Slug management made easy

GF Machining Solutions says that its new Automatic Slug Management (ASM) makes true uninterrupted and unmanned wire EDM operations a reality.

Left to their own devices, slugs will fall on to the lower head of an EDM machine. This effect can cause a crash or trigger alerts that cause the machine to stop. To aid prevention, CAM programs include ‘tabs’ to keep the slug connected to the workpiece during machining operations. Once completed, operators remove the tabs and slugs, but such manual intervention prevents true unmanned operation. At best, manufacturers can achieve rough cutting of parts overnight, but will need to wait until operators are available to remove the slugs and run trim and finishing passes.

With ASM, manufacturers can machine parts (roughing and finishing) overnight, and the technology is particularly suited to die-stamping applications and other small cavity operations. The process begins with a complete roughing pass that leaves no welds or tabs but sees the machine’s lower head prevent the slug falling into the tank while a device retrofitted to the upper head descends; this blows high-pressure air over the slug, which creates suction and allows the slug to be pulled from the part and deposited away from the machine.

Although ASM is slower than the manual alternative, the fact that it requires no human intervention means that manufacturers can load up machines at night with raw material and return the next morning to completed components.

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