Sink or Swim

When Chris Ostosh joined Detail Technologies—a Wyoming, Mich.-based mold shop—he saw great potential. On a hunch that growth lay in expanding the shop’s sinker EDM capabilities, Ostosh, now co-owner of Detail Technologies, began talks with the shop’s longtime technology partner, Mitsubishi.

“We had two sinker EDMs we bought from Mitsubishi in 2001 and 2005—an EA8 and an Ingersoll 500,” Ostosh says. “Going back to Mitsubishi was a natural progression because we have several wire EDM machines from them that we were happy with.”

Ostosh began looking into the purchase of another sinker EDM machine in the summer of 2010. Through his research, he discovered a large Ingersoll gantry sinker EDM machine within MC Machinery’s vast product portfolio.

“With a C-frame-style sinker machine, you only get about 30 percent coverage of the work area, unless you use extension arms,” Ostosh says. “With the Ingersoll’s gantry design, you have about 75 percent to 80 percent travel coverage and unparalleled rigidity, which was much more fitting for our needs.”

Ostosh decided on an Ingersoll 1200—along with a Roku-Roku HC 658 vertical machining center and a Mitsubishi robot to connect the two machines. As a single-source provider for machines, automation, and controls, MC Machinery provided a huge advantage in implementation.

“Not only was the Ingersoll control as much as 70 percent faster, but it also generated 60 percent less electrode wear and it produced a better finish,” Ostosh says.

After they worked out the kinks, Ostosh and his team really experienced the incredible capacity of the Ingersoll.

“This machine automatically flushes the electrodes,” Ostosh says. “This allows for extreme automation because we can put electrodes in the tool changer to automatically replace the old ones as needed without having to manually flush them.”

All told, the shop’s sinker EDM setup allows for 150 hours of burn time per week Detail technologies WYOMING, Min an unmanned setting. Additionally, the shop can achieve unmanned electrode production with the Roku-Roku to support its EDM operation.

“Our primary business is making molds for exterior automotive lighting, and we were able to augment this production significantly thanks to the MC Machinery equipment and its support,” Ostosh says. “We’ve increased sales 40 percent and have generally become more profitable in our operations.”

While Ostosh had only planned to purchase one sinker EDM, the opportunity it created allowed him to purchase two more machines within a mere three months of the first purchase. The turnkey solution from MC Machinery included an Ingersoll 800 and a left-handed RokuRoku HC658 equipped with a Koma five-axis trunnion table.

In fact, the sheer speed of EDM sinker machines actually created a new bottleneck.

“The EDMs were going so fast that we couldn’t keep up with electrode production, so we have another machine setup now to produce the electrodes,” says Ostosh. “We use the Roku-Roku, a robot, and a 96-position electrode changer to manage the speed at which we go through electrodes.”

While he raves about the technology, Ostosh also appreciates the reliability and support he gets from Mitsubishi.

“Mitsubishi puts a lot of effort into support and the team is very technically astute,” he says. “The products MC Machinery sells are bulletproof—Mitsubishi, Ingersoll, RokuRoku, Koma, etc.—and this is one of the big reasons we invest so heavily with them. Bottom line: they are eminently reliable.”