Ranger employs robotic technology

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Ranger Boats has adopted a new “resource-conscious” manufacturing process with the addition of a custom JetTool water jet.

The Flippin, Ark.-based boatbuilder says the new robotic water jet will fulfill one of the factory’s least-popular jobs: cutting holes and lids into the fiberglass, interior deck components of the more than 40 different Ranger models.

“In the past, these interior deck compartments were trimmed by some of the hardest-working men and women in the factory — each dressed head-to-toe in protective gear — working with a variety of jigs and making the cuts with routers, saws and drills,” Ranger Boats president Randy Hopper said in a statement.

He said everyone benefits from the new robotic water jet: fellow employees get a cleaner work environment and the cost savings from improved efficiency help offset the rising cost of raw materials and the initial equipment investment. It also improves the quality of the finished product, according to the company.

The process begins once the boats are wheeled into the robotic water jet’s booth. Following an introductory calibration process where the machine uses lasers to measure the precise placement of the cutouts, the robotic water jet forces water at 60,000 psi through a near-microscopic nozzle opening, resulting in clean, uniform cuts. The jet trims the interior deck on each Ranger model, including all hatch and storage openings, precisely locating and drilling for deck hardware.

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