LH Carbide Maximizes Lights-out Operation and Increases Productivity with Addition of Mitsubishi Wire EDMs

LH Carbide, a global leader in the design and manufacturing of precision carbide progressive lamination tooling for industrial, automotive, appliance, and electric motor manufacturers, was able to expand lights-out operation and increase throughput after replacing outdated equipment with four Mitsubishi wire EDMs.

Located in Fort Wayne, Ind., LH Carbide was founded by Leon Habegger 55 years ago as a manufacturer of carbide precision dies. It is now one of four divisions of the family-run LH Industries, which has grown into a team of 350 employees that designs and manufactures progressive stamping dies, precision-stamped products, industrial control systems, and medical devices. LH Industries holds more than 50 patents for products and processes associated with precision manufacturing of progressive stamping dies and industrial control systems.

LH Industries Department Supervisor Jason Stuller, who has been with the company for 25 years, said LH Carbide bought four Mitsubishi EDMs (three MV2400Rs, one MV1200R) to replace EDMs made by another manufacturer.

“The Mitsubishis have allowed us to expand our capabilities while running unmanned,” Stuller said. “Because of the ease of programming the Mitsubishi EDMs and the ability to change programs on the fly, we have been able to maximize productivity when we don’t have

an operator.”

The flexibility of the Mitsubishi controller makes it easier to combine multiple programs into one for higher efficiency, he said.

“For a greater unmanned run time, we may retain slugs on multiple parts and then go back and finish

those separately,” he said. “The controller continues to amaze us on a daily basis.”

With the shift to thinner materials for electric motor carbide progressive stamping, tolerances have become progressively tighter, Stuller said.

“The Mitsubishi machines have allowed us to deliver a higher degree of accuracy, repeatability, and throughput that we were not able

to achieve with our old equipment,” he said.

MC Machinery worked with LH Carbide to connect the new EDMs to one central chiller instead of having the typical stand-alone chiller on each machine.

“We are an outlier because we run a large central chiller that goes to a remote chiller,” he said. “This presented challenges, but MC Machinery made it happen. They were more than happy to accommodate what we needed.”

While LH Carbide has a team of experienced operators, that may not always be the case—meaning ease of use is important.

“The machines are so intuitive that within the first week we were not only making parts, but we were also very confident in the process. Getting up and running that quickly was impressive. Our experience with MC Machinery has been extremely positive. One of our main concerns with any machine tool is service and support. MC Machinery has excelled at this…we have been able to jointly overcome any obstacles that we have encountered along the way.”

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