Georgia's Elan Precision, a part of Elan Motorsport Technologies Group, has gone high-tech in its effort to fabricate elaborate race car components in record time.
The company formerly used CNC machines to fabricate and cut components from materials like titanium, carbon fiber and aluminum. But the variety of materials it handled and the CNC's labor-intensive nature led Elan to ultra-high-pressure waterjet technology, which it says has increased productivity and cut setup time and material waste.
Elan says the waterjet, a Bengal 2×4 unit supplied by Flow International Corp., drastically cuts the time and labor needed to produce control arms, motor mounts, throttle bodies and a staggering array of other components. The waterjet can cut to tolerances of 0.0003 ins. (0.08 mm) on part of a half-inch or less and just 0.008 ins. (0.20 mm) for anything greater. Moreover, the powerful waterjet can complete a variety of cutting processes “all in one shot,” eliminating the time-consuming and labor-intensive part-turning required with its former CNC processes.
Also, since it's a cold-cutting process, Elan owner Kevin Keys says the waterjet allows production of small parts with no heat-affected zones or stress risers, which completely eliminates machining and hogging steps on the CNC equipment.