiveness, standard quality and solution-oriented customer service, StM places particular emphasis on innovative modular system technology. In this way, the brand manufacturer ensures that the individual production processes of its customers can be continuously adapted to current requirements. The group employs a total of 70 people and is represented worldwide.