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Precision manufacturing specialist L Robinson and Co has recently invested in a high-performance wire EDM machine from GF Agiecharmilles.

The machine – a Cut 20P – was installed at L Robinson and Co’s 40,000ft2 facility in Gillingham in September 2010 and is being used to machine high-precision, complex production tooling such as punch and die sets, progression tools and so on.

This, in turn, is used to help manufacture the company’s worm-drive hose clip, called the Jubileeclip.

The Jubileeclip is used in every manufacturing sector or industry, such as automotive, marine, agriculture, heating and ventilation and so on.

Jubileeclips, in their different sizes and different configurations, are used to provide temporary or semi-permanent connections for all types of hosing, tubing and ducting.

L Robinson and Co manufactures tens of millions of the hose clips every year to meet domestic and overseas demand.

As such, it is important that the company’s automated production lines and process equipment do not fail, and that any downtime, when it occurs, is kept to a minimum.

To do this requires continuous improvement and investment.

The company’s recent investment in wire EDM technology is a case in point.

The Cut 20P is the first wire EDM machine tool investment made by L Robinson and Co, Gillingham.

Prior to the machine’s arrival, the specialised production tools were made using an ‘old’ die-sink machine and conventional machine tools.

While this production method allowed the company to manufacture the high-quality tools required – cycle times were long.

The reliability of this ‘older’ technology was also an issue and was likely to become more problematic in the future.

Ian Jennings, managing director, said: ‘We need to operate at full capacity.

‘To help us do this, we need immediate access to back-up/replacement tooling in case of breakage and/or failure to maintain high-volume production,’ he added.

The Cut 20P machine ordered by L Robinson and Co has a good-sized working envelope (350mm x 250mm x 250mm in X, Y and Z axes) for machining large parts and/or the simultaneous machining of multiple ‘smaller’ parts.

The Cut 20P also has automatic wire thread capability (for long, unmanned machining) and the latest high-efficiency digital generator and control system that provides L Robinson and Co with fast cutting speeds and quality surface finishes.

Jennings said: ‘We were looking for a technology solution that would not only meet our immediate manufacturing requirements, but one that was flexible enough to meet our future machining requirements too.

‘Although wire EDM is a “new” technology for us – the machine’s adaptive, intuitive control coupled with GF Agiecharmilles’ training provision meant that we were able to get up to speed quickly and experience cycle time reductions,’ he added.

The Jubileeclip consists of a circular metal band or strip (either 9mm or 12.5mm width) that exhibits a screw thread pattern that is combined with a worm gear (captive screw) that is fixed to one end.

Jubileeclips are made from mild or stainless steel and are designed to hold a soft, pliable hoses onto more rigid circular pipes (or sometimes solid spigots) of a smaller diameter.

As such they are tough and durable, as well as weather and corrosion resistant.

While a hose clip may not be the most expensive part of an installation, the results can often be disastrous if the connection between it and the pipes/spigots fail.

This is why the clips are manufactured to high standards.

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