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Burning a path to productivity.

Few technologies in metalworking have grown as fast as electrical discharge machinery (EDM). The last five years have seen especially dramatic and genuine changes in the ways EDMs cut, as well as the material and throughput possibilities.

Just citing a few of these innovations, which our company has pioneered and brought to market, gives you a sense of this advancement.

The onset of fuzzy logic has made a sinker EDM into a thinking machine tool. Actual burn conditions are assimilated into the program in real time, and adjustments are made automatically.

A workpiece manipulator and an on-board tool changer can change a single sinker EDM into a workstation setup, controlled by a local PC or networked to a host computer.

In a similar mode, a constantly changing work flow pattern can be maintained on 1 or 101 EDMs, owing to the equipment add-ons that are the rule rather than the exception for the cost- and time-conscious EDMer.

CFRP, (carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic) material has changed the face and the resolution of EDMing forever.

Anti-electrolysis power supplies can now eliminate rusting and inhibit corrosion and titanium bluing as never before on wire EDMs.

Unlike competitive EDM power supplies, which claim anti-electrolysis but provide only a partial solution to the problem, Mitsubishi's AE power supply is in a continuous "on" mode and achieves nearly a zero gap voltage, which effectively retards the corrosion and rust problems inherent with other EDMs.

Technical advantages of AE power supplies:

* avoids layer softening of steel;

* helps eliminate recast and white layer;

* stops cobalt binder degradation in carbide and other alloy materials, usually caused by DC current;

* eliminates bluing of titanium; and

* stops oxidation on low and medium carbon steels.

Cornering, one-pass cutting, and stairstep power jumping all make more intricate processing possible in a production environment.

When I look back on the state of EDMing and its user expectations just ten years ago vs today, it's amazing to see the changes that have occurred and continue to happen in many market segments.

Gearmaking, while still a hobbing world, is quickly re-evaluating the tolerance and time-to-finish advantages of EDM.

Moldmaking has almost entirely turned to EDM because of core-to-cavity fit and the undercut creativity facilitated by multiaxis EDMing, which no other technique can match. A CMM can read a part, upload identical or mirror-image programs to an EDM and a turning center, and produce parts to fit simultaneously.

Progressive dies can be made by EDMing in a largely unattended mode, with operators freed to do other jobs.

Increasingly, what we thought to be "production runs" and therefore unsuitable for EDMing simply make EDM sense, in light of the overall time-to-finish considerations coupled with workpiece manipulations paradigms.

Of course, hand-in-hand with the advancing EDM technology, cost considerations continue to pressure vendors for more documentation and proof of performance. Once again, EDM stands high on the scale of cost benefit.

We can show our customers how they save time in reducing manufacturing steps, save money vs machining centers, and remain more flexible in a multi-workpiece environment that emphasize short delivery cycles, whether the runs are large or small. They begin to appreciate all an EDM can do. That's neat to watch, frankly.

At this year's IMTS, we invite you to visit the EDM Pavilion, whatever your end product or job shop specialty may be. There's a new path to productivity and profit being burned, and the reason is one hot technology...EDM.

Stop by our booth (C1-5107) and I'll give you the whole story.

Bill Isaac Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Mitsubishi EDM, Wood Dale, IL
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Title Annotation:Mitsubishi EDM
Author:Isaac, Bill
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Aug 1, 1996
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