Machining with a twist

The latest technology from Sodick, designed to tackle complex machining challenges, is a 7-axis ‘turn and burn’ EDM die-sink solution that controls the movement of a twisted electrode so that it penetrates the workpiece in a corkscrew-like motion enabling the creation of helix geometries. The EDM AG60L is the direct result of an increasingly frequent requirement for advanced applications, particularly in the aerospace, power and medical sectors.

From the start, Sodick has developed its own control systems, which has ensured that it maintains the expertise and speed of innovation to maintain its position in the marketplace. The machining of components with this type of complex geometry has up to now only been possible with 5-axis milling applications – and then only in the open channel form. Sodick’s latest innovation opens up a wide range of manufacturing opportunities, as the closed channel forms reduce the loading on the blade walls as well as minimising the wear on pump rotors and seals. According to Sodick, the EDM solution is significantly cheaper than milling, particularly when working with superalloys and when the ‘nano-wear’ capability of the Sodick generator is taken into account.

The design of the latest generation of turbine and pump rotors poses many manufacturing challenges including the resolution of the conflicting pressures of simultaneously increasing power output while reducing emissions. This has resulted in designs incorporating the transportation of more aggressive and higher volumes of gas and steam, which has therefore driven the development of evermore resistant alloys – which are, naturally, more difficult to machine.

EDM die-sinking has long been established as the ideal manufacturing process for this type of machining work – but until now it has been unable to tackle the required complex geometries. To overcome this, Sodick has worked closely with specialist technology provider, JauchSchmider, developing the brand new Multiple Erosion Head, which, although has been successfully installed in aerospace manufacturing operations, was only publicly demonstrated for the first time at EMO 2009.

This combination of the JauchSchmider’s Multiple Erosion Head and the Sodick AG60L provides an ideal solution for the production of complex 3D cavities, as the Sodick multi-axis controller rotates and controls the movement of 7 axes simultaneously. Furthermore, the single set-up operation increases productivity and reduces the possibility of human error – a key benefit when manufacturing high value, critical components.

The AG60L is part of the new fifth generation of linear EDM solutions from Sodick, which includes a range of both wire and sink machines.

The AG400L and AG600L wire models have been developed to achieve high precision, simpler operation and higher cutting performance. With their three sided rise and fall tanks and four sided enclosed worktables, the machines provide ample set-up space while being suitable for automation. Other advances include automatic dielectric level, enhanced anti-rust and anti-corrosive properties and upgraded performance through the incorporation of Sodick’s DSM (Dynamic Shape Master) system to increase cutting stability in stepped areas, pockets and through holes.
The new die-sinking range includes the AG40L, AG60L and AG80L, which incorporate a new active control system that simultaneously performs both discharge control and motion control through its high speed communications controller. The new SGF2 generator enables increased machining speed – up to twice the previous rate with graphite electrodes – and this is linked to a significant reduction in electrode wear. The die sinkers have been designed for ease of access and operation and automation, while dielectric filling and draining time has been much reduced to decrease set-up time.



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