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Sodick has launched a seven-axis die-sink EDM solution for advanced applications in the aerospace, power and medical sectors.

The solution controls the movement of a twisted electrode so that it penetrates the workpiece in a corkscrew-like motion to create components with twisted, closed-channel, helix geometries.

The machining of components with this type of complex geometry has up to now only been possible with five-axis milling applications – and then only in the open-channel form.

Sodick said its new solution opens up a range of manufacturing opportunities, as these closed-channel forms reduce the loading on the blade walls as well as reducing the wear on pump rotors and seals, particularly when working with ‘super-alloys’ and when the ‘nano-wear’ capability of the Sodick generator is taken into account.

The design of the latest generation of turbine and pump rotors poses many manufacturing challenges including the resolution of the conflicting pressures of simultaneously increasing power output while reducing emissions.

This has resulted in designs incorporating the transportation of more aggressive and higher volumes of gas and steam, which has therefore driven the development of ever-more resistant alloys – which are, naturally, more difficult to machine.

EDM die-sinking has long been established as the ideal manufacturing process for this type of machining work – but until now it has been unable to tackle the required complex geometries.

To overcome this, Sodick has worked closely with Jauchschmider, developing the Multiple Erosion Head for aerospace manufacturing applications.

The combination of the Jauchschmider’s Multiple Erosion Head and the Sodick AG60L provides an ideal solution for the production of complex 3D cavities as the Sodick multi-axis controller rotates and controls the movement of seven axes simultaneously.

Furthermore, the single set-up operation increases productivity and reduces the possibility of human error, a key benefit when manufacturing such high-value, critical components.

The AG60L is part of the fifth generation of linear EDM solutions from Sodick, which includes a range of both wire and sink machines.

The AG400L and AG600L wire models have been developed to achieve higher precision, easier operation and higher cutting performance.

With their three-sided rise and fall tanks and four-sided enclosed worktables, these machines provide ample set-up space while being suitable for automation.

Other advances include automatic dielectric level, enhanced anti-rust and anti-corrosive properties and upgraded performance through the incorporation of Sodick’s Dynamic Shape Master (DSM) system to increase stability in stepped areas, pockets and through-holes.

The die-sinking range includes the AG40L, AG60L and AG80L, which incorporate a new active control system that simultaneously performs both discharge control and motion control through its high-speed communications controller.

The SGF2 generator is said to provide much increased machining speed – up to twice the previous rate with graphite electrodes, and this is linked to a significant reduction in electrode wear.

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