MoldMaking Technology

AUG 2018

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Case Study / EDM 38 MoldMaking Technology —— AUGUST 2018 By Cynthia Kustush Action Mold and Machining: The name embodies the mission and the slogan of the veteran-owned, Grand Rapids, Michigan- based company, which states, "For quick-turn repair and engineering changes, we are your 'Emergency Room for Molds.'" The company is known for fast service, so when it became clear that the current EDM machinery was not capable of keeping up with the speed of busi- ness in the mold industry anymore, Action Mold and Machining (Action Mold) invested in its first Sodick machine, an AG60L sinker EDM machine. That was five years ago, and Lead EDM Operator Bob Valk says, "With all of the past machines on which I have worked at Action Mold and previously, Sodick surpasses other brands in speed, setups, ease of maintenance and reliability." Linear Motor Equals Better Burning Valk has more than 30 years of experience as an EDM opera- tor and says that he has worked on several high-end EDM machines, but Sodick Inc. is the brand that stands out for high productivity without failure or the need for constant supervision. It is for this reason that Action Mold invested in a second Sodick product, an AG100L sinker EDM machine, two years later. "It has increased our burn times by 25 to 30 ACTION MOLD AND MACHINING PROBLEM: Slow travel speeds in the X, Y and Z axes, inefficient setups and higher maintenance, premature electrode wear and other difficulties that prevented unattended machining. SOLUTION: AG60L and AG100L sinker EDM machines from Sodick Inc. RESULTS: Significantly faster setups and burning speeds, less maintenance, the ability to run unattended without failure and notable cost savings on materials. Linear-Motor Drive on Sinker EDM Machine Speeds Productivity percent," Valk says. "Setup time is substantially faster because the linear motor travels are so much faster." He explains that Sodick's EDM machines use linear motors that run on magnetic plates instead of ball screws for travel, and that has allowed for faster travel speeds in the XYZ axes. "There are no gears that have to move together to move that table, which is the case with ball-screw action. The linear motors react faster and more smoothly," Valk says, adding that EDM machines using ball screws also take longer to set up. "With the ball screws, the machinist has to jog that table to indicate a block to get it set up properly, which takes a lot longer than with the Sodick linear motor. The Sodick tables do not move, adding stability to the machine, and the machinist can put the indicator in the upper head, and the head moves back much more quickly." He adds that a station- ary table also enables the user to put a heavier block of steel onto it without hindering speed. If the table moves, as it does with ball-screw action, an excessively heavy workpiece could cause damage to the EDM machine. According to Sodick Inc.'s Additive Business Development Manager Evan Syverson, the Sodick feed rate is 94.5 inches per minute. He says, "Additionally, in the Z-axis direction, a Sodick EDM machine has a 120-feet-per-minute jump speed." Valk says that the faster jump speed is significant because it This Sodick Inc. AG60L Sinker EDM machine significantly increased the speed at which Action Mold and Machining is able to set up and burn workpieces and then run them unattended without failure. The EDM machine also helps the company economize on materials and requires less main- tenance from the team. Note the tool-changer carousel to the right of the tank. The company has since added a Sodick AG100L Sinker EDM machine to its EDM arsenal for burning larger workpieces. Image courtesy of Action Mold and Machining Inc.

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