Reinforcing Plates: Hydro-Abrasive Machining Inc., Los Angeles
MCM Group wanted a smooth, clean edge on the metal plates that are welded into place to help reinforce its motorcycle frame. And that’s what Hydro-Abrasive Machining turns out.
The family-owned company, founded in 1947 as a heavy machinery demolition and scrap metal business, uses a fine garnet powder suspended in a stream of water under extreme high pressure to cleanly slice through exotic metals that can be damaged by the heat generated with other cutting methods.
The company’s smallest machines can cut delicate filigree work. Its biggest, dubbed “Jake” and “Elwood” after the Blues Brothers characters created by Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi, can handle large sheets of metal up to five inches thick.
Though it has had years of aerospace subcontracting work, Hydro-Abrasive has never abandoned the civilian markets--company President Michael L. Woolman says his $2 million in annual sales come from work as varied as manufacturing critical parts for the B-2 bomber, metal cutout letters for store signs, ornamental grille work for a ride at Disney World in Florida, metal sculptures for commercial artists, “and little jobs like MCM’s,” which netted the company less than $1,000.
“MCM was referred to us by another company that couldn’t do the job because it was too small,” Woolman said. “But with our machines we don’t have to build tooling or fixtures, so we can take really small jobs.” And if MCM keeps making motorcycles, Woolman said, “we likely will keep cutting plates for them.”