Sodick Inc.
The AQ750LH on display at IMTS 2012 has a 24in Z cutting capability and a fixed table design that allows for heavier workpieces to be machined without affecting table positioning or accuracy

Extended Z Axis Raises Wire EDM to New Height

Oct. 10, 2012
UV axis travels allow 45-degree machining at full Z capacity Control system incorporates collision protection Linear motor drive system

Sodick Inc. is releasing two new electric discharge machines, the AQ750LH and the AQ1200LH, claiming the additions elevate its wire EDM series “to new heights” with an extended Z-axis height. 

Electric discharge machining (EDM) is the process of cutting desired shape from a workpiece using a series of electrical discharges between two electrodes, separated by a dielectric liquid. In wire EDM a strand of wire fed through a toolholder delivers the electric current.

With over 55,000 EDMs installed, Sodick machines are in use around the world to produce dies and molds, and other articles that standard machining methods cannot produce as effectively. 

The new AQ Series wire EDMs are Sodick’s largest designs, and have linear motor drive technology as standard.

The AQ Series was created in response to the growing demand for large capacity wire EDMs with extreme taper capability.  These systems are frequently chosen for producing automotive molds and dies, and for aerospace and energy applications like turbine hubs, aerofoil vanes, instrument panels and bumpers.

The AQ750LH has a 24-in. Z cutting capacity and a fixed table design that allows heavier workpieces to be machined without affecting the table positioning or workpiece accuracy.  Additional standard features include an L-cut wire chopper, high-speed generator, low-maintenance tank seal, multi-filtration system, wire jumbo feeder, super jet AWT, and vertical sliding tank door. 

The X-Y travel for the AQ750LH machine is 29.53 in. X 16.68 in. 

The AQ1200LH machine also has a 24-in. Z axis, with an X-Y travel of 47.24 in. X 31.50 in.

Both AQ models have distinctive UV axis travels that allow taper angles up to 45 degrees to be machined to the full Z capacity of the model.  Because the UV travels are larger than the XY movements, tapering can be performed beyond the normal XY travels of the machine.

The control system on the AQ Series incorporates collision protection to prevent against operator error.  This technology monitors voltage in the axes drives constantly, and when voltage exceeds a pre-determined load the machine will stop and give the operator an error message. 

Sodick explained that with a linear motor drive system there is no mechanical connection between the linear motor drives and the table, unlike ball screw drives, which can incur costly repairs in the event of a collision. 

The AQ Series controls also feature automatic machining condition selection.  This is a database installed with the machine to store details on the best conditions for a particular wire diameter, workpiece material, or workpiece thickness. According to Sodick, it ensures the best possible machining results and allows the operator to access the extensive database of historic conditions provided or to select specific conditions to suit particular applications.

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)