Wire eroder retires after 30,000 miles

The first-ever wire-erosion machine installed at A&M EDM has reached the end of its working life after 17 years, and is now being decommissioned for spare parts. Company bosses estimate the machine has used over 30,000 miles of wire during its time in service, the equivalent of flying from the West Midlands to Sydney three times.

Founded in October 2002 in Smethwick, West Midlands, A&M EDM began with just two employees. The Sodick A325 CNC wire eroder was the company’s first purchase.
Co-founder of A&M, Arthur Watts, recalls the first time he used the machine to wire jigs and fixtures for a manual hole burner, which is still in use today: “Decommissioning the A325 is a milestone for A&M; it’s been an incredible workhorse and it feels like a close colleague is leaving. This machine produced a consistently high standard up until its ‘retirement’, helping us grow to our current capacity of 29 EDM spark and wire machines, sales of over £6m, and 70 employees.”
The A325 wire eroder has repaid its purchase price many times over, spending an average cutting time of over 4,000 hours in each of its 17 years in service. Thousands of jobs have been completed, ranging from simple heading dies to precision aerospace and motorsport components.
Watts says: “When we bought the A325 it was a top of the range wire eroder that could hold its own against any competition. We’ve now replaced it with a new Sodick ALC600G, which we hope will give us the same incredible service.”
For further information www.amedm.co.uk

Smart wire technology unveiled

Smart EDM wire technology equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips that enables manufacturers to fully exploit the potential of their AgieCharmilles Cut P wire EDM machines and, simultaneously, achieve Industry 4.0 level process control, has been released by GF Machining Solutions. The company’s premium wires featuring RFID chips facilitate greater process continuity and traceability, as well as improved process performance.

Due to Smart wire’s monitoring capabilities, the machine operator always knows how much wire is available for current jobs. The moment a spool of Smart wire is installed, the Cut P machine recognises and ‘logs’ the wire length. As a result, the operator knows, at a glance, the status of the wire spool and whether there is enough wire to complete the cutting operation without stoppages or interruptions.
Simultaneously, wire traceability is enhanced by the information in the machine report, which includes date of manufacture, type, lot and expiration date. Users of Smart wire can be confident they are using the optimum wire for every job because the technology checks and assesses the wire selected, and optimises the performance of the machine accordingly.
A wide range of Smart wires is available to suit different requirements. For example, if the machining priority is surface quality, GF Machining Solutions’ AC Cut AH 900/500/400 and AC Cut A 900/500 Smart wires are recommended. However, to achieve improved productivity, AC Cut VS 900+, AC Cut VS 900/500 and AC Cut D 500 Smart wires are the option to choose, while if maximised cutting speeds are required, AC Cut VH Smart wire and AC Brass 900/500/400 are offered as the solution.
For further information www.gfms.com

TaeguTec launch event at ICC Birmingham

On 17 March, TaeguTec will be bringing its ‘Emerald’ branding to the ICC in Birmingham, marking the UK launch of the SFeedTec series of cutting tools for drilling, milling, turning, grooving and parting-off.

SFeedTec is said to offer speed and feed technology that marks a quantum leap in innovation. The event that will be hosted by IMC Group president Jacob Harpaz, who will highlight the technical features and application benefits of no fewer than 30 new product lines.
With ever-higher productivity levels expected by industry, SFeedTec is said to break the realms of convention with radical new tool designs, insert geometries and never-before-seen insert grades. At the heart of the new SFeedTec brand is a focus on increasing the speed and feed rates of cutting tools to maximise productivity, reduce cycle times and extend tool life.
For further information sfeedtecseminar@taegutec.co.uk

Second Makino die-sink EDM at BM

Although recent years have seen the increasing prevalence of hard milling at Whitchurch-based toolmaker and plastic injection moulding specialist BM Injection, there will always be a place in its tool room for EDM technology, with both die-sink and wire-erosion machines in use.

To take advantage of the latest EDM capabilities, the company recently decided to introduce a second spark-erosion machine, ordering a Makino EDAF3 HEAT from UK agent NCMT, which at the same time supplied a Makino five-axis machining centre.
“Our latest Makino die sinker is compact and 100% reliable, even on demanding jobs,” states director Tim Combes. “Furthermore, the machine is capable of producing parts to accuracies measured in low single-figure microns. The level of intelligence built into the machine means that one toolmaker can operate both of our die-sink machines and the Makino five-axis machining centre. Deep ribs can be produced quickly, reliably and with low wear on graphite electrodes. Constant attendance for manual intervention to avoid the onset of arcing, for example, is not required due to the spark gap monitoring and arc prevention circuitry.”
BM Injection’s machine was supplied with Makino’s optional high energy applied technology (HEAT), which incorporates dual high pressure capability, digitally controlled flush pumps and a large capacity, four-step filtration system to provide fast machining speeds and accuracy, even under poor or difficult flushing conditions, says NCMT.
Offering capacity of 450 by 351 by 351 in the X, Y and Z axis respectively, the latest EDAF includes a newly developed flushing control and increased feed rates up to 5000 mm/min in X and Y.
For further information www.ncmt.co.uk

First of a Kind 2020 seeks this century’s Brunel

Organisations developing cutting-edge technology focused on making rail journeys faster, cleaner and greener could receive a share of £9.4m to bring their ideas to life.

The Department for Transport is working with Innovate UK to launch the First of a Kind 2020 competition to accelerate innovation in rail. Now in its fourth year, the competition will help transform rail travel for passengers and decarbonise the network. Last year saw 124 innovators apply for a share of £7.8m, with 24 projects receiving funding of between £250,000 and £350,000. Entries for this year will be accepted through to 11 March.
For further information https://is.gd/zeveba