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Nanoker's Strategic Investment in Micro Waterjet Technology Secures Lucrative CERN Tender

CERN Accelerator

Nanoker Research S.L, a Spanish company specialising in technical ceramics, successfully secured a substantial contract from CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, by strategically investing in micro waterjet cutting technology. This move not only elevated Nanoker's position in the value chain but also opened new avenues for growth and innovation.

Seizing the CERN Opportunity

For Nanoker, working with CERN meant dealing with specific requirements characterised by high technical content and competitive pricing. Sergio Rivera, the Product and Business Development Manager at Nanoker, explained, "With CERN, we have different kinds of supplies. Sometimes they send us orders for parts in small quantities, and sometimes they launch tenders open source, which is public information."

Having successfully participated in previous tenders with CERN, Nanoker identified a new opportunity related to a material called aluminium nitride, crucial for detectors. This led to a the launch of a market survey to produce 50,000 parts. After the initial market survey, CERN identified two potential suppliers, Nanoker being one of them. 

“The technology for cutting the parts was specified to be micro waterjet cutting technology and it was mandatory that the company applying for the tender have the technology in-house,” commented Mr. Sergio Rivera.

Sergio and Alain

Picture: From Left, Mr. Alain Lennquist, CEO at Scandinavian representative KG Fridman AB and Mr. Sergio Rivera, Product and Business Development Manager at Nanoker Research S.L

Investment in Micro Waterjet Technology

To meet the stringent requirements of the CERN tender, Nanoker embarked on a journey to find the right micro waterjet cutting machine. They contacted various companies for estimations and samples. Recognising the need for in-house capabilities, Nanoker decided to invest in a micro waterjet machine.

The collaboration with their Scandinavian representative KG Fridman AB and Water Jet Sweden played a pivotal role in this endeavour. Alain Lennquist, CEO at KG Fridman AB, engaged Water Jet Sweden to cut test parts for Nanoker to get technically homologated.

To do this Tony Rydh, founder and CTO at Water Jet Sweden AB, with more than 40 years’ experience of waterjet cutting explained: “We quickly realised that these parts needed to be cut with the fine abrasive micro waterjet technology. Since it is impossible to do calculations on a completely new material without test cutting, we contacted on of our clients in Sweden who has a machine that is specially designed and built for micro waterjet cutting. With their machine we could make some samples and perform cutting tests.”

Mr. Christian Svensson, Regional Sales Manager at Water Jet Sweden explained further, “This client had recently bought a NCM 10 Micro waterjet machine equipped with our Alphajet TVL cutting tool, since the parts needed a combination of fine abrasive waterjet and taper angle control, their machine was perfect for the task.”

Nanoker and one other company were homologated by CERN for the supply, but Nanoker was more competitive in the bid so this successful collaboration resulted in Nanoker securing the CERN tender. “In CERN once you are homologated technically it is best value for money that wins. The lowest cost solution will get the tender. But first you must be homologated,” summarised Mr. Sergio Rivera.

Micro Waterjet cutting with Alphajet TVL cutting tool

Picture: In the middle Mr. Christian Svensson, Regional Sales Manager at Water Jet Sweden, showing parts from Micro Waterjet cutting with Alphajet TVL cutting tool.

Optimising Waterjet Cutting for Technical Ceramics

Tony Rydh

Following the tender win, Nanoker then faced the challenge of finding the optimal micro waterjet cutting machine for high-tech ceramic parts. In 2022, Alain Lennquist approached Water Jet Sweden for price estimations and technical specifications for cutting parts in a new technical ceramic material.

Tony Rydh, founder and CTO at Water Jet Sweden explained the importance of using fine abrasive micro waterjet technology for these specific parts.

“This time we needed to be more specific and developed an ‘optimised machinability index’ for their material - a measure used to classify a material and its machinability. To create an optimised machinability index, you begin with defining all available tool settings and process parameters, such as pressure, abrasive flow, type of abrasive, orifice size and focusing tube. You cut straight tracks where you, in small steps, adjust one parameter at a time. The setting where you cut the longest distance with the finest cut defines the index. You can often spot it visually,” said Tony.

Example of a part cut with micro waterjet technology

Picture: Left – Cutting tests to produce an Optimized Machinability Index for the new ceramic material. Right – Example of a part cut with micro waterjet technology.

Another benefit from the index-exercise was getting precise measurements of the angular deviation. With these measurements you can calculate how much angle compensation you need to meet the tolerance requirements. In a waterjet specific CAD/CAM software there is a list of TVL cutting tables available for the most common materials, but when you have a completely new material you need to create your own tables.

After getting the index each drawing was analysed based on starting point, surfaces needing extra fine tolerance or less important surface roughness, to make the most efficient cutting program for each part. When optimizing the cutting program like this, the total cutting time will be significantly reduced, improving overall profitability of the fabrication.

Selecting the Right Micro Waterjet Machine

There are some waterjet machine manufacturers in the world that offer different kind of “micro cutting waterjets”, but after some market research there were only two suppliers with the technology required, i.e. true fine abrasive waterjet cutting with taper angle compensation capability.

“In the end the only possible suppliers were both from Scandinavia,” tells Mr. Alain Lennquist. “That’s why the project was led by us, being the Scandinavian representative of Nanoker. We also evaluated a waterjet supplier from USA. They have a good representative in Spain, but couldn’t fulfill the fundamental technical requirements. We identified a supplier in Switzerland too, but there were some uncertainties with that company, so we decided not to pursue,” explains Mr. Lennquist.

Alain Lennquist, CEO at Nanoker

Mr. Alain Lennquist, CEO at Nanoker Scandinavian representative KG Fridman AB was leading the purchasing project.

The two selected suppliers were evaluated via test cuts and time studies. Both companies delivered correct parts, but in a slightly different manner.

“It is simple to fabricate 4-5 parts but to repeat and make thousands of parts with consistent quality is something else,” explained Mr. Tony Ryd at Water Jet Sweden. “High volume means much greater demands on both the machine and the fabrication process,” Tony continued.

To prove repeatability of both the machine and cutting process Water Jet Sweden presented a pre-series of 400 parts instead of just a few parts. Every tenth part was evaluated in an electron microscope, measuring tolerances in hundredths of a millimetre and Ra-value for surface finish, to ensure requirements were met.

“When scaling up the volume our procedure identified variations in the material. This also helped Nanoker to fine-tune its own manufacturing process and achieve a more consistent quality of the ceramic material,” said Tony Ryd.

The NCM 10 Micro machine offers unique features tailored for fine abrasive waterjet cutting, ensuring high precision and efficiency. Equipped with the Alphajet TVL cutting tool, it became the preferred choice for Nanoker's advanced industrial micro waterjet processing.

Implementation and Future Prospects

In the spring of 2023, the evaluation was finalised, and the Water Jet Sweden NCM Micro machine with Alphajet TVL cutting tool was chosen.

“We are proud to be chosen as a supplier for this project, tells Mr. Tony Ryd. We strive to be the obvious first choice for customers worldwide who seek solutions in water jet cutting where high quality, high technical content and high service standards are the basic elements.”

The Water Jet Sweden NCM 10 Micro Machine

NCM 10 Micro, a high precision cutting tool for fine parts and micro components

NCM 10 Micro, a high precision cutting tool for fine parts and micro components

The NCM 10 Micro machine has a number of unique features compared to traditional waterjet cutting machines:

  • It is designed for Fine Abrasive waterjet cutting with 230-240 mesh abrasives and 200-400 micron focusing tube.

  • It has software controlled abrasive feeding to sense feed rate, blockage and critical level in abrasive buffer.

  • The table frame is made of an epoxy resin concrete for excellent stiffness, accuracy and absorption.

  • Both X and Y motion systems has Renishaw Invar Scales with extremely low expansion coefficient and high resolution.

  • It has a palletised cutting table with a wide range of fixturing possibilities. The Nanoker machine was equipped with a set of fixtures frames which some are optional features today.

  • The stainless-steel catcher is rubber suspended to avoid vibrations. The catcher is also equipped with cooling elements to be able to control water temperature.

Alphajet TVL cutting tool and customised fixtures.


In the autumn of 2023, Nanoker implemented the new micro waterjet cutting station at its site in Spain, rapidly scaling up production to meet the demands of the CERN contract. This strategic investment in micro waterjet technology not only secured Nanoker's position as a CERN supplier but also positioned them as leaders in technical ceramics innovation.

As Nanoker continues its journey in the technical ceramics industry, the integration of advanced micro waterjet technology ensures precision, quality, and efficiency in meeting the demands of high-tech applications.

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About Water Jet Sweden

Water Jet Sweden develops, manufactures and markets advanced solutions for water jet cutting and provides a quality aftermarket offer with service and parts. Since 1993 they strive to be the obvious first choice for customers worldwide who seek solutions in water jet cutting of high quality and high technical content.

For more information on how we can increase your throughput and reduce your processing costs with our world-leading water jet cutting technology or to get a quote on any of our waterjet cutting machines just call us on 01937 845499 or send us an email to info@wjsuk.com