*Edited magazine name and website address
Using hi-tech industrial cutting techniques using only water and abrasives Nicole and Dwayne Epp have found a niche on Vancouver Island.
It also got their Central Saanich company, Eppic Waterjet, on a recent cover of Canadianl Industrial Machinery magazine after being in business on the Island for slightly less than a year.
“It’s perhaps the most advanced (machine) of its kind in North America,” said Dwayne, who with his wife Nicole moved to the Island from Saskatchewan after 25 years in the family business.
Running at up to 90,000 psi, the water cutter he uses can cut up to eight inches of steel and many other metals. The high-pressure water jets on the machine’s twin heads are injected with an abrasive that aids in the cutting. The pressure, Dwayne said, can be adjusted, depending on the material.
The process doesn’t just pound through the metal, either. It’s precise, Dwayne said, and can meet the tolerances of projects required by one of their clients, Viking Air.
“In Viking’s case, there’s not a lot of room for error,” Dwayne said. ‘But my machine is very accurate.”
The Epps made an investment of a half a million dollars for the water cutter. They say they weren’t afraid of taking such a risk, having a background in agricultural manufacturing where they used lasers in the fabricating process in their family company.
At their location on the Keating Industrial Area, Eppic Waterjet has plenty of room. They store forms and metal from their clients and when orders come in, Dwayne said their turnaround time is quick, thanks to their water jet.
“A big difference between us and other industrial cutters is our willingness to spend the time to meet our clients’ required tolerances,” Dwayne said. “We try to exceed that, if we can.
“Hopefully we can deliver product to the customer faster. We are willing to work hard and we’ve got the equipment to do it.”
Once the work is complete, the water used in the cutting process is recycled, Dwayne said. It’s in a closed-loop system where the water runs through a filter. The abrasive material is pumped out and sent to a nearby company for use in asphalt or concrete. The system, he said, saves around 300,000 gallons of water each year.
With room to grow in Central Saanich, Eppic Waterjet is slowly increasing its client base.
To learn more, visit www.eppicwaterjet.ca.