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Laser & Waterjet Profiling
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A global increase in demand for its ability to produce precious metal contacts and contact materials encouraged Samuel Taylor Limited (STL) to recently invest £160,000 on two new AgieCharmilles EDM machines and an additional £30,000 on LogoPress software and training that seamlessly integrates with the company’s existing SolidWorks 3D platform.
“We worked on the two Diamond Jubilee bank holidays,” says Alastair Gordon, Samuel Taylor’s managing director. “Over 80% of our work is exported and as most of our customers are abroad they don’t stop just because the UK is on holiday.” To meet those demands Samuel Taylor has invested heavily in new equipment which enables it to design and make high quality progression tooling considerably faster than before.
The GF AgieCharmilles machines – a new CUT 2000 wire EDM and a new DRILL 20, represent the latest in advanced EDM technology.
The CUT 2000 has a small footprint – essential for STL – and has been designed for micro-machining and high precision applications. It is equipped with a multitude of integrated features including a rigid machine base and precise measuring systems (glass scales) for lifelong and repeatable accuracy. The choice of Agie again follows from STL’s older generation Challenge machines which are the backbone of its toolmaking facility. “Good service over the years makes the choice easier,” Mr Gordon explains.
The new CUT 2000 has a universal single wire guidance system allowing the use of all wire diameters, from 0.3mm down to 0.05mm, which extends the flexibility and productivity of the machine. The machine is also equipped with GF AgieCharmilles’ third generation Automatic Wire Changer – again essential for STL for its lights out operations.
The machine features the IPG (digital) generator which, by carefully monitoring, controlling and adjusting the energy of each spark, delivers excellent and homogenous surface finishes. The incorporation of a Smoothsurf module produces a mirror finish and eliminates secondary polishing operations. “STL is running a large R&D project with the machine using carbide and the results of the finish are very impressive,” Mr Gordon adds.
The new machine uses the powerful and flexible CNC Vision 5 control system. Supplied with a number of SMART modules, the control eases and speeds-up job set-ups and ensures a reliable and trouble-free machining process.
The Drill 20 is the latest generation of small, highly productive EDM Drills from GF AgieCharmilles and the first fast hole burner that STL has acquired.
The hole drill machine is designed for drilling parts in a range of materials including hard materials such as hardened steel or carbide. Its drilling capability ranges from 0.3mm to 3mm diameter through a depth of 200mm. Particularly simple and easy to use, the integrated three axes’ (X, Y, Z) numerical control makes it possible to program a series of holes for fully automatic machining. This will result in the ability to carry pre-hardened stock blocks to help cut tooling leadtimes.
Both machines are DNC linked for ease, reliability and speed of data transfer and, together with the SolidWorks and LogoPress software, the company says it can significantly improve and speed up the progression tool design and manufacturing process. “We have slashed the time required to make progression tools by half,” Mr Gordon enthuses.
Part of reason that Samuel Taylor can reduce leadtimes with the new machinery and software is because it is now making greater use of virtual manufacturing. The ability to create virtual progression tooling and simulate how it will perform means it can reduce waste and save time. “We can simulate all the required parameters for the tooling before any metal is cut – ensuring a right first time approach to tool design.”
Additionally Samuel Taylor has hired another highly skilled toolmaker to ensure that the machines and the software meet expectations and to help with the mentoring of the STL apprentices.
GF Agie Charmilles