VTL Group invests in advanced GF AgieCharmilles EDM technology....
Global market-leading automotive powertrain applications solutions provider – the VTL Group – has recently invested in two new high-performance EDM machines supplied by GF AgieCharmilles.
The new machines, a AC Progress VP2 (wire machine) and a FORM 200 (die-sink machine), were installed at VTL Group’s Technical Solutions Centre in Huddersfield during March and April 2012, and are currently being used to help manufacture high-precision, complex components e.g. synchroniser rings, turbo chargers etc., for many of the world’s leading automotive OEMs and Tier 1 companies.
The Technical Solutions Centre was opened in 2011 and houses the Group’s Research & Development and Technical Services.
The Centre provides VTL customers with a unique and comprehensive resource focused on product development and manufacturing innovation. The range of services provided is extensive and includes - technical consultancy support, process design and implementation, software simulation, advanced manufacturing and testing etc.
Says Mark Richardson, Technical Development Manager:
‘The Centre provides customers with the very latest in precision engineering technologies to help their current and future product development needs and requirements. The Centre brings together the expertise and experience within the VTL Group, as well as from a number of academic and industrial partners, to offer a total systems solutions-based consultancy service.
EDM is a core technology for the Technical Solutions Centre.
The two new GF AgieCharmilles machines installed at the Centre have replaced older EDM machines that were becoming a ‘bit long in the tooth’ and whose accuracy and reliability (as a consequence), could no longer be guaranteed.
Says Mark Richardson,
‘We rely on our EDM machines to manufacture complex, high-precision parts and intricate part features (like thin walls and geometrically tight radii). But, as part of our Continuous Improvement Programme, we analysed the performance of our existing EDM technology and found that it wasn’t up to scratch.
‘We needed EDM machines that were more cost-efficient and productive, that could deliver the exacting part accuracies and repeatability’s we require, and that could provide us with improved process reliability.’
Machine selection - wire
The wire EDM machine selected by VTL Group was the AC Progress VP2.
The machine provides fast cutting speeds (500mm2/min) and superior surface finishes (Ra 0.2µm) and is equipped with the latest, high-performance digital generator and powerful Agievision 5 Control system.
The machine exhibits a number of unique productivity-enhancing features (e.g. Duotec wire technology; AWT Automatic Wire Thread capability etc.), designed to help manufacturers reduce set-up times and cycle times, and reduce operating costs.
Machine selection – die-sink
The performance attributes of the new die-sink machine – the FORM 200 – are similarly impressive and includes Zero Wear IQ Technology which significantly reduces (Copper and/or Graphite) electrode wear and, as a consequence, consumable costs.
Concludes Mark Richardson:
‘We are exploiting the potential of our new EDM technology and are putting our new machines through their paces.
‘We have experienced significant productivity gains since their installation and the decision to invest in the new technology has been vindicated.’
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