EDMs boost tool-making capability

The Teisnach facility of Rohde & Schwarz, a specialist in electromechanical assemblies, has installed two Mitsubishi Electric EDM machines from the MP Connect series to help boost the precision production activities of the plant’s tool-making department. Covering more than 74,000 sq m, the Teisnach plant is home to 1850 skilled workers and is considered the tool-making centre for the group.

Says Andreas Bauer, head of toolmaking: “To maintain a high degree of flexibility, we’re constantly reorganising our operations. This is also a reason why we keep tool making here a little separate and autonomous.”

Five wire EDM machines are in operation in the tool shop at Teisnach, mainly in the production of punching, bending and extrusion tools. The two new Mitsubishi Electric MP1200 Connect and MP2400 Connect machines are used mainly for stamping and bending tools.

“Using these two precision machines we can operate with high process security, while they also give us the required flexibility,” says Bauer. “Last year we decided to make a change in our wire EDM machines. We took a close look at the main suppliers and drew up a requirements profile with our entire team.”

All the pros and cons – as well as the sustainability issues – were examined. The price-performance ratio was also a crucial factor. Rohde & Schwarz paid visits to users and compared the technical data until the company was convinced that Mitsubishi would be able to supply the market’s best machines.

“We drafted our 2027 tool-making strategy back in 2017,” Bauer reports. “Last year we took the first big step and invested around €2m, among other things in the two Mitsubishi systems. In doing so, we gave new impetus to micro-erosion, micro-milling and micro-drilling.”

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Online customer training

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and associated protective measures, almost all planned customer training courses at Walter have had to be cancelled.

The company, which specialises in grinding and erosion machines for cutting-tool manufacture, is now reacting with an alternative programme that offers some of its customer training courses online as interactive live webinars. In the past weeks, the first online training day took place – a customer-specific basic and advanced course on the principles of program creation in Walter’s measuring software.

The trainer, equipped with a headset and an additional camera, stands in the machine demonstration room at Walter’s headquarters in Tübingen and speaks into a laptop. On the other side, customer employees are sitting in a separate room, all looking into their laptops at the same time. This is how some customer training courses at Walter currently look.

The participants of this particular course learn the exact procedure to measure a tool correctly with the software. In the basic training course, participants gain machine knowledge that they can use to expand their skills in practice day-by-day, while the advanced training course is aimed at participants who already have initial experience or some knowledge. In both courses, Walter teaches the customer efficient program creation in order to reduce unnecessary programming and program run times.

Walter’s online offer is an efficient supplement that the company will expand in the future. Online training from Walter not only saves travel expenses for the customer, but also valuable time, as employees can return to their normal tasks immediately afterwards.

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Micro-erosion drill unveiled

New from Sarix is the SX80 hpm Pulsar micro-erosion drilling machine.

Offering precision of ±0.002 mm and travels of 300 x 150 x 200 mm in the X, Y and Z axis respectively, the SX80 hpm Pulsar completes the range of Sarix micro EDM machines to bring about a cost reduction for those undertaking conventional hole drilling. Applications include fast hole drilling, start holes and high-precision 3D micro-EDM milling.

The simple SX-CNC allows, with several options, the evolution of the machine’s configuration up to multi-axis motion capability. Notably, the CNC is supported by SX-HMI for easy and user-friendly programming and editing, complete with direct-drilling macros and self-learning technology. Complex drilling tasks can be completed through efficient multiple hole-drilling sequences and multi-layer drilling.

Sarix’s SX-MPS Pulsar generator is said to open up new opportunities for faster, deeper, smaller and more precise holes. In fact, micro-EDM drilling technology with solid and tube electrodes can be achieved from 45 µm to 3.0 mm, while high-precision micro holes and shape holes can be produced down to 20 µm with an electrode wire-shaping device.

According to Sarix, high surface-finishing capability down to Ra 0.1 and Ra 0.05 can be delivered with the SX-MFPS micro-fine pulse shape generator.

Further attributes of the SX80 hpm Pulsar include automatic axis positioning control with hole-depth control; an automatic electrode re-feeding spindle with dielectric through-flushing for continuous production; and a breakthrough-detection device for micro-drilling.

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Small but perfectly formed

The AgieCharmilles Form E 350 is a compact, high-performance die-sink machine that is suitable for mouldmakers and precision component manufacturers. Even with what is described as the smallest footprint on the market, the machine boasts several design and performance features that will enhance a user’s competitive advantage.

For instance, a sturdy C-axis construction, cross table and cast-iron frame offer high stability and force reduction, which helps maintain a precise spark gap between the part and the electrode. Furthermore, regardless of part weight or dielectric volume, the machine is said to deliver consistent accuracy. Integrated glass scales preserve long-term accuracy and repeatability, and eliminate the need for recalibration and errors associated with traditional ball-screw systems due to backlash and wear.

The latest-generation Intelligent Speed Power Generator (ISPG) on the Form E 350 delivers high surface finishes and accuracy, and helps overcome common EDM issues and challenges, such as excessive and costly electrode wear, by up to 25%. Machining speeds are also increased by up to 40% when using the ISPG, while corner wear is reduced by 50%. Workpieces up to 800 x 500 x 265 mm can be accommodated.

Designed for high efficiency, the machine features a programmable dielectric management system with a 270-litre capacity integrated inside the cabinet. This system fills and empties the work tank without human intervention to keep production flowing, and is easy to access for routine maintenance.

The machine is equipped with the user-friendly AC Form HMI, which is based on a standard Windows platform and offers interactive graphical assistance so that all operations, such as measurement and machining cycles, are illustrated by graphics/icons for fast understanding and ease-of-use.

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New faces at Precision Micro

Chemical etching specialist Precision Micro, which also offers wire EDM services, has strengthened its operation with two key appointments into the positions of director of procurement and quality systems engineer. The Birmingham-based business has recruited Andrew Scott and Sue Guilmant to drive forward its strategy and ensure continued high-quality production and customer service.

Combining wire EDM with photo etching means component profiles can be cut to tighter tolerances and achieve unique characteristics such as tapered edges. Wire EDM also enables the profiling of thicker, surface etched components to 3 mm.

With more than 30 years’ experience in purchasing across a variety of industries, Andrew Scott, director of procurement, will initially focus on further improving customer responsiveness. Alongside Scott, Susan Guilmant brings extensive experience from the automotive sector.

Building on Precision Micro’s advanced set-up, Guilmant will take the company’s quality system to the next level, managing continued regularity in line with critical industry accreditations to ensure the business remains at the forefront of the industry. With recent re-accreditations received, including IATF 16949 and ISO 13485, Precision Micro is a key supplier to the automotive and medical industries.

Ian McMurray, managing director of Precision Micro, says: “The events of recent months have made for challenging trading conditions, particularly in the manufacturing sector. While we’ve faced some difficult decisions in that period, these appointments signal a positive step forward for our business and boost the specialisms of our team at a critical time.”

He adds: “With their many decades of experience, Andrew and Sue will bring a great deal of expertise to our team, ultimately enhancing our ability to meet the highest of customer expectations in a marketplace which is experiencing significant change in the wake of COVID-19.”

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