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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