Medical firm opts for Mitsubishi

Although Friedrich Daniels Medical GmbH only opened for business in Aldingen, Germany in spring 2019, more than 20 machines are already in operation, including those for turning, milling, drilling, grinding and EDM. The company’s founders, Robert Keller and Andreas Wenzler, see themselves well equipped to act as full-range suppliers of medical instruments.

The company focuses mainly on instruments for surgical procedures and orthopaedic treatment of the spine. As a specialist in machining and, specifically, in EDM processes, Keller uses his knowledge to ensure that the company can also cost-effectively manufacture difficult components for medical instruments, at high rates of productivity.
Keller regards the wire EDM production process as one of the business’s essential core competences: “EDM is the only way to produce the intricate and sometimes complex contours required, especially for components used in medical instruments and accessories. This also applies particularly to the corrosion-resistant and high-tensile steel alloys used in medical technology.”
At Friedrich Daniels Medical GmbH, Keller was the driving force behind the acquisition of a Mitsubishi Electric MV1200S NewGen wire EDM with D-Cubes CNC control. The programmers and machine operators took only a short time to familiarise themselves with the technology, reports Keller. Notably, the app-like operating and programming interface on the touchscreen is much appreciated, particularly by younger professionals who are already familiar with this operating philosophy from their smartphones and tablet PCs.
“However, it is also possible to select the user interface of the previous Advance Plus control system, which allows the MV1200S NewGen to operate very flexibly,” says Keller. “The fourth, rotary axis also contributes to flexible use, enabling the machine to fully produce all conceivable geometrical details on a workpiece in several planes.”
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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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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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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.
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Sodick wire EDM reduces set-ups

A precision machining subcontractor has invested in its first Sodick wire-erosion machine, a VL600Q model supplied by Sodi-Tech EDM.

Berkshire-based Duckworth & Kent (Reading) Ltd, is using the machine to advance its wire-erosion capabilities, reduce the number of set-ups required, improve quality and repeatability, and introduce unmanned overnight operations.
“Our speciality is low-volume, high-quality precision components, often manufactured from a variety of difficult materials and with complex shapes that few others want to attempt,” explains sales director Stuart Gleeson.
The 15-employee business has relied on wire EDM for many years. However, when one of the company’s three wire EDMs recently required replacement, the company decided to evaluate a range of potential suppliers.
Reviewing three wire EDM machines, Gleeson quickly settled on the Sodick VL600Q, which seemed “a natural fit with the type of work” undertaken at the company.
“Unlike certain other machines, the generator on the Sodick model featured state-of-the-art technology,” he says. “In addition, we liked the rotary axis, which knew would help with complex parts. For instance, it’s already making light work of a lifting rod for the defence industry that is made from toughened steel. The rod features a series of diameters and squares that have to be concentric and straight to one another. There is also a thread and a yoke at the top for lifting. The rod is about 150 mm long and we recently produced a batch of 58 in a single set-up. Previously, this part would have required two EDM operations, or one EDM operation followed by milling and/or grinding. Saving a set-up probably equates to a cycle time reduction of one hour per part. So that’s 58 hours saved on one job alone, plus the quality is better as we avoid picking up the component and re-setting.”
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