Follow the HVM Catapult trail at MACH

Comprising four stands across MACH 2020 (Birmingham NEC, 20-24 April) the HVM Catapult trail will demonstrate how companies can harness key Industry 4.0 technologies to improve their bottom line.


All seven of the HVM Catapult’s centres of innovation will be on display along the trail, with special features on the future of machining, additive manufacturing, digitalisation and automation. Dick Elsy, chief executive of the HVM Catapult, says: “Our team of specialists will be on hand across the HVM Catapult trail to help visitors achieve a step-change in company performance.”
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High-speed EDM wire introduced

New from Erodex, a specialist in the provision of EDM wire, wear parts and other EDM consumables, is an EDM wire that the company describes as the fastest available in the UK: Gapstar ONE. Working in partnership with Berkenhoff in Germany, the wire will enable users to achieve higher levels of cutting performance across a range of applications.

Brendan Kelly, technical sales engineer at Erodex UK, says: “We are excited about this new wire and how it can benefit the UK market. As well as increasing speeds by 40-60% compared with standard brass wire, and typically 10% compared to our boline H product, users will also see a significant increase in feed rates. This gain is achieved in both rough and skim cuts, without necessarily adjusting current settings. A further benefit is less wear of wire guides and power contacts, reducing downtime and, ultimately, cost. Thanks to Berkenhoff’s newly developed TRIMPAC coating, 0.25 Ra can be expected, as well as increased stiffness and straightness for automatic threading.”
Available from stock in tensile strengths of 900 and 500 N, Gapstar ONE is compatible with all brands of machines and comes in most spool sizes.
Says Kelly: “As with its predecessors, although Gapstar ONE is more expensive than brass wire, dramatically increased wire speeds and its ability to achieve the desired surface finish means more throughput and greater efficiencies. Users can expect savings of up to 40% compared with the topas plus H 2.0® range, for example. Simply using Gapstar ONE will enable these benefits to be realised, but we are also able to work with customers to optimise their machine settings and generate even better results.”
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Verus partners with Apex

A new partnership has been forged between Verus Metrology and Apex Metrology that will see the latter supply Verus’ bespoke metrology fixtures, along with its modular metrology fixture kit – V-FIX – for non-bespoke workpiece clamping solutions.

The venture also sees Apex become the latest member to join Verus’ Approved Partners Programme.
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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.”
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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.
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