Lynar Manufacturing is a 10-employee, family-run business with a turnover in the region of £1.8 million. The company specialises in metal pressings, sheet metal assembly and finishing operations, predominantly for brackets and metal parts used in lighting circuits found on automotive trailers, everything from large articulated lorries down to 7.5 tonne trucks. Established for over 40 years, Lynar says it was one of the first companies in the UK to introduce wire eroding technology, and it continues to be recognised as a specialist in the field.
"Our wire erosion facilities enable us to carry out high precision, non-contact cutting of any metal shape, working with thicknesses ranging from 250mm down to 0.05mm," explains Sean Murrells, Tool and Design Manager at Lynar Manufacturing. "The flexibility and accuracy of this process also means that we can produce items to the most challenging client specifications, quickly, efficiently and on time."
With this in mind, Lynar implements a regular programme of investment in the latest wire erosion technologies. As one wire EDM nears the end of its useful life, a new replacement arrives. This was evidenced recently with the acquisition of the Sodick VL600Q.
"To produce our pressed parts we also manufacture the tooling, hence the need to wire erode dies and punches," says Mr Murrells. "One of our older wire EDMs had become unviable economically in terms of repairs and spare parts, so we researched the market for a suitable replacement. Having looked at a range of different machines, we opted for the Sodick VL600Q based on its impressive price-to-performance ratio. For the money, we simply couldn't find anything else able to offer the same capabilities."
The Sodick VL series is an economical line of performance wire EDMs with linear motor technology that builds on the technologies of the VZ and SL series. The medium sized VL600Q is well-suited to a wide range of machining applications with its 600 x 400 x 270mm of travel in the X, Y and Z axes respectively, as well as 80 x 80 mm in the U and V axes.
"Installed in November 2015, the machine offers a five times larger bed that is allowing us to produce bigger products or manufacture multiple smaller components on a single working platform," says Mr Murrells. "As a result, we can handle a more diverse range of projects, while making the process more efficient and cost effective."
Some parts produced at Lynar are up to 0.5 metres in length, while others are very small. In all cases, the Sodick VL600Q must offer micron level precision. When used for the commercial manufacture of punches and dies from tool steel, the machine typically cuts to within 10 µm. However, in test cutting under controlled conditions, this can be as good as 2 µm.
"We produce some highly complex tools, but we simply program on CAD and transfer the file to the Sodick VL600Q using a USB stick," says Mr Murrells. "Among the major benefits of the new machine is that it is at least twice as quick as the model it replaced, and it uses far less wire."
Along with new press tools, the Sodick VL600Q is also being used to manufacture replacement tool inserts as part of refurbishment projects. Maximum work tank dimensions are 1040 x 780mm, while workpieces up to 850kg in weight can be accommodated.
"We were probably spending around £5000 every quarter on repairing our previous wire EDM, which is a sum we are now saving," states Mr Murrells. "In addition to the increased cutting speed and reduced consumables costs, I wouldn't mind estimating that the machine has already paid for itself.”