At the micron level - EDM

3 min read

GF Machining Solutions hosted its GF Solutions Days Europe 2018 event during April. The company revealed latest news and product information, with EDM developments among them

GF Machining Solutions (GFMS – held the event at its ‘Center of Competence’ in Schorndorf, Germany. On the EDM side, the new, intelligent AgieCharmilles Cut P 350 and Cut P 550 wire EDM series were highlighted and were hailed as “offering limitless possibilities, in terms of speed, flexibility and quality”. The 550 model has X, Y and Z travel of 550 by 350 by 400 mm (max workpiece, top load, 1,200 by 275 by 400 mm) and the 350’s figures are 350 by 220 by 220 mm (max workpiece, top load, 1,000 by 150 by 220 mm).

Also unveiled were the new AgieCharmilles Form X 400 and Form S 350 die-sinking solutions, which “position users to meet every challenge with greater flexibility and machining accuracy”.

First the Cut P series, though. From producing a surgical tool weighing only a few grams to machining a six-ton die-casting mould for automotive use, every detail of the AgieCharmilles CUT P series is designed to help manufacturers expand their business opportunities, says the company. The new, state-of-the-art Intelligent Power Generator (IPG) increases cutting performance by 20%, for example.

Completely adapted for System 3R’s tooling and automation solutions, the series helps users optimise their machine uptime. In addition, running costs are minimised by an array of innovative capabilities, such as Automatic Slug Welding (ASW), Automatic Slug Management (ASM), ECO machining and an improved Econowatt function. This translates into reduced time to market and faster production at lower costs.

The mechanical design, together with the thermostabilisation and machining repeatability, deliver accuracy down to 2 micron and yield surface finishes down to Ra 0.08 micron. Advanced taper accuracy below 10 seconds with straightness, sharp contours and no lines is now easily obtained with the AgieCharmilles Cut P series’ Expert systems. At the same time, the claimed unique collision protection system prevents costly machine maintenance and ensures long-term accuracy and reliability. On top of that, the retractable 3D probing system delivers the faster set-up and complete automation to drive success in complex parts’ manufacturer, says the firm. All these benefits – including the 600+ available technologies made possible by the new, cutting-edge IPG – allow manufacturers to cut their costs by up to 20%, it is claimed.

Smart and connected solutions in line with Industry 4.0 take in wire having integrated radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips to eliminate the risk of errors. They support fast replacement of consumables, avert breakdowns, minimise stock and ensure complete process traceability. At the same time, System 3R’s WorkShopManager and CellManager software take process administration and surveying to the next level. eTracking digitises process monitoring, as well as traceability, and GFMS’ rConnect suite of modular digital services keeps manufacturers connected to their machines anytime – wherever they are. Moreover, AgieCharmilles Cut P solutions increase tooling life, reduce scrapped parts, advance quality control and decrease manual intervention need.

Also unveiled at the event were the new AgieCharmilles Form X 400 and Form S 350 die-sinking solutions, which “position users to meet every challenge with greater flexibility and machining accuracy”. The Form X 400 has a unique mechanical structure, comprising a machine column made of polymer that includes a system that compensates for temperature variations.

Temperature stabilisation is achieved by cooling the X-, Y- and Z-axis glass scales and also the Z-axis ballscrew, using stable temperature dielectric. A fixed table with an automatically lowered work tank, allowing easy loading of heavy work pieces, as well as a modular automation system, are other features for this 400 by 300 by 350 mm travel, 900 by 630 by 350 mm worktank machine. There is a larger Form X 600, too, with a 1,280 by 1,040 by 450 worktank.

Both machines aim to “ensure a new degree in competitiveness, due to their simplification and automation of the highly technical processes around the production of moulds and components”. For example, the new AC Form HMI puts customers in the driver’s seat by making die-sinking EDM an intuitive, easy-to learn and easy-to-use process. The standardised working environment “makes it easy to achieve perfect machining results”.

The Form S 350 is aimed at manufacturers of electronic components, with car the market specifically targeted. Says the company: “By 2020, intelligent cars will be a major contributor to electronic component industry growth: most cars shipped globally will have the hardware to stream music, look up movie times, generate traffic and weather alerts, and even power driver-assistance services like self-parking.”

GFMS says that the new machine achieves highest accuracy and surface finishes, and can produce micro profiles down to 50 microns. It also offers the smallest gap in automatic mode, down to a few microns, while there’s low electrode wear per part – up to 50% better. The latter is achieved via the Intelligent Speed Power Generator (ISPG). Situated close to the part, the generator optimises machining efficiency by eliminating lost power issues. ISPG also supports new three-dimensional surface (3DS) texturing technology. Axis travels are 350 by 250 by 300 mm, with maximum workpiece dimensions of 790 by 530 by 300 mm.

AC Form HMI features again, as does technology that flushes out particles from cavities. Setting this solution against linear motors, the company says it “facilitates evacuation of particles in cavities, thanks to the pulsation speed, without flushing and without deformation of the cavity” and that it is a distinct plus for applications such as connector technology, ribs or micromachining.

First published in Machinery, July 2018