Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Waterjet or CNC?

Computer Numerical Control, or CNC, is a method of directing the operation of automated equipment. At PIW, the precision of a computer is joined with the power of our mills, plasma, lathe, and water jet. Unfortunately, the computer can’t do it alone, thus requiring human operators to deal with a variety of CAD/CAM software to get the job done.

Although water jet technology is not brand new, most people don’t know that the cakes and frozen chickens that they buy at the grocery store are probably cut by a stream of water jetting out of a tiny orifice at mach 2.

Our water jet is slightly different in that an abrasive mineral, garnet, is added to the water stream at the last moment. The garnet is no different than the grit in sandpaper or emery boards. However, this simple abrasive allows us to cut materials like 6″ steel plates!

Which materials can be cut?

paper | concrete | cork | foam | rubber| carpet | plastics| acrylic | granite | marble | aluminum alloys | copper alloys | nickel alloys | steel alloys | non tempered glass composites | ceramic and more to come

What are PLUS services?

Fully equipped plant with hand and automated tools to fabricate products in all metals, plastics, wood, and other materials.

• CNC 4 axis milling and drilling (3 VMC’s)
• CNC turning with auto bar feed
• CNC 3 axis Water Jets (5)
(5 tables, 12 heads 12’x12′, 6’x10′, 8’x30′, 4’x12, 6’x10′ (5 pumps) 525 total horse power) 
• NC brake forming (10 foot 110 ton, 8 foot 120 ton)
• NC shearing 3/16 x 14ft
• NC angle bar and tube roll, (4″ round, 1 x 4 bar 4×4 angle)
• NC pyramid plate roll (1/4 x 8′)
• assorted, notching, coping, drilling and punching machines)
• automated Buffing line 24″ x 120″
• manual polishing lathes
• full complement of polishing power hand tools for grain and mirror finishes
• automated sheet and part finishing 36″ wide
• automated spin polishing 3/16 round to 14″ round
• stud welding 1/8 to 3/4 inch (alum, stainless, and carbon)
• MIG, TIG, welding
• semi-automatic and automatic sawing (6 saws)
• mandrel pipe bending (Pines #2. 2″ SCH80 20′ & 40′ Mandrels)
• punching up to 6″ round (120 Ton universal ironworker)
• plate shearing (1/4 x 8′ steel in house) larger through supplier 
• spot weld up to 1/4″
• sandblasting and glass beading
• painting, thermal coating (metalizing)
• exotic finishes (patina, antique, etc.)
• satin and mirror polishing
• 3D computer modeling
• 3D routing
• 3D Printing
• prototype development (20 US patents issued)

Our two shops now have over 44,000 square feet of shop floor features: 

• indoor semi-truck loading/unloading
• indoor storage of materials and finished products
• 5 ton cranes for unloading and loading
• convenient Illinois & Michigan locations
• equipment for producing complex parts

No Job too big or too small!