The aim was to find a machine capable of processing tall, submerged workpieces, explains managing director Martin White. He says: “We could process up to 270 mm in height using our existing EDMs, but occasionally we get asked to produce taller work, which we would end up subcontracting, thus reducing the profit margin.”

White adds: “We had four Sodick EDMs on site, with the two oldest models dating back 20 years. The machines had been very reliable and were simply in need of replacement. In truth, we had overlooked our EDM capability for a while, as we were concentrating on our investment in new milling machines and automation.”

He adds that because the market is currently very price-driven, operations need to be lean. With this in mind, he opted to inject new investment into the company’s EDM capability. At the time of commissioning in November 2015, the Sodick AG600LH Premium was only the second in the UK, the other being located in Scotland.

“Another huge benefit we find with using Sodi-Tech EDM is that it does not release a machine ready for production until it can deliver the specified cutting times. As a result, when we quote for a job based on the time given by the machine, we know it’s correct. This is vital when you are quoting for jobs that might involve 60-hour cycle times – we could lose a lot of money, if the estimate turns out to be inaccurate,” states the managing director.

The speed of the new machine has certainly made a difference to EDM cycle times at Anotronic, where hard tool steels such as D2 are now processed at least twice as quickly as previously. White concludes: “One long-running job producing tapered cutting dies for the food industry, which essentially take up the entire capacity of the machine’s working envelope, used to take 14 hours on the previous machines, but now requires just six hours, without any compromise in precision. The speed, linear 4-axis motion and generator technology has moved on tremendously.”

This article was published in the July 2016 issue of Machinery magazine.