EDM Switching software cuts costs, time demands at Canadian shop

Editor: Eric Culp

Changing over to software from Delcam for the design and manufacture of its electrodes has saved both time and money for a North American tool house by bringing farmed-out work back onto the shop floor.

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Complicated electrodes are part of the shop’s production.
Complicated electrodes are part of the shop’s production.
(Source: Delcam)

Canada’s Cavalier Tools and Manufacturing operates out of Windsor, Ontario. Having 35 years’ experience in its field is said to have made Cavalier Tools a key player and a leading innovator in the mould making industry. The company creates 200 or more moulds per year, most of which require multiple electrodes for their manufacture.

Expanding without really ‘expanding’

Brian Bendig, the president of Cavalier Tools, explained that the business had aspired to expand “without adding bodies, without adding bricks and mortar”. The company’s engineers were aware that EDM was a long process that should have room for improvement. So Cavalier Tools turned to Delcam for the answer: the solution was to add an OPS Ingersol machine and the Delcam Electrode software. Bendig described Cavalier Tools as “creative problem-solvers” and this is something to which Delcam said it can relate. The software supplier said it pays close attention to its customers’ needs and is able to work with other businesses to create customised solutions that allow customers to reach their potential, and to realise their aims and objectives.


See: How machine tool design improves ease of operation

Bendig praised the company. “Delcam did a really good job of working with OPS Ingersoll in Germany to construct a solution that simplified the EDM process for Cavalier Tools.”

Working with machinery suppliers to provide a solution

This kind of partnership is part of a larger trend. Tool and mould industry suppliers have noted that machine makers, especially those in Germany, have been increasingly pushing for partnerships with suppliers of follow-on products and services such as cutting tools and workholding equipment (morehere). Mark Langlois, the head of EDM at Cavalier Tools, described the transition to be “like night and day”. Before the Delcam software was added, the EDM process could often prove tedious. “Now, we just take data from Delcam Electrode directly to Ingersoll so there’s no typing,” Langlois said. “Everything is perfect.

Adapting software to customer requirements

“We had Delcam customise a few items inside the program menu so that it will meet Cavalier Tools’ needs,” Langlois explained. There was more to do: Delcam said it was also able to work together with OPS Ingersoll to create a custom script to streamline the programming of the machine’s operations.

Langlois noted that the software supplier’s solution has cut down the workload significantly. “EDM was a long process,” he said. “Now it’s just a couple of clicks; I can get my electrode, with literally almost no work. Click, click, click: done.”

Once the electrode design has been finalised, it can be put straight into Delcam’s Power Mill CAM system for machining, according to the supplier.

The savings Cavalier Tools have made are contributing to steep progress at the company, according to Bendig. “We’re roughly five or six times faster than before,” he said. “The increase in throughput has been phenomenal. We’ve gone from outsourcing about $600,000 a year on EDM to pulling that back in-house with a single machine, utilising Delcam’s software.”

Increased productivity said to pay for the lot

Bendig underscored the fact that the increased productivity from having Delcam Electrode and the OPS Ingersol machine has paid for all the costs incurred from buying them.

“At Cavalier Tools, we’re always trying to get things done more efficiently: with Ingersoll and Delcam products, we can outdo everybody else,” the company president concluded.