American Machinist

Wired for tool production: cutting tool shops do the impossible with spark erosion. (EDM).

Partnering a CNC tool-and-cutter grinder with a wire-erosion machine lets shops process tools of both poly-crystalline diamond (PCD) and carbide. Typically, shops with these machines first grind a tool's profile and then burn edges and reliefs using the wire-erosion machine, which saves time. The machine also tackles special tool features that are otherwise impossible to produce.

Without wire erosion, tooling shops such as Superion Inc. of Xenia, Ohio, most likely grind PCD tools manually in cycles that take up to 8 hr/tool. On a wire-erosion machine, the same tool is done in minutes and with better consistency.

Superion's machine is the Australian Numeric Control Automation (ANCA)-Vollmer 5-axis CNC QWD 755 horizontal-wire spark-erosion system. It features a patented rotating workhead--E and A axes--for continuous-path profiling of complex shapes such as with step and profile tools. The machine's electrode/wire swivels around the center of the head and cuts angles in hard materials in single setups and in relatively short cycle times. …

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