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Bowers generates big EDM savings by installing Micromag filter

Posted on 17 Oct 2021 and read 806 times
Bowers generates big EDM savings by installing Micromag filterBowers Group has installed an Eclipse Magnetics Micromag magnetic filter to its Sodick SL400Q EDM machine resulting in significant cost savings.

As a leading manufacturer of bore gauges, Bowers ensures absolute precision, not just in the working of its tools, but also in the manufacturing. Its anvil heads are imperative to collecting accurate and repeatable data and so precision cutting to manufacture the parts is an absolute must.

Electrical discharge machining (EDM), also known as spark erosion or die sinking, is a non-traditional manufacturing process that uses thermal energy to remove material from a workpiece, rather than mechanical force. It offers significantly higher accuracy when compared to more traditional methods such as CNC milling, allowing for more intricate cuts with a higher quality surface finish.

However, EDM machining can, and often does, come with significant problems, severely hampering the efficiency of the process. Dirty dielectric fluid is one of the most problematic factors facing manufacturers when using spark erosion as part of their manufacturing processes.

Contaminated dielectric fluid can result in secondary sparking, generating a high level of energy wastage. The phenomenon significantly slows the cutting speed of the machine and occurs when particles, even those just microns in size, are left to circulate in the fluid, as well as delivering lower quality and rejected parts.

While this is an accepted flaw of the EDM process, Bowers is committed to ensuring its practices offer the highest level of efficiency. Looking for the most effective solution to ensure the EDM process was working as cost-effectively as possible, the company sought the help of Eclipse Magnetics, installing a Micromag MM20 to help improve its filtration of dielectric fluid.

Eclipse Magnetics has introduced its innovative magnetic technology to the EDM process to ensure the dielectric fluid is kept as clean and efficient as possible. The Micromag MM20 is a compact filter that allows fluid to pass around its centrally mounted Neodymium core, capturing even the finest ferrous particles.

Since installing the filter to the Sodick SL400Q, Bowers has found that its production rates are higher, noting a 17% increase in machining time, the surface quality of the part has improved, and their has also been a huge reduction in wire breakages, making the process significantly more robust.

BowersThe company has also seen a big decrease in machine downtime having lessened the need for cleaning and replacing lubricant and pumps, saving over 100hr of productivity per month. When put into monetary value, it means that the filter has enabled the company to recoup over £11,500 per month that previously would have been lost.

By using the Micromag in conjunction with its traditional cartridge filters, cost savings have also been achieved in relation to the cost of replacement cartridges, cutting usage by half and leading to an impressive 50% saving of over £2,500 per annum.

Combined, this amounts to an outstanding £142,500 annual cost savings, with a payback of the initial investment of the magnetic technology returned within just days of installation.

Dean Lovett, Bowers Group machine shop manager, said: “The Group is renowned for its precision and accuracy, and this is in part due to the effort to make sure our manufacturing processes are as efficient and effective as possible. We rely heavily on our EDM machine to guarantee absolute precision when machining our anvil arms.

“By seeking means to improve the process, we have unlocked significant cost savings to the business. The reduction in machine downtime and consumable costs speak for themselves, the Micromag has proven its worth — and then some — and we are delighted with the results we have seen.”