New EDM for Vulco

Redditch company’s latest wire-cut EDM machine supports increased tooling production

Posted on 28 Dec 2017 and read 588 times
New EDM for VulcoWith a rich history of manufacturing pressed and formed components — including brackets, clips, clamps, flanges and wire-formed parts — Vulco Spring & Presswork Ltd (www.vulcosprings.com) continues to invest in the latest manufacturing technology to retain an industry-leading position that has been established over some 80 years.

The company manufactures press tooling for its multi-forming machines and power presses (with capacities from 20 to 70 tonnes); it recently installed a Fanuc Robocut C400iB wire-cut EDM machine from Coventry-based Fanuc UK Ltd (www.fanuc.eu).

Vulco production engineer Joseph Draper said: “While we have older EDM machines on-site, we have been struggling to locate spare parts for them.

“We realised we needed a new machine, and Fanuc assured us that its latest products — like the Robocut C400iB that we bought — will be serviced and have spares available for years to come; that wasn’t the case with our existing
supplier. Moreover, the Fanuc machine came with a two-year warranty — and was cost-competitive with its rivals.”

Highlighting some of the features that swayed the decision to buy the Robocut, Mr Draper said: “The high-speed automatic wire feed is essential for our business, and its one of the main reasons we bought this machine.

“This system will automatically feed the wire through a start hole, followed by the CNC program cutting the job. Afterwards, the machine will cut the wire, move to the next datum point and process the next feature or hole — continuing automatically from hole to hole and shape to shape.

“Previously, we had to manually feed the wire at the start point and then start the machine; on completion of that feature, we had to cut the wire and move the workpiece or wire to the next point.

“Now we can leave the Robocut to work for significantly longer periods without inter-vention — including running through the night unmanned. This means we can arrive in the morning to finished parts.”

Peace of mind Unmanned operation (or ‘lights out’ production) with the Robocut is assisted by what the company refers to as an ‘automatic repair system’. Mr Draper says the Robocut C400iB eliminates concerns in this area.

“The repair system will pull the broken wire that is unsuitable to re-use into a bin and then feed new wire and re-start the production process. This is all completely automatic and requires no operator intervention.”

Regarding the precision of the Robocut C400iB, Vulco uses 0.25mm-diameter wire, because this allows the company to cut its press tools within a tolerance band of 5µm.

“This level of precision is essential for us, as we can produce fits and finishes into different locations with exact precision; this wasn’t possible with our previous machine. Moreover, this new level of precision has eliminated secondary operations — plus the associated times and costs involved.

“We are also getting a far superior surface finish on the edges of our press tools. Surface finish is a critical factor for our business, as a high-quality edge significantly extends tool life and enhances process stability — ultimately resulting in a higher-quality pressed part.”

Vulco’s new Robocut C400iB can cut to depths of 200mm; the company’s previous EDM machine had a maximum cutting depth
of 125mm.

This added capacity enables the Redditch company to process a wider variety of components; and helping it to get to grips with the Robocut were the CAMi system and the Linki interface.

These allow customers to remotely monitor up to 32 Robocut machines in real time; this ‘Industry 4.0’ feature also gives customers access to preventive maintenance functions — as well as consumables and repair services.

In conclusion, Mr Draper said: “The Robocut CAMi CNC software runs perfectly with this machine. It allows us to do ‘absolutely anything’ with the machine; and when we send a program to it, the machine does exactly as planned.

“The CAMi package also allows us to cut our parts up to 40% faster than before, which is a huge saving. When you add this saving to the overall productivity of the Fanuc machine — as well as the ability to run ‘lights out’ — you can understand why we are making massive savings.”

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