Case Study EDM plays key role in Indian manufacturer's tool production

Editor: Eric Culp

Godrej employs most of its 10,000 workers at its Mumbai headquarters. When they need high accuracy, they turn to EDM.

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A finished mould tool at Godrej, one of India's most diverse manufacturing conglomerates. It uses EDM for a number of applications.
A finished mould tool at Godrej, one of India's most diverse manufacturing conglomerates. It uses EDM for a number of applications.
(Source: Haas)

From humble beginnings in the late 19th Century, this well-regarded company is said to be one of the best-known brands on the Indian sub-continent. A manufacturing conglomerate with a wide range of goods, it makes everything from engineering products to vegetarian soap to refrigerators.

The company campus hosts much of Godrej's multifarious manufacturing activity and looks more like an immaculately maintained suburb of the country’s second most populous city than the base of a prolific manufacturer. Along its wide streets are its factory blocks, each dedicated to a different product or engineering service. Some of them are unremarkable looking concrete buildings of three or four stories. One or two are cavernous, 100-foot-high hangars with gaping doors that look big enough to swallow an airship.

D.K. Sharma, vice president at the Tooling Division Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd, said the company covers a number of areas. “Godrej is well-known in many different industries. It is vitally important that we choose our technology partners very carefully."

A short walk from a showroom with the company's goods is the busy tooling machine shop, where it makes the moulds and dies used to manufacture countless die-cast aluminium parts for its products. Godrej owns 18 Haas CNC machine tools, five in the tooling department, which is run by S.M. Nayak, general manager of Engineering Services. “Three of the Haas vertical machining centres are being used to make electrodes for our sinker EDM machines,” he said. “The other two, VF-3s, are used to make conventional moulds and dies in steel.”

Electrodes for EDM (electrical discharge machining) sinker machines create an imprint or cavity in a machined workpiece. Electrode holders clamp the precision-machined, tungsten carbide electrodes in place to ensure a high degree of accuracy and repeatability. The process is typically used when the surface finish of a component and the dimensions of intricate features are critical, which means the electrodes themselves have to be very finely machined.

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