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_quot;The price of a wire EDM machine is nothing compared to the cost


									"The price of a wire EDM machine
is nothing compared to the cost of
wire over the life of the machine,"
says Tom Frick, owner of Intricate
EDM. "Wire is the single highest
expense in operating a wire EDM.
Investing in low wire consumption
EDMs has resulted in up to 50 per-
cent reduction in wire use for my
shop, even while cutting much
faster and not sacrificing accuracy,
which is something to be excited
about when you're paying $5 or $6
per pound for brass wire."
           EDM Today, September/October 2009 Issue
                             “One of the greatest
                              benefits of reducing
                                 wire consumption
                                  has been reliable
                        unattended machining,”

Jeff Kiszonas, Makino's EDM product manager, adds that "Most         Comparison Test
EDM advancements in the past decade have focused on increas-         A comparison test was recently performed between a DUO64
ing machining speed without reducing accuracy, but have              and a comparable model EDM at a real-world shop that owned
neglected the impact of wire consumption. I believe manufactur-      both machines. Each platform was compared in wire consump-
ers are beginning to see the significance of wire consumption,       tion, speed and accuracy. The workpiece tested was H-13 tool
but still assume its benefits comes at a loss to performance. This   steel at 32-34 HRc, and measured three inches thick. Required
just isn't the case when you have solid technology."                 geometries for the workpiece included a 0.500 inch diameter
                                                                     hole with a ±0.0002 inch tolerance, and a 40 micro-inch Ra
In 2008, Makino released the DUO-series of wire EDMs.                surface finish.
According to Makino, DUO reduces wire unspooling rates with
no adverse affects on cutting speed, accuracy or finish. This        0.012-inch Versacut Brass wire was used in both machines with
results in wire savings of up to 50 percent or more in many          top and bottom flushing nozzles sealed. Program settings for
applications, adding up to big savings for shops. Makino backs       both machines were out-of-the-box, unmodified code generated
up the claim with real-world testing.                                by the on-board programming systems. Settings were not
                                                                     adjusted by operators to optimize performance, and no opera-
                                      "We reduce our unspool-        tor intervention took place during the cut cycles.
                                      ing speeds by relying on
                                      the machine's mechanical       Based on the required specifications, both machines performed
                                      precision and advanced         equally in terms of accuracy and speed. Where the machines
                                      wire transport and tension-    differed was in wire consumption.
                                      ing system," explains
                                      Kiszonas. "And we've           The DUO's total machining time was 49 minutes and 9 seconds,
                                      proven the savings in          on par with the other machine's slightly faster time of 47
                                      direct comparison testing."    minute and 47 seconds.

EDM Today, September/October 2009 Issue
The second EDM consumed 758.77 yards (0.927
pounds) of wire, nearly 55 percent more than the
DUO64's consumption of 341.27 yards (0.417
pounds). These results indicate that the DUO64
consumed 0.51 pounds of wire per hour, while the
other EDM used 1.16 pounds per hour.

Running at 2,000 hours per year, the second
machine would use 2,320 pounds of wire, which
at an average plain brass wire pricing of $5 per
pound, equals approximately $11,600 a year. This
means the other test machine costs $6,500 more
per year to operate in wire cost alone. Over a five
year finance or lease term, the DUO will save
about $32,500 in wire expense in comparison.

On the Shop Floor
Vanderhorst Brothers Industries of Simi Valley,
California purchased a DUO43 for its flexibility
and accuracy to produce parts for a variety of
applications including aerospace, audio, automo-
tive, defense, electronics, filtration, lighting,
machine tools, medical, optics and valves.
Company president Brian O'Rell states that it was-
n't long before operators discovered significantly
slower unspooling rates.

"It's hard to believe there can be such a large dif-
ference between the wire consumption of two
machines," says O'Rell. "We've tracked a 30 to 35
percent reduction in wire consumption between
our DUO43 and previous machines. It's a relief not
having to place wire orders every two weeks."

According to O'Rell, Vanderhorst Brothers
Industries has also benefited from reduced scrap
rates, and more reliable auto threading capabilities.

Another shop, Hudson Technologies of Ormond
Beach, Florida states similar results from their
investment in a Makino WEDM. From October
2007 to October 2008, Tool Room Coordinator
David Brennan, recorded the wire purchases
required to operate the company's Makino and
compared that to their previous machinery.

"In one year, our previous equipment burned
through 55 spools of 35 pound 0.010-inch plain
brass wire, which at a cost of $190 per spool,
equated to $10,450 for the year," says Brennan.
"Using the exact same wire in 22 pound spools,
the Makino used only 38 spools, each running
$119. The year long figure for wire consumption
on the Makino was only $4,539.48. And, did I
mention the Makino also ran an average of 27
additional hours each week? We estimate that for
2009, we will save $13,000 a year on wire alone.
Hows that for ROI?"

              EDM Today, September/October 2009 Issue
Hudson Technologies' savings on wire          In addition to decreased wire consump-       piece. Today, I'm able to get a full night's
has only been part of the their success.      tion, Intricate EDM has also experienced     sleep, and fully enjoy my weekends."
The company states that both speed and        greater success in tall workpieces.
accuracy have increased with the                                                           David Brennan of Hudson Technologies
Makino, allowing them to stay ahead of        "Our tall workpieces have never looked       also commented on unattended capabili-
the curve in challenging markets, such as     better coming straight out of the            ties, stating that "by running unattended
medical implants and electronics.             machine. The DUO's technology has            most nights and over some weekends,
                                              eliminated nearly all wire lag, giving       our lead times have dropped from 12
"The demand for accuracy has never            us greater accuracy in taller workpieces,    weeks to just four."
been higher in many of the industries we      with little change in wire consumption
deal with," says Brennan. "By purchas-        on thick wall applications," says Frick.     Looking back at the previous comparison
ing the Makino WEDM, we've lowered                                                         testing, the results remain similar to
costs across the board with over 30 per-      Unattended Benefits                          those demonstrated on the shop floor.
cent increase in speed, and surface fin-      "One of the greatest benefits of reducing
ishes that no longer require any manual       wire consumption, has been reliable          "As the test results demonstrated, the
labor, let alone the four to six hours of     unattended machining," adds Frick.           DUO's unspooling rate of 0.51 pounds
polishing previously required."               "During the day I'm able to visit cus-       per hour provides 68.6 hours of machin-
                                              tomers, gather additional quotes,            ing time on one standard 35 pound
Similar results have been measured by         respond to calls promptly, program more      spool of brass wire," says Kiszonas.
Intricate EDM of Columbia, Pennsylvania,      applications, and handle other equip-        "The other test machine's 1.16 pound
where owner and 20 year EDM applica-          ment. At night, the machine is typically     per hour rate, which is typical for most
tion veteran, Tom Frick, has been track-      set to run six to eight additional hours     WEDMs, limits it to 19 hours of unat-
ing wire consumption for several years.       unattended, nearly doubling the shops        tended machining using the standard 22
                                              productivity and significantly reducing      pound spool. The difference is 260 per-
"The first significant change in wire con-    machining costs."                            cent more unattended machining time
sumption I experienced came when I pur-                                                    available on the DUO. Even with a 44
chased a Makino SP43 EDM in the spring        Intricate EDM runs unattended most           pound spool option equipped on the
of 2006," says Frick. "Compared to pre-       evenings and occasionally through week-      second machine, it still only provides 55
vious machines, I was seeing a 30 to 35       ends. On a recent order, Frick was able      percent of the unattended time."
percent reduction in wire consumption.”       to rough cut a set of 2.5 inch thick steel
                                              parts over the weekend for 60 hours,         On the Wire
"In July 2008, I purchased a DUO43 and        using only one spool, without any clean-     "Although wire consumption rarely
found an additional 10 to 15 percent          ing or other maintenance. All rough cut-     appears as a topic of concern for most
reduction in wire usage even over the         ting was completed thoroughly and the        WEDM users, the financial benefits of
SP43, that's over 50 percent in total, over   parts were ready for finishing operations    owning a low wire consumption machine
my old WEDM. Our current measure-             on Monday morning.                           are critical to your bottom line, as long
ments average between 66-68 hours of                                                       as it doesn't impact accuracy, surface fin-
machining on one 35 pound spool. These        "Running unattended on my previous           ish, or seriously hamper your machining
wire savings have been produced without       equipment typically resulted with a 4 a.m.   speed," says Frick. "In my 20 years of
any loss of accuracy, and a 40 percent        trip to the shop, or Saturday visits in      experience, wire consumption has
increase in cutting speed compared to         order to maintain the machines and           become one of the most critical features
our previous equipment."                      switch out wire spools," says Frick. "Even   in shopping for a wire EDM, and an area
                                              with personal attention given to the         where big savings can be had on the
                                              machines, I would still often return on      shop floor."
                                              Monday to a partially completed work-

EDM Today, September/October 2009 Issue

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