New wire machine questions/justification
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  1. #1
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    Default New wire machine questions/justification

    I'm being called into a meeting this morning on the justification of a new wire machine. In short, how do you all justify a new machine?
    A little background info: We have an existing machine bought new in 2003. Overall it runs very well with minor issues. We do have a problem now that's to the point of calling in a service tech. I mentioned while they're there just have a general pm done as well. That's to the tune of $6-7k. Mgt seems to think the machine is nearing the end of it's life and would rather put that towards a new machine. If we're going to get new I'd like to also keep the existing as we do have the work-load to keep 2 running. We do mostly stamping die work to support our production. We are not a job shop and do not do any outside work. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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    Hi moto367:
    When I bought new in 2011 I was replacing an old machine.
    I justified it because of four problems with the old one:
    1) It was unreliable and would break down inconveniently
    2) It was inaccurate and couldn't make round holes round anymore without fudging the code.
    3) Some parts had become unobtainable
    4) I was critically dependent on obsolete technology I couldn't ever replace (Japanese Epson computer 720K formatted floppies)

    I don't regret my decision.

    As I see it you can justify new wire EDM technology over a 2003 vintage machine to gain mostly convenience.
    You won't be all that much faster.
    You won't be all that much more accurate.
    You will likely be more reliable
    It'll be nicer to use with coloured graphics and "wizards" and automated edge and center finding...non-essential toys to make life a bit easier.

    You can gain something you might find useful like bigger capacity so you can benefit there.
    You can tailor your purchase to cater to particular strengths of a particular machine or brand...versatility with wire size is a good example, so is large taper cutting capability, or a rotary axis.

    All brands will offer roughly comparable performance until you get right down into the fine details.
    They'll all cut within 0.0005" without breaking a sweat.
    They'll all cut however many square inches per hour.
    They'll all cut tapers.

    It's when you need particular performance that exceeds these basic requirements that you can benefit from a more thorough evaluation and a more careful choice.

    So I would embrace the opportunity to get to play with a new toy especially if you don't have to pay for it.
    But I would not expect to have it create a major new paradigm for wire cutting performance...it'll still be a wire machine with all of the strengths and limitations of what the old one had; enhanced a little bit but not ground breaking.

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining

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  4. #3
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    Sadly you may not get much of a return on your machine. I say, if it runs and you have the work to keep it going then keep it and use it till it dies.
    We recently picked up a new Fanuc Wire. We were going to sell one of the two we currently have to replace but both machines run well. Both machines are early 2000’s with 30,000 run hours.
    Yes they are slower than the new one but they run and make the company money.
    Long story short: keep the old one and add the new one for the more finicky Work.

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    Since this sounds like a machine that is critical to your operation I would at a minimum convince management to bridge a period of time for the switch over from the old machine to the new machine especially if you switch to a different machine brand. I have a customer that switched over from Charmilles to Chmer and there were some bumps in the road for them getting the kinks worked out of the first Chmer machine. Now they have 3 Chmers and their old Charmilles sits in my shop.

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