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EDM for jet-engine parts.

In 1989, Mears Machine Corp, Indianapolis, IN, was awarded a contract for long-production-run manufacture of complex engine components for a new jet fighter. The challenge for General Manager Roger Mears, and the others on the staff, was to meet the requirement for current production demands as well as the potential for future growth.

To meet specifications of this contract, Mears made a capital investment in six Elox EDM systems: five Heritage[TradeMark] CNC systems and one Workmaster[TradeMark] Model 45 manual EDM system.

"We went with Elox because they could meet our application and service needs," Roger Mears explains. We needed high-quality machine tools quickly."

The application referred to is the machining of engine components from a high-nickel alloy used in jet fighters. The firm needed machines that could meet production goals, quality specifications, and quantity-all at targeted operating costs.

The EDM systems had to meet several project criteria, including rigidity. Rain rigidity is important for three reasons," Mears explains. First, our workpiece required a through-cut on the X axis, and an orbiting finish cut using the Y and Z axes. Side-servoing in the YZ and XZ planes creates real problems for many EDM machines, especially when you take into account the second factor, the potential for cutting inaccuracies resulting from the hydraulic action of the EDM process.

"The weight of the precision ground Poco EDM C3 graphite electrode was another important factor. The major dimension of this copper-impregnated piece is 36". To achieve required quality, we had to have a rigid machine tool! "

The part required machining 500 slots 0.07" wide, .1011 long, and 0.07 through. Also, there are other grooves and openings. Machining this part involves 10 to 12 separate and distinct operations-all in a single setup," Mears explains. "The job requires tolerances to be held closer than +/- 0.001 5 , with a recast layer thinner than 0.0008". Although these criteria may not seem all that demanding, we must hold those tolerances over the entire part length of 36".

In addition to the five CNC EDMS, Mears decided to purchase a Workmaster manual EDM system. According to Roger Mears, "We needed a rugged manual EDM system for machining complex fixturing, pre-roughing, and other short production runs. Elox had proved itself with the Heritage CNC system, so the manual machine seemed a natural choice."

For more information about EDM products, contact Elox CORP, PO Box 220, Davidson, NC 28036 or cir346.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:electric discharge machining
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Jul 1, 1990
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