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Waterjetting Boosts TrailSkate Production

What do you get when you cross an inline skate with a mountain bike? The TrailSkate -- a rugged all-terrain skate that can tackle grass, gravel, and other surfaces that would stop ordinary inline skates dead in their tracks.

With knobby tires, a flexible chassis, and hand-operated hydraulic brakes, TrailSkates are perfect for adventurous spirits eager to go beyond where the pavement ends. These tough progeny of Grandma's roller skates are ideal for outdoors enthusiasts of all ages, as well as commuters looking for a gas-free and eco-friendly way to get to work.

Manufactured by GateSkate of Richland, WA, TrailSkates are poised to become the latest recreation craze. In fact, GateSkate recently invested in a Jet Edge abrasive waterjet cutting system to keep up with the growing demand for its unique product.

Pat Gates, owner and founder of GateSkate, said he is hopeful that his new Jet Edge waterjet system will help him increase production by allowing him to make skate components in-house. This increased productivity will enable GateSkate to fully serve the enormous recreation and fitness market -- a market that includes more than 7 million inline skaters.

Gates tried several methods before determining that abrasive waterjet was the most efficient method for his applications. Abrasive waterjet cuts with a supersonic stream of water mixed with an abrasive material such as garnet. The water is pressurized to 60,000 psi using a specially designed ultra-high pressure intensifier pump, creating a waterjet that can cut through anything. Gates uses abrasive waterjet to cut numerous parts, including composite skate chassis, rubber brake shoes, and aluminum brake brackets. He also is developing a side business cutting parts for other manufacturers. His Jet Edge purchase qualified GateSkate for a business development loan since it will increase manufacturing in the Tri-Cities area of Pasco, Richland/West Richland, and Kennewick, WA.

Gates researched several waterjet systems before deciding to buy from Jet Edge, Inc, of St. Michael, MN. In business since 1984, Jet Edge is a global designer and manufacturer of ultra-high pressure waterjet systems for precision cutting, surface preparation, coating removal, and hydro demolition.

"Jet Edge has a pretty good reputation in the industry, and regional sales manager Brad Schwartz was helpful," Gates said. "It also happened to be the largest table we could fit in the room."

Gates noted that his machinist quickly learned how to operate the Jet Edge system despite having no previous waterjet experience. Within a month of the system's installation, GateSkate had already contracted its first side project for an outside company.

Along with quality and dependability, ease of operation is something the GateSkate TrailSkate has very much in common with Jet Edge. The TrailSkate's wide tires and handheld braking system makes it more stable and easier to brake than traditional inline skates, whereas Jet Edge's legendary intensifier pumps and AquaVision Di motion controller make its waterjet cutting systems friendlier to maintain and easier to configure than other systems.

As GateSkate ramps up production with its Jet Edge waterjet, you can count on seeing more and more TrailSkaters rolling down the trails in your neck of the woods.

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