Case study Out with the old EDM machines, in with the new

Editor: Eric Culp

Neptune Engineering, a Hertford, UK-based injection moulding and toolmaking specialist, has invested in Sodick wire and die sink technology from the supplier’s British agent Sodi-Tech, a decision said to have spurred even greater growth.

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The manufacture of precision parts is the mainstay of the shop, and new EDM units have helped it eliminate the need for subcontracting.
The manufacture of precision parts is the mainstay of the shop, and new EDM units have helped it eliminate the need for subcontracting.
(Source: Sodick)

The company used a Sodick AD30L die sink EDM to replace a 20-year-old model, and a Sodick VZ300L wire EDM will be used to eliminate subcontracted jobs and thus cut lead-times and costs. Customers expected to benefit the most are in the medical sector, responsible for around a third of Neptune sales.

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The changing of the guard

The direction of the 40-year-old shop shifted in 2010 when Gary Statham took over the business from his father. He moved the company to premises double in size, and over the next two years invested in new CNC machining centre technology and the latest CADCAM software. In late 2013, he decided to buy new wire and die sink EDMs.

The investments are said to have already paid off: since Statham took the reins, the company has reportedly tripled its turnover. “Before coming here in 2010, I worked for a successful mould making business in Buckinghamshire,” Statham said. That shop used Sodick units, and at Neptune, the existing die sink was machine 20 years old, so the company had to subcontract wire work. This precluded the shop from meeting increasing demand for shorter lead-times and more precision.

The VZ300L is said to be a cost-friendly, entry level wire EDM with features such as linear motor drives, glass scale feedback, high speed AWT and a 10-year positioning guarantee. The Sodick AD30L die sinker also has these attributes, which can reportedly cut EDM time by up to 50%.

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