To reinforce the manufacture of technically difficult moulds from hardened chrome steel, Ledwell Plastics has invested in a brand new Sodick AD35L spark erosion machine from Sodi-Tech EDM.

This superior die-sink EDM machine offers the pace and accuracy required to cut back prices and improve precision, whereas additionally providing low electrode put on and the required reliability to facilitate unmanned in a single day operations.

Leicester-based Ledwell Plastics is an injection moulding and toolmaking specialist that serves many various industries, together with agriculture, meals packaging and electrical autos. Based in 1969 by Paul Simms, father of present managing director Benn Simms, Ledwell can mould components weighing from 1g as much as 1.5kg, whereas the most important moulding produced up to now measures 900mm lengthy x 450mm vast x 90mm deep. Working across the clock from two factories in Leicester, negotiations are at the moment in progress relating to a 3rd premises for this progressive 36-employee enterprise.

“Our toolroom makes moulds from many various supplies, every part from aluminium by means of to hardened chrome steel,” Benn Simms explains. “Not too long ago, nonetheless, we have been working virtually completely with the latter materials within the manufacturing of very small and complicated moulds, a development that seemed set to proceed for a while.

“Our downside was our present die-sink EDM functionality, which was considerably antiquated, that means we had points with accuracy and breakdowns that have been impacting mission timescales and costing so much in repairs.”

In consequence, Ledwell Plastics sought a brand new die-sink EDM that might work to tolerances of lower than 0.001 inch (0.025mm). As well as, the extremely technical, hardened chrome steel moulds require a considerable amount of sparking, so quick processing pace was one other issue excessive on the want listing.

“The Sodick AD35L fitted the invoice properly, particularly because it was additionally the right measurement,” Mr Simms states. “We checked out different spark eroding machines, however after endeavor some analysis and talking to different Sodick customers, we settled on the AD35L. Throughout an onsite demonstration at Sodi-Tech EDM we may see that the machine’s efficiency was significantly spectacular with its high-speed linear motors.”

Darren McCabe attending the Sodick AD35L which has enhanced precision and enabled overnight unmanned operations at Ledwell Plastics
Darren McCabe attending the Sodick AD35L which has enhanced precision and enabled in a single day unmanned operations at Ledwell Plastics

Mr Simms cites the 10-year guarantee on positioning accuracy, glorious floor end and low quantity of electrode put on as additional elements supporting the acquisition of Ledwell’s first Sodick machine.

“The AD35L was put in on the finish of January 2021, with Sodi-Tech EDM delivering a full coaching programme right here at Leicester,” he says. “Sodi-Tech have been additionally nice at offering recommendation on issues like optimum electrode choice.”  

Together with the hardened chrome steel moulds, the ISO9001-accredited firm makes use of its new AD35L for jobs involving supplies comparable to aluminium, metal and hardened instrument metal. As Ledwell works extensively on the design and growth of moulded components for its prospects – usually involving patent functions – non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are in place for nearly all tasks. Though the corporate can say little in regards to the moulds it machines, the advantages provided by the Sodick AD35L are clear to see.

“Our new Sodick permits us to run in a single day, in contrast to our earlier machine, which we may by no means belief in that regard, significantly with blind parts/options which might be troublesome to flush,” Mr Simms continues. “The high-speed linear expertise of the AD35L evacuates the cavities significantly better with its enhanced circulate of dielectric fluid.”

Notably, funding within the new machine has boosted the manufacturing of sliding cores for the corporate’s vary of injection moulding machines, which prolong in capability from 60 to 440 ton. Beforehand, the corporate would minimize whole sliders (six impressions per slider set) with a single giant copper electrode, however this course of was time consuming and costly relating to the quantity of copper required.

“With the AD35L we spark simply three cavities at a time, earlier than indexing the slider over,” Mr Simms explains. “Nevertheless, we double up on the quantity of sliders we spark – loading two directly for machining with a single electrode. Because the cycle time is faster and electrode put on is low, we’re manufacturing fewer electrodes and shopping for much less copper. As well as, accuracy and repeatability are higher.”

As a part of its construction, the Sodick AD35L options optimised rib preparations which enhance rigidity by roughly 70% to assist enhanced workpiece precision. As well as, as a result of machine deformation is minimised, customers can benefit from the full efficiency potential of Sodick high-speed linear motors.

“Our operators love the machine because it’s streets forward of the place we have been earlier than,” Mr Simms concludes. “Moreover, the AD35L will assist drive extra work by means of the toolroom, upholding our custom of cost-effective options with glorious high quality. All of our tooling is assured for a minimal lifespan cycle, which is bespoke for every particular person part.”

Sodi-Tech EDM

Ledwell Plastics

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