Company relies on Mitsubishi technology for top precision on big parts

Company relies on Mitsubishi technology for top precision on big parts

December 11, 2013 10:11:43 AM

Malcolm Schneer likes to think big. It is, after all, what makes his company distinctive in the crowded west-coast world of metal shops. 

Schneer is president of Swiss Wire EDM in Costa Mesa, CA, an EDM shop that specializes in large components, mainly for the aerospace industry. When Schneer found out that the Mitsubishi FA30V wire EDM machine could handle 24-inch-thickmaterial in a submerged cutting envelope, he was impressed.

“Over the years, we have done some really large components on wire EDM,” says Schneer, a Mitsubishi customer since 1986. “The best way to EDM the parts accurately is to do them in a submerged environment. But when we got the really big parts, there was no machine available that could EDM those components fully submerged in dielectric. Then the new FA series came out.”

Now with the FA30V, Schneer can meet the high-tolerance demands of his aerospace applications, such as turbine disks and large mold blocks without generating mountains of chips as required with conventional machining. “We’ve had some 21-22-inch-thickmold blocks that needed contours to be cut out. It’s much less expensive to run through them with a wire machine than to try and mill away hundreds of cubic inches of material. We can usually convince our customers that EDM is the way to go.”

In fact, the FA30V boasts the tallest work piece capacity of any fully-submerged wire EDM machine on the market. With a maximum Z-axis height of 26.5 inches, 24” fully-submerged, and a new fluid control system designed to enhance high-speed machining, the FA30V gives companies such as Swiss Wire EDM, a leg up on competitors processing the same pieces on an unsubmerged table.

“There’s just a tremendous difference in the ability to cut a large part quickly and accurately between having it just sit on a table trying to force enough DI water through the kerf and having it submerged in the dielectric fluid,” Schneer says. “There’s always some dielectric around where the cut is taking place. It’s much more efficient.”

“Some of the problem is, regardless of how large or small a part is, wire EDM is significantly slower than conventional machining, so you need some justification to do this. And the justifications are, of course, accuracy, great surface finish and material economy. People don’t have to cut away thousands of chips to get a contour.”

That advantage comes in particularly handy when one of the biggest names in your target market comes calling. One of those customers, Rolls-Royce, contacted Swiss Wire recently, looking for a company to process large-diameter honeycomb seals for their TrentTM 1000 jet engine. With their expanding EDM capabilities, Swiss Wire was ready to take that call.

“One of the absolute beauties of EDM is that you can cut honeycombwith ease and without burrs,” Schneer says. “We’ve been promoting this for a long time. We’re very excited about it.”

The extreme measures that other companies have taken to machine honeycomb patterns, including freezing water in the honeycomb cells to bolster the structure during cutting, Swiss Wire doesn’t have to worry about. Schneer comments, “We just cut it with a wire or with an electrode, and it works magnificently.”


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