"The main benefit is the reduction of material waste which occurs because our technology is able to cut materials of any shape and thickness using nesting optimisation. An additional benefit is to avoid causing any damage where the cut is made. We do not change the structure of the material that we use, whereas techniques like laser or plasma cutting drastically alter the properties of the material at the place of the incision."
Could we start with an introduction to the Energie Metal group and in particular Jetcut?
The Energie Metal group is made up of two different businesses, and currently employs over 120 employees and has an annual turnover of over €16 million. One of our companies manufactures metal sheets for non-aerospace applications, and the second, Jet Cut, provides water jet cutting services primarily for the aerospace sector, which generates 80% of its revenue. Water jet cutting is an alternative to other forms of cutting such as laser cutting, plasma cutting and sawing, whereby high-pressure water is used to cut metal and composite materials.
We introduced water jet technology within the aerospace industry in collaboration with Airbus and from here we have developed a very strong partnership with them which has extended into further projects. As the supply chain has restructured, we have seen a consolidation of businesses in this industry and as a result we are increasingly partnering with Tier One suppliers. Our main clients are composites parts manufacturers and other metallic subcontractors manufacturing titanium, steel, special alloys and aluminum parts through milling and forging technologies.
We have three main products that we use water jet cutting for: the first is aerostructure parts of an aircraft, the second application is for aircraft cabins, and the third application is aircraft engines.
What are some of the benefits of using water jet cutting over other forms of cutting?
The main benefit is the reduction of material waste which occurs because our technology is able to cut materials of any shape and thickness using nesting optimisation. An additional benefit is to avoid causing any damage where the cut is made. We do not change the structure of the material that we use, whereas techniques like laser or plasma cutting drastically alter the properties of the material at the place of the incision. As a result, nesting of water jet technology allows to drastically reduce material consumption.
We recognize that other technologies can be used in a very complementary way alongside water-jet to perform drilling or to reach tightest tolerances, so we have also integrated milling technology into our service offering.
How does water-jet cutting compare in terms of environmental sustainability and energy consumption?
We are very sensitive towards renewable energy and we have developed plants with autonomous energy. This is generated by over 1000 square meters of solar panels on the roof and we have geothermal drilling around the plant to allow heating in winter. We also collect water from the roof and the earth underneath our plant, which we then filter to use in our processes. We also recycle the main consumables in our process. In producing our own energy, recycling and using our own water, we are industry leaders in sustainability.
How do you ensure that your processes will be compatible with materials of the future for the aerospace industry?
We are constantly developing our technologies around new materials and we spend a lot of time and capital on R&D for new materials that could be used in the future. We also closely follow what the big producers of materials are doing in the industry and what are the big trends.
Do you anticipate any competition within this industry?
The water jet market is still very narrow but we anticipate competition to increase as demand increases, and so we are doubling the size of our plant in preparation for this. We have launched an ambitious investment plan to optimize product quality and productivity to offer the best service to our clients. We work closely with machinery manufacturers to stay one step ahead. We recruit talents in engineering, data analytics, manufacturing, supply chain and we reinforce our internal training efforts. We are further differentiated from our competitors by our extensive in-house development of tools and tooling, which offers a level of innovation that our customers cannot find elsewhere. Finally, we develop an end-to-end precut service offer integrating the supply of raw materials.
Do you have a final message for the readers of our publication?
Jet Cut is the European leader in water jet cutting services for metal and composite aerospace materials and is constantly developing and innovating in its field. We are ready to cope with the increase in demand in the global aerospace industry as we have amassed significant expertise working with aerospace companies in the past, and we look forward to building even stronger partnerships with a larger service offering in the future.