There was a time when tool and die making was performed manually, step-by-step, by hand. The difficulty of grinding and making sure the punches and die sections had precise dimensions was a major obstacle. Then came wire EDM!
Wire EDM helped improve the accuracy and quality of tools and dies. It also helped reduce tooling costs and production time by skipping the need for skilled die makers, since elaborate punch and die sections can now be made using a computer program of the shape.
Advantages Of Using Wire EDM For Stamping Dies And Punches
Wire EDM introduced a one-piece die section made from a solid block of steel, which is much stronger than the previous sectionalized dies. Sectionalized dies require more mounting time and also carries the risk of sections that move. This can be prevented when using wire EDM.
One-piece die sections are also cheaper yet have superior quality than the older style dies. One piece of tool steel can also produce both punch and die through wire EDM.
Speaking of quality, tools and dies made by hand often need more spare parts in case of damage or repair. You also need backups in wire EDM, but it’s relatively easy to duplicate exact parts since dimensions are stored in a computer.
Creating extra parts is easier, faster, and more precise than ever before. The same also goes for dowel holes, replacement dies, or punch sections caused by wear or change in design. Die repairs are also convenient by replacing damaged sections with inserts that are created with wire EDM, or welding the damaged areas and then go through wire EDM machines.
Another advantage in the production of dies and punches is being able to utilize tougher tool steels. Wire EDM can accommodate the tougher types of steel, even tungsten carbide. Using tougher tool steels produces better quality tools that can be used for a longer period of time – saving you money in the long run.
Longer tool life can also be achieved because of improved surface retention of lubricant caused by the fine textured surface when using wire EDM.
Better Accuracy Reduce Costs
Now let’s talk about accuracy. In the past, workers used magnifiers to ensure the exact specifications of the die sections were ground properly to the last millimeter. This process is inaccurate and it’s dangerous to the eyesight of the workers.
Incorrect measurements will also cost you time and money when the production has to start all over again. With wire EDM, accurate measurements and clearances can be made since machines can move in increments of as small as 40 millionths of an inch or .00004” up to .001 mm.
Distortions created in heat-treating are also eliminated since punches and dies can still go through wire EDM even after heat-treatment. Inserts can also be designed for high wear areas and can be installed even with the die in the press.
Wire EDM can reduce costs further by being able to build smaller progressive dies. It allows dies to be sharpened much deeper and longer since it can produce exact die clearances that last longer.
Though there are many advantages of using wire EDM machining for your next project, be sure to choose an experienced company with quality machines and expert operators so you get the best possible results. Whether you need prototypes or are ready for a production run, contact us at CAM Tech, Inc.