Monday, February 14, 2011

Christian Art Studio Waterjets Artwork in Stone, Metals, Lumicor® Resin Panels

In a unique fusion of faith, artistry and manufacturing technology, Living Water Studios of Kent, Wash., has found an enduring new purpose for its parent company’s industrial water jet cutting machines. These high-tech machines, which normally are abuzz cutting titanium aircraft parts and other components at the Pegasus Northwest water jet shop, have found a second calling sharing the water jet company’s Christian faith through stunning works of art.

Sequestered in a quiet loft not far from Pegasus Northwest’s five pulsing Jet Edge waterjet cutting machines, Living Water Studios is a surprising respite within an otherwise bustling manufacturing facility. The Christian art studio opened in late 2009, the inspiration of Pegasus Northwest President Tim Schober, who wanted to share his faith through artistic signs fashioned from a sister company’s unique architectural resin product, Lumicor®. Lumicor is a translucent material made from R4 recycled resins that incorporates natural elements such as leaves, reeds, grass, silks, metal and glass as an inter layer.

Living Water Studios makes its Lumicor signs by cutting small panels out of Lumicor, which is pre-drilled on the waterjet to prevent delamination, then hand cut with a router. To minimize material waste, the studio uses pieces of Lumicor that have been salvaged from flawed panels, cutting around the flaws. It uses a vinyl plotter to apply Christian sayings or humorous expressions to the surface in vinyl lettering, creating works of art that appeal to the eye as well as to the soul or funny bone.

Since launching its initial Lumicor products, Living Water’s creative team has expanded its product line under the artistic direction of designer Konstantin Voyevodin. The studio now offers “Statements in Stone” rock art that has been “chiseled” in stone by a 60,000 psi computer-controlled waterjet cutter as well as metal artwork that breathes new life to remnant material from the water jet shop that otherwise might have been scrapped.

Nothing is wasted in the waterjet shop, not even the worn-out work surface slats from the waterjets themselves, says Ron Palstring, general manager of Pegasus Northwest and Living Water Studios. Living Water Studios has cleverly repurposed its waterjet slats as rusted metal artwork, saving them from the scrap bin.

“We have been doing a lot of experimenting here,” Palstring noted. “It’s amazing what you can come up with when you have five brains working on it. We have a lot of customers who like the look of rusted metal, so the slats were a perfect choice. We took a look at a few designs, made some samples, and everyone loved them!”

Palstring credits waterjet technology for allowing Living Water Studios unlimited artistic possibilities.

"The waterjet is limitless,” he said. “We can design Statements in Stone rock art that weighs 50 pounds and is 1foot long or we can get creative and use 500 pounds rocks that are 5 feet long. It is because of the waterjet that we are able to create unique products that you cannot find anywhere else.”

Living Water Studios artwork is available at The company also sells its products at Christian gift shows around the country and plans to sell through retail stores and churches as it continues to grow. Its recycled water jet slat artwork will be available soon on

Find Out More

Living Water Studios - or call 253-398-2122

Pegasus Northwest - or call 253-854-5451

Lumicor® - or call 1-888-LUMICOR (586-4267)

Jet Edge - or call 1-800-JET-EDGE (538-3343)

About Jet Edge

Established in 1984, Jet Edge is a global designer and manufacturer of waterjet systems for precision cutting, surface preparation and coating removal. Jet Edge systems are used around the world in a broad range of industries, from the world's leading airlines to automotive, aerospace, industrial manufacturers, machine and job shops. Jet Edge waterjet systems are proudly made in the U.S.A.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Water Jet Contractor AK Services Cuts 55-Inch Access in Nuclear Waste Storage Tank to Speed Cleanup of Radioactive Waste from Manhattan Project, Cold War

Water jet contractor AK Services made history recently by cutting the largest-ever access hole in an active U.S. Department of Energy radioactive waste storage tank at the DOE’s Hanford Site in southeastern Washington. The Boston-area water jet contractor cut a 55-inch diameter hole in the top of the underground tank to allow for the installation of a robotic system that will remove 247,000 gallons of radioactive and chemical waste stored in the tank during the Manhattan Project and Cold War so it can be vitrified for safer storage.

Battling freezing temperatures and the challenges of running remote-controlled ultra-high pressure water jet equipment from a 300-foot distance, AK Services used a specially engineered abrasive water jet cutting machine to make the huge cut through 15 inches of concrete and steel rebar in just 22 hours. They performed the cut at 8 inches per hour using an abrasivejet of garnet grit mixed with 3 gallons per minute of water pressurized to 48,000 psi with a Jet Edge waterjet intensifier pump.

The finished cut is the culmination of more than a year of careful planning and preparation by AK Services and Hanford Site Tank Farms prime contractor Washington River Protection Solutions to ensure worker safety and protection of the environment, said Kent Smith, WRPS deputy manager of retrieval and closure operations.

AK Services spent a year developing the water jet cutting system for the project and testing different abrasives to get consistent data for rate of advance and garnet usage, said Carl Franson, AK Services vice president of operations.

“The motion device had to be specially developed to secure itself inside a 75-inch steel riser and cut a 55-inch hole,” Franson explained. “We also needed to be able to level the motion device to make sure it did not drag the abrasivejet focusing tubes on the concrete surface.”

AK Services engineered a three-piece stainless steel motion system with two circles separated by guide bushings with a ring gear in the middle. The ring gear features four redundant Jet Edge High Flow Abrasivejet cutting heads in case of failure and is driven by a set of reduction gears and a drive motor to achieve the proper cutting rate. Pneumatically actuated rams are placed on the sides and bottom to level and secure the system.

“We were able to do the entire cut with the one lead cutting head,” Franson noted. “We used a Jet Edge High Flow Abrasivejet cutting head with a Roctec 100 focusing tube rather than the standard tungsten carbide and we ordered diamond orifices from Jet Edge to ensure the longest life possible.”

Once the system was in place, the cut itself was easy according to Franson, though not without challenges.

“The biggest challenge was running the equipment from 300 feet away,” he said. “The tank top is in a radiation area and entry to the area is regulated to the extent that anything that enters the tank farm must be scanned and cleared prior to being released out of the fenced-in restricted area. The pumps and control systems had to be outside of the restricted area to ensure they did not become contaminated with radiation and then becoming the property of the DOE. We also had the added challenge of winter weather, so we installed air dryers and used air line antifreeze to keep the system from freezing up. The UHP lines were kept running, but as the temperatures dropped, we blew them out with air.”

After the concrete plug was lifted from the tank, it was immediately wrapped in a plastic sleeve to prevent spread of contamination and then was placed in an isolated area where it is being staged for disposal at the Hanford Site. A large riser was placed in the hole to support the robotic retrieval system. According to the DOE, the riser has a shield plug bolted to its opening and thick gasket material around its outside to seal the hole. The DOE plans to begin retrieving waste from the tank this summer. The tank is one of more than 100 similar underground tanks that the DOE is cleaning out as part of its environmental cleanup effort at the Hanford Site, which was once home to nine nuclear reactors that produced plutonium for the Manahattan Project and the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Hanford is considered the most contaminated nuclear site in the U.S.

More Information

For more information about AK Services, visit or call 617-884-9252.

For more information about Jet Edge, visit, call 1-800-JET-EDGE (538-3343) or 763-497-8700.

About Jet Edge

Established in 1984, Jet Edge is a global designer and manufacturer of waterjet systems for precision cutting, surface preparation and coating removal. Jet Edge systems are used around the world in a broad range of industries, from the world's leading airlines to automotive, aerospace, industrial manufacturers, machine and job shops. Jet Edge waterjet systems are proudly made in the U.S.A.