Devon-based PECO, which supplies its products to model shops across the UK and around the world, is about to enhance its toolroom with the addition of a Sodick ALC400G ‘i Groove edition’ wire-erosion machine from Sodi-Tech EDM. It will join three existing Sodick machines on site.
“Until 10 years ago, wire EDM was a new technology for us,” says PECO Innovations Manager Paul Hitchcock. “Before our first wire machine we would split our dies and undertake form grinding, which was quite labour-intensive. At that time we had a Sodick AQ35L die-sinker, a very accurate and reliable machine, so we already had a relationship with Sodi-Tech EDM when we began thinking about a wire eroder. We ended up buying a Sodick AG400.”
PECO bought the wire EDM to eliminate the need for form grinding and maximise the accuracy of its press tools and their fine details using 0.1 mm diameter wire. However, uses for the Sodick machine soon evolved.
“Until you have a new process on site you don’t actually know what influence it will have,” explains Mr Hitchcock. “Over the past decade we’ve gradually migrated to using the wire EDM for lots of different work that we never considered initially. Now, every time we look at a new press tool, mould tool, jig or fixture, we always ask: what parts can we do on the wire EDM?”
“It was only ever going to be another Sodick,” states Mr Hitchcock. “Not just because of machine quality, accuracy and ease-of-use, but also the support and relationship we have with Sodi-Tech EDM. We saw a press article about the Sodick ALC400G with its ‘i Groove’ rotating wire mechanism and decided to undertake some trials.”
“Having all of our manufacturing in-house is a huge market advantage, something that is very apparent in the current pandemic as we’re not reliant on overseas suppliers,” says Mr Hitchcock. “Of course, it’s important that we continue investing and innovating. Our aim is to bring out a new product every month, each one of which will need a new tool.”
“We have Sodick-exclusive EDM capability in our toolroom,” concludes Mr Hitchcock. “The reason we’ve gone that way is the reliability of the machines and the relationship we have with the applications and maintenance teams at Sodi-Tech EDM.”