Case Study – RST Engineering Limited

Cutting time, hassle and space: New Wire EDM machine helps RST boost efficiency and productivity

RST Engineering is a precision engineering business with over two decades experience in Spark Erosion, CNC Machining and wire EDM (electrical discharge machining). The company makes high precision components and machine tools for the medical, satellite, automotive and aerospace industries and regularly invests in new technologies to stay ahead of the competition.

After winning an important new customer RST needed to enhance its machining capabilities. The company identified that it required a new linear motor EDM machine to help increase capacity, quickly, for the accurate cutting of wire parts for the automotive, medical and aerospace industries. RST has been using advanced EDM machinery from Sodi-Tech EDM Ltd for 20 years and already has Linear Motor Wire EDM models AQ750L and AQ325L installed. It was natural for the company to look to Sodi-Tech for their latest Wire EDM machine – the AG600L.

“We had a look at the machines that other companies had to offer but Sodi-Tech came out on top,” says Sean Taylor, Senior Technician at RST. “We have a number of Sodick Wire EDMs already and they are very reliable products. We needed a machine that would operate more quickly than our existing Wire EDMs without losing any of the accuracy which is so important for all our jobs. The AG600L machine works a lot faster than our other machines and produces even better results. Although we purchased it with one specific client in mind, its speed and overall performance has enabled us to use it for even greater amounts of work than we first envisaged.”

“We needed a machine that was reliable and which could be used independently. A lot of the work we do on our wire cutting EDMs takes place at night when everyone has left the factory so we needed a machine that was reliable enough to work independently. This Sodick machine has its very own safety shutters and special features that keep its processes as accurate as possible. This means that even when we are not overseeing it all the time, we are still receiving accurate, high precision results.”

When RST conducted their research prior to purchasing the AG600L, as well as reliability another outstanding feature was repeatability. The new high speed, automatic, annealing wire threader improves wire straightness, especially at larger heights. During the annealing process, the wire is heated, stretched and cut to a sharp point resulting in a smaller required wire guide clearance, improving part accuracy. Since the annealing wire threader can thread in the submerged mode, the work tank does not have to be drained when wire threading; meaning that the position of the axis will automatically stay correct.

One of the best things about the AG600L is that it is so easy to use again and again. It took a bit of time to set the machine up initially but once it was installed it takes very little time to close down and start up again. This means that we are not wasting man-hours on machine operation so can begin using it in seconds. With such an emphasis placed on accuracy in the production of the machine, we benefit from increased productivity, output and precision.”

The 3-sided rise/fall worktank of the AG600L ensures a large set-up space and ergonomic accessibility. Since 3 sides slide down, the machine requires less operating space. The no-drip feature insures a clean shop floor, maintaining a safe work environment. For RST this was another attractive feature.

“The AG600L looks an attractive machine. It is small and compact and fits easily into a small space. We have a lot of existing wire cutting EDM’s and we were a little concerned as to whether or not we could fit another one into the workspace, but the AG600L fits nicely into a small space and is compact enough not to get in the way of other machines and work areas.

The AG600L is as simple to use as it is reliable. It comes complete with a large 15.1” LCD touch screen which is easy to view and eliminates glare. Transferring files is easy with a 4GB compact flash card and 1GB memory stick eliminating the kind of failures that you can experience with built in hard drives. In the event of a failure, the UPS system will automatically lock the axis drives. Once power is restored, the machine powers itself up and resumes its cutting work.

“We went into using the AG600L without having to endure weeks of training,” explains Sean. “The way Sodick have manufactured the machine makes for ease of usability. It means that we can get straight into using the machine, working with it and creating the reliable, durable parts that our clients require.”

It may have only been installed for a short time but already RST is experiencing the benefits of using Sodi-Tech’s AG600L machine. Not only does it give them greater capacity to fulfil a number of Wire Cutting jobs that previous equipment was not satisfying quickly enough, but it is also helping them cut down the hours they are spending on each job and complete a greater number of tasks a day. As well as being quick and easy to set up and programme, the machine provides RST with another outlet for their precision wire cutting jobs, and has been in constant use since it was installed six months ago.

“We were looking for a number of key features from our AG600L machine; reliability, repeatability, durability and ease of operation – the Sodick machine ticks all the boxes.  We can use it again and again without it showing signs of fatigue or overuse. We also know from experience that Sodi-Tech’s aftersales service will ensure that we receive the very best guidance and assistance ongoing when using this machine. So far we have been very pleased and have already seen the benefits of having a Sodick-manufactured AG600L machine installed.”

RST is accredited to ISO9001 certification and as a family-run business, interacts well with customers, getting to know them personally and adhering to their specific needs. It is through this concerted and measured approach that the company has been able to withhold a number of key clients worldwide and continues to be a major force within the UK precision engineering market. It is important that RST Engineering’s tools, machinery and products reflect the outstanding reputation it has for customer service and with Sodi-Tech machinery, they do just that.

Sean concludes: “Sodick machines are very efficient and help you to increase your productivity and overall output without having to mess about with jargon-filled operation manuals. They are reliable and can be trusted to achieve excellent results. We are very happy with the early results of our new AG600L machine, just as we are happy with the existing machines we have from Sodi-Tech.”