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Sodick wire EDM helps Westcut engage aerospace market
Sodick wire EDM helps Westcut engage aerospace market
Sodick wire EDM helps Westcut engage aerospace market

Sodick wire EDM helps Westcut engage aerospace market

Added to MTDCNC by Sodi-Tech on 11 February 2015
Westcut Engineering, a leading supplier of manufacturing services to customers across the UK, is using its investment in a new Sodick SLC600G wire EDM to help boost the company’s appeal to the aerospace and defence sectors. Installed by Sodi-Tech EDM at the company’s Melksham facility in August 2014, the investment was supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.
Established in 1985, Westcut Engineering has grown to become an established and trusted manufacturing partner to a host of blue chip customers. With origins in toolmaking, more recently the ISO9001:2008 accredited company has diversified into numerous specialist fields, including pressing, machining, EDM, prototyping and even waterjet cutting.
"Many industries have found our wire erosion machining can offer major benefits due to the very close tolerances that can be maintained," says company Director, Richard Poulton. "However, with this new investment I feel we can attract more work from sectors such as aerospace, defence, Formula One and nuclear. Using the Sodick SLC600G we can produce very complex shapes that would otherwise be difficult to produce with conventional milling techniques. We are also able to process hard materials to extremely close tolerances, as well as very small workpieces that might be damaged by conventional cutting tools due to excess pressure."
The thinking behind the investment is to boost accuracy for both current and new customers, which in turn will lead to technically better products.
"We already have Sodick wire EDMs but they are rather old, "says Mr Poulton. "Looking around at new machines we could see the technology had changed massively. While we considered a number of different models, we wanted to stay with Sodick because of the good relationship we had built with Sodi-Tech and the excellent service they provide."
Three operators at Westcut are trained to use the Sodick SLC600G, a machine that offers Sodick’s digital Smart Pulse generator and linear motor system, along with the latest HMI featuring 19-inch touch screen colour control. Courtesy of the linear drives, the machine comes with a 10 year guarantee for positioning accuracy. It has been set to work producing mainly finer wire machined parts for aerospace industry customers, often from materials that include titanium and aluminium. Batch sizes are in the realm of 10-100 off.
"Although the machine is busy producing aerospace parts, we want to attract more, as well as Formula One components and work for the nuclear industry, "says Mr Poulton. "The latter is particularly interesting due to the developments at Hinkley Point, which isn’t that far from here".
Essentially, the 18-employee company will tackle any complex parts demanding accuracy. Mr Poulton says that the ability of the machine to produce glass-like surface finishes is another potential benefit for customers. Furthermore, loading the machine with multiple components simultaneously (size permitting) and the ability to run unmanned overnight (thanks to automatic re-threading in the event of wire breakage), means highly cost effective parts manufacture.
"Our wire EDM production is much more reliable with the Sodick SLC600G, and requires far less operator intervention, "he says. "We also have greater confidence in the accuracy, while programming is now easier. All of these things aid efficiency and mean we have a much better offering for our customers. Ultimately, the installation of the Sodick and our investment in other machines is one of Westcut's competitive advantages. We recognise the need to improve on a continuous basis to deliver the quality that our customers need and expect."
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