A UK-based plastics injection medical moulding company employing around 260 highly skilled staff has invested in a new Excetek V350 CNC wire EDM machine tool, supplied by Warwick Machine Tools, and has seen some dramatic results. In fact, the purchase price was recovered in a matter of months.
Part of a leading global technology company, with facilities across the globe employing 30,000 people, this facility specialises in the development and manufacture of plastic purpose-designed delivery systems which deliver drugs to products which are manufactured widely with in a clean room environment across medical and pharmaceutical organisations.
The company’s engineering workshop and toolroom ensures the precision moulds used are maintained to the ultra-high specifications the company sets for itself. Moulded parts are extensively measured to ensure product conformance and aesthetics. During this checking process flash was noted at the end of one of the components used for a disposable syringe protection system.
These high volume components are produced in a multi-cavity mould tool, each cavity has a hot and cold half, and a core pin made from Stavex 420 stainless steel. These precision machined elements are expensive to replace, all three would cost over £4,200. The engineering team investigated the possibility of repairing the cavities by laser welding the section where the flash was occurring and then using wire EDM to machine it back to the correct size.
The cost-effective V350 Excetek wire EDM machine chosen by the company was supplied by exclusive agent, Warwick Machine Tools. Managing Director, Ian Holbeche, recalls: “At the end of 2012, the customer supplied some welded cavities and the details of the exact size and finish required. We run some test cuts and sent them back for evaluation. The results must have been very positive as the machine was ordered to be delivered as quickly as possible.”
Providing comparative performance levels to the existing Swiss and Japanese wire EDM machines, the V350 offers a cost saving of between £20,000 and £25,000 against any equivalent size machine tool, and the price includes training and installation. Fitted with a 600 litre tank, it is capable of accommodating workpieces up to 700 x 500 x 215 mm and weighing up to 450 kg. This fully specified wire machine has U and V axis travels of 80 mm and +/- 30o taper capability and an accuracy of 3 micron over 100 mm.
Optional extras that can be specified for increased machine operating efficiency include remote monitoring via ethernet or internet and Short Message Service (SMS), which will automatically send an alarm message to a mobile phone if the machine stops cutting. For extended operation a 50 kg jumbo wire feeder can also be fitted.