We’ve written before about the advantages of wire EDM machining in mold making. Before getting started on your next project, there are several factors to consider for optimizing EDM productivity.
First, it’s time to reevaluate the kind of wire you’re using. Most operations use standard brass wire for cost-effectiveness, but this is limiting in several respects. For instance, coated or stratified wire, while costing more than plain wire, can boost rough-cut speed by 20-30%. For uncomplicated-single cut jobs brass wire is a good solution, but for high speed, rough cut, coated will save you time and money in the long run. Another timesaving wire option is enriched zinc/brass alloy coated wire. This type is much less prone to breakage and offers up to 25% faster cycle times than standard brass wire.
Taking the time to optimize your setup fully can pay off in the long run. For example, using a larger blank will provide better clamping areas, speeding up setup. The hours saved on setup time offsets the nominal amount of extra material cost. From a job cost-effectiveness perspective, since the setup is a significant portion of the job cost, wiring an additional blank insert can serve as a useful project timeline insurance for a small fraction of the cost, especially with new projects when scrap rate is difficult to predict.
Another area to look at is machine control technology. If you’re planning to upgrade, this should be an especially important consideration. New controls enhance productivity in a variety of ways. By emulating a smartphone interface, they reduce training time by providing an instantly recognizable starting point for anyone new to machine setup. Emphasis on control design has reduced the number of keystrokes required to set up an operation with greatly simplified programming procedures. Other control systems and newer wire EDM machines link to IoT networks opening up features like automated performance monitoring and maintenance schedule.
“Optimizing workflow also has a significant impact on keeping your EDM machines in good running condition. We found that shifting workload from milling centers to wire machines will not only add a nice balance in your machine time to keep schedules on track but also in reducing more extended interruptions in your EDM machines runs, which can sometimes have an impact on moving components and water seals.” – Cos Tataru, Director of Engineering.
In conclusion, while there are many ways to improve your EDM machine productivity, keeping a good cleaning and maintenance schedule will save you in the end. Clean water is indeed one of the most critical factors in many wire EDM systems. Cheap filters allow dirt through which effects spark transfer – slowing cutting speed, worsening surface finishes and increasing the chance of wire breakage. If you do anything, keep your machines clean!
To learn more about Laszeray’s wire EDM expertise and other capabilities, contact our representatives by calling 440-582-8430 or click here to request more information.