Michael Waltrip Racing Installs Jet Edge Waterjet System
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ST. MICHAEL, Minn. (March 17, 2008) -- Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) and Jet Edge, Inc., announced today that MWR has installed a Jet Edge precision waterjet cutting system at its fabrication shop in Cornelius, N.C. MWR plans to use its Jet Edge system to cut parts for its three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams and NASCAR Nationwide Series team.
MWR and Jet Edge also announced their new technical partnership, which will give MWR access to Jet Edge's latest waterjet-cutting technology and position Jet Edge as a leading waterjet technology supplier to the $19.5 billion performance racing industry.
"All of us at Jet Edge are very excited about our new partnership with Michael Waltrip Racing," said Jet Edge President Jude Lague. "We are very proud that MWR chose Jet Edge to meet their precision waterjet cutting needs. It is quite an honor to know that our system will be used in building a winning NASCAR team."
Founded in 1996 by two-time Daytona 500-winner Michael Waltrip, MWR started out as a modest NASCAR Nationwide Series (formerly NASCAR Busch Series) team. It entered the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (formerly NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series) in 2004. Last year, MWR made NASCAR history when it became one of three full-time operations to debut the Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series. Toyota's backing made it possible for Waltrip to build a 140,000 sq. ft. shop to house his multi-car Toyota Camry teams and to achieve his lifelong dream of opening an 11+-acre interactive family destination for racing fans, Raceworld USA. MWR's drivers include Michael Waltrip (#55 Cup), Dale Jarrett (#44 Cup), David Reutimann (#44 Cup and #99 Nationwide), Michael McDowell (#00 Cup) and Josh Wise. When Jarrett retires, Reutimann will take over the #44 car and McDowell will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in the #00 car at Martinsville Speedway.
With construction of its new fabrication shop completed, MWR has begun increasing its in-house manufacturing capabilities, explained Dr. Eric Warren, MWR's vice president and technical director. One of its first steps was to acquire waterjet-cutting capabilities that have become essential to NASCAR teams as they race to fabricate parts under extremely tight deadlines.
MWR selected Jet Edge's 4X8' High Rail Gantry waterjet system to meet its waterjet cutting needs. Powered by a 50hp, 60,000psi Jet Edge iP60-50 intensifier pump, the fully 3-axis programmable system features dual Permalign II abrasive cutting heads on a 4' spreader bar that are capable of cutting complex parts out of virtually any material. The system is equipped with a Digital Readout for Multi Head Positioning that digitally displays cutting head positions, eliminating manual measurement, as well as a pneumatic drill for automatic pre-piercing of materials prone to delamination prior to cutting them with waterjet. It also features SigmaNEST® CAD/CAM nesting software developed by SigmaTEK Systems, LLC, of Cincinnati, Ohio, plus a Closed Loop Filtration System and Abrasive Removal System manufactured by Ebbco Inc. of New Baltimore, Mich., and a Bulk Abrasive Storage System manufactured by GMA Garnet (USA) of Houston, Texas.
"As we scale up our manufacturing capabilities, the Jet Edge waterjet system is a vital piece of manufacturing equipment that is extremely useful to our company," Warren said. "Before having the Jet Edge waterjet system to cut our parts, we were outsourcing and that was costing us a lot of time and money. Having the Jet Edge waterjet system in-house helps us from a financial standpoint and it also expedites the process in turning our parts around, which makes it a must-have technology. I think more major race teams will end up adding the Jet Edge waterjet system to their operation."
MWR builds about 14 cars per team each year (approximately 56 total for four teams), which includes the three full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams (the #00 Toyota Camry, #44 UPS Toyota Camry, #55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry team) and the NASCAR Nationwide Series team (#99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry).
"Seventy-five percent of the car is manufactured in-house and 20 percent of those parts will be cut with the Jet Edge waterjet," Warren noted. "Some of the items that Michael Waltrip Racing will cut with the Jet Edge waterjet system include chassis parts, duct work, crush panels, windows, support boards and foam to name a few."
Waltrip said he chose the Jet Edge system based on the St. Michael, Minn., company's reputation for quality products and service.
"When we decided to add the waterjet process to our machining capabilities, everyone at MWR agreed that it was of utmost importance to bring in the most accurate, dependable system available," Waltrip said. "That's why we chose Jet Edge. In our business, time is our most precious commodity so ease of maintenance was also a critical requirement. The Jet Edge system satisfied all these requirements and reinforced them with a well-staffed service and support team. MWR is proud of its technical partnership with Jet Edge. Their precision systems will enable us to perform to a higher standard as we race forward."
Warren said he was particularly impressed with Jet Edge's accuracy and repeatability.
"The Jet Edge waterjet system is widely known for extremely accurate cuts with a high degree of repeatability over a wide range of materials," Warren said. "And in our business, that is exactly what we need because we have various materials we need cut for our NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series cars. It is crucial for our waterjet system to be precise, accurate and dependable. Higher quality parts will ultimately lead to improved performance."
Warren noted that Jet Edge's 24/7 service also is very important given MWR's demanding schedule.
"Michael Waltrip Racing is a 24/7 performance-based company," he said. "If something goes down in the middle of the night, we need instant response and that is something that Jet Edge can provide. Service technicians are available 24/7, 365 days a year and that was a critical factor as to why we added the Jet Edge waterjet system."
MWR already has put their Jet Edge system to work making horizontal splitter panels now required by NASCAR to provide front down force. They made their first panel in less than 13 minutes, including waterjet cutting and milling time.
"It didn't take me long to learn the system," said Jeremy Vanderleest, MWR waterjet operator. "The Jet Edge waterjet system is precise, easy to use and we can cut almost anything with it. There is also the repeatability factor, which is extremely important to us. The machine allows us to cut under water, which cuts down on noise and allows for a clean atmosphere."
For more information about Jet Edge, visit www.jetedge.com, call 1-800-JET-EDGE (538-3343) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Michael Waltrip Racing, visit www.michaelwaltrip.com. For more information about Raceworld USA, visit www.raceworldusa.net.