Be a winner at the XYZ open house

Visitors to the opening event at XYZ Machine Tools’ new showroom in Slough on 12 July will have the opportunity to win the use (on loan for six months) of either a ProtoTrak SMX 2000 turret mill, an SMX 2500 bed mill or a ProTurn SLX 1630 lathe.

Every company represented at the open house will be entered in the draw. XYZ will deliver and commission the machine, and the successful company will also receive the usual allocation of training from XYZ Machine Tools to maximise the benefit of the prize.
The winner will then have full use of the machine for six months, the equivalent of 1000 hours of free CNC production. At the end of the loan period, the machine can be collected or an order can be placed to keep it. Of course, special arrangements will be made for any visitor who places an order for a ProtoTrak or ProTurn machine on the day, only to be declared the winner, so that they too can benefit from the draw. Those intending to visit the event are asked to send an email to the address below.
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Erodex celebrates 20% growth

Erodex, a specialist in the provision of EDM supplies, graphites and graphite machining, is celebrating 20% growth over the past 12 months, following a period of substantial investment.

The company has invested a total of £1.75m in machinery and premises as part of an expansion strategy which has included record orders for a newly formed tool room and diversification in product ranges. The growth is the third year in a row that the company has set record levels for total revenue, and includes the company bolstering its workforce with an additional 17 employees.
Director Steve Rolinson says: “We are extremely pleased with the progress of the company over the past 12 months, not only with regard to the ongoing success of the new tool room following our investment in that, but also in increased market penetration for the provision of our graphite materials and EDM supplies.
“We are on a constant journey to help our customers improve processes,” he continues. “For example, we recently reached an exclusive agreement with Houghton International to handle all UK distribution for their dielectric EDM fluids. For 15 years we have been supplying a product made in Canada called Commonwealth Dielectric EDM 244 and Super Supreme. The company producing that was acquired by Houghton and the production of that dielectric has now been brought back to the UK. We are extremely pleased that Houghton demonstrated such confidence in us by establishing our own exclusive agreement with them.”
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50% productivity boost at Neptune

Hertford-based Neptune Engineering has continued investing in the latest Sodick die-sink technology by acquiring a new AD35L machine from Sodi-Tech EDM. Offering up to 50% more speed than the machine it replaced, the Sodick AD35L has eliminated a bottleneck and delivered important extra capacity to this progressive toolmaking specialist.

“Due to increasing order books we were encountering a bottleneck in our die-sink EDM processes,” states managing director Gary Statham. “We had an ageing machine that needed replacing, so the decision was taken to invest. Having had such good performance from our existing Sodick machines over the past five years, we decided to return to Sodi-Tech EDM.”
As luck would have it, soon after the AD35L had been installed, a significant order arrived from one of Neptune’s electrical industry customers for a series of six-cavity injection moulds. The tools are used to mould domestic plugs, sockets and switches for a major electrical brand.
“The timing could not have been better – as the new Sodick is at least 50% faster than the machine it replaced, we have been able to process the tooling much quicker,” says Statham. “Our new Sodick machine will be busy on this work for a number of months to come.”
Each mould tool and insert is complex, as plugs, sockets and switches typically contain features such as compound curvature, blended radii and freeform surfaces. The cavities and inserts produced by the new Sodick AD35L are all manufactured from tool steels such as H13 to tolerances within ±0.01 mm. Moreover, the company typically seeks a ‘zero finish’, essentially a polished surface which does not require any secondary operations; a factor that is readily accommodated by the AD35L.
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Warwick to focus on Excetek

Following “an exceptional 12 months of business” with repeat/new customer orders and enquiries for the range of Excetek CNC wire-cut machines, Warwick Machine Tools will go forward concentrating exclusively on providing pre- and post-sales and service support for the brand in the UK and Ireland.

However, existing UK customers with ONA EDM machines will continue to be supported.
National sales manager Andrew Kilshaw explains the rationale behind the decision: “We have had an exceptional long-term relationship with ONA, supplying and supporting customers in many industry sectors, and we will not abandon those customers with older and more recent ONA EDM machines as we have the most technical experience and expertise to support them in the UK. However, the continued growth of Excetek demands our full focus and the tough decision was recently taken to end the business partnership amicably.”
Dudley-based Electro-Discharge Limited provides a good example of customers returning to WMT for further wire EDM capacity from Excetek. The company now has three of the latest generation Excetek CNC wire cut machines, which were installed to operate automatically at speed, to close tolerances in a ‘lights-out’ environment. Electro-Discharge now has two Excetek V650Gs and a smaller V400G CNC wire-cut machine.
General manager Rupin Vadera says: “Although we were aware of the Excetek range, we didn’t initially fully appreciate the capability and functionality offered. We arranged a demonstration at Warwick Machine Tools’ showroom and everyone was impressed with both the build quality and performance. The price-to-performance ratio is exceptional. The three new VG series machines are in addition to two larger V850G machines installed here last year.”
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PCD tooling firm relies on Vollmer

Integral to the success of the PCD tooling division at Guhring’s £12m manufacturing facility on Birmingham’s Advanced Manufacturing Hub is the company’s Vollmer QWD750 and QWD750H wire-erosion machines.

Guhring UK’s national sales manager Dave Hudson says: “The Guhring manufacturing plant runs three shifts for 5½ days a week, while the automation level of the Vollmer machines in the PCD department only requires two shifts per day. This labour saving is credit to the Vollmer machines and our lean manufacturing processes and workflow scheduling.
“For example, our QWD750H has a 12-station tool facility that is robot loaded; this allows us to set up simple, short-run cutters during manned shifts while more time consuming and complex tools run overnight,” he adds. “In parallel, our manually loaded Vollmer QWD750 wire-erosion machine will be loaded with standard PCD tools during manned shifts, with complex five/six-fluted or stepped tools loaded overnight. Some of these special tools may require 18+ hours of wire erosion, permitting long periods of automated lights-out or weekend working.”
It is clear that the Vollmer QWD machines are central to the output, precision and quality of Guhring tools.
“Manufacturers increasingly require multi-function and often multi-stepped cutting tools to reduce processes and cycle times, and improve quality and process stability,” says Hudson. “This is particularly true of OEMs and companies in high-volume environments. To serve these customers, some special tools will have more than 18 to 30 PCD segments that are stepped along the tool shank. The Vollmer QWD machines are extremely precise and will hold a 5 µm tolerance in our temperature-controlled building with no problems. This tight-tolerance capability eliminates tool-grinding processes in many instances.”
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