Up Close and Personal

Getting up close and personal with the latest current and emerging technologies affecting the mold industry is the best way for mold manufacturers not only to see what is out there.

Getting up close and personal with the latest current and emerging technologies affecting the mold industry is the best way for mold manufacturers not only to see what is out there, but to truly understand what it can do for your shop—in terms of cost, ROI, leadtime, and market and growth potential.

One way for getting up close and personal is to check out what events your suppliers organize or sponsor that serve to both publicize and educate mold manufacturers on the industry’s latest technologies and trends with application engineers on hand.

Two such events—both of which were collaborations between industry suppliers and/or academia and associations—took place last month and offered insight into today’s EDM challenges and solutions, which is one of the featured topics in this month’s issue, as well as other machining and mold and die issues.

The Northeast EDM Symposium, which took place in New Britain, CT, was sponsored by Connecticut State University, the Institute for Industrial and Engineering Technology and Kern/Global EDM Supplies. It covered everything EDM from the basic fundamentals to the latest innovations and developments in its machinery, tooling, automation, electrodes, programming and filtration. Maximizing output, increasing speeds, lowering the cost of operating machines, getting the best surface finish with the least possible electrode wear, the gain in popularity in small hole EDM, the value of unattended machining/automation and using high-speed machining in conjunction with EDM were among the themes of the event. The venue—although a small university—offered an informal college-type environment that lent itself well to this event. Even though it was a regional event, it was international with respect to the speakers who came from as far as California, and Germany and Singapore, and attendees came from all over the U.S.

Accuracy was the running theme at Makino’s Die and Mold Technology Expo in Auburn Hills, MI, this year. Highlighted for its customers were some emerging technologies and trends such as weldless molding—a technology requiring a different approach to mold design that eliminates weld or knit lines on a molded part; the cost of ownership of automation as well as the five steps to automate: (1) process, (2) fixturing, (3) workflow, (4) robotic integration and (4) cellular control software; a solution for making your wire EDM more accurate and measuring that accuracy while ensuring that both your wire EDM engineer and wire EDM operator are part of the process; and, micromachining, a growing niche for moldmakers to target as it is projected to be a $450B market in the next three years, and of which 80 percent is done with wire EDM.

For this month’s focus on EDM, turn to page 19 for a look at how both wear parts and consumables serve as keys to maximizing your EDM and page 21 to learn the value of a used EDM.

So be sure to check out what your suppliers have to offer in the way of educational events like these. You can go to www.moldmakingtechnology.com to see a listing of industry events.

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