Overall cost to run wire EDM
Close
Login to Your Account
Likes Likes:  0
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    385
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    2

    Post

    I was wondering if anybody could give me a ballpark estimate of the overall cost to run a wire EDM machine, not counting labor. Including wire and whatever else is required to run the machine. Electricity, if that's significant -- I don't know a thing about these machines. Say I was cutting through 2 inch thick 1045 steel, what might the cost per inch of cut be? You could throw in a typical labor cost too, though the machine runs unattended most of the time so that seems hard to figure to me.

    The reason I ask is because in the R&D shop where I work we have a wire EDM and the guy running it (who generally is a very smart fellow) does stuff that looks absolutely dumb as hell to me. He needs to cut a series of more-or-less oval holes, with some sharp corners in them that do justify the EDM. So he drills his threading holes sorta in the middle instead of out near where the cut is going to be. Sorta in the middle, but a bit farther from one end than the other... and guess where he wants to actually start useful cutting? On the FARTHEST SIDE.

    Then he wants to make some parts in the mill, so he buys ground plate and EDM's for a full week to cut a bunch of 2" cubes which he mills into final parts that in the end have no ground surface and no EDM-cut surface remaining anywhere on them. Where I come from, we buy a bar the right size and saw cubes. We try to do good work here, but we aren't making space shuttle parts either.

    I'm kinda the lathe-mill-manual guy here, and running EDM looks like watching grass grow to me. But if this guy keeps this up I feel I need to say something to him when a tactful opportunity arises and would like a bit of knowledge to back me up.

    Thanks in advance for any input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    1,124
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    8
    Likes (Received)
    284

    Post

    What is the year/make/model of the machine in your shop?

    Does the machine run (idle when not cutting) 24 hours/day, or is it shut off when not in use?

    What size/type of wire is being used? Can you get info from the label on the wire spool?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    385
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    2

    Post

    Well the machine says Sodick AQ535L on it, but the control thing with all the buttons and whatnot says LQ33W. The machine was bought new just over one year ago.

    The wire spool says KH Wire and 30kg and .2mm and 200 DP30-30 on it. The wire looks like brass.

    The machine is turned off when not in use, but is in use about half the time.

    The geniuses here set this huge and costly-looking machine next to a belt sander, so it's all covered with grit and dust. I mentioned this to the operator and to our boss, but nothing's been done about it yet. :rolleyes:

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    San Jose, Ca. USA "That light at the end of the tunnel just might be......"
    Posts
    2,244
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    13

    Post

    Fuzzbean,

    The answers you are seeking are fairly elusive. There are so many variables to the cost of operation that without knowing a lot more than you tell us there is no way to nail down the numbers.

    The costs commonly encountered are :

    1) Amortization of the machine (tax rate, payments, depreciation schedule, etc)
    2) Running cost (wire cost, resin, spare parts, electricity, repairs and operator labor)
    3) Building overhead (how many square feet devoted to EDM)

    Does the operator run only the wire EDM or does he/she run other machines as well while the EDM is cutting?

    It sounds to me like someone has one hell of a gravy job and enjoys lunch breaks.

    With your description of what is being cut I don't know how any $$ can be made using the wire EDM. The only time I have ever seen this happen is when the customer has specified on the drawing that EDM be used for certain operations to eliminate or minimize stress in the part and is willing to pay the rate.

    Is it possible that the owner wants the EDM in the shop just for show and tell?

    My machines run in a/c rooms with temp controlled to + - 1 degree with air filtration system running 24/7. That poor Sodick it taking a beating.

    If I were you I would apply for that job ! (after they get the a/c installed) ..

    TMD

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    385
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    2

    Post

    Air conditioning?

    Ha!

    The design office is air conditioned; machinists work out in constant 95 degree heat all summer -- from June through September -- and our machines are all brown from the high humidity and salt air.

    Then in winter they won't turn on the heat until mid-December.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    1,124
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    8
    Likes (Received)
    284

    Post

    Fuzzbean,

    Ditto here... my edm room:

    68°F 24 hrs/day 365 days/yr.

    Sealed/insulated room, filtered air, carpeted floor, cleaner than my house.

    Can't imagine trying to do any sort of accurate work in the conditions you describe.

    ---

    fwiw:

    Electricity to run my machine, chiller and A/C runs about $1.25/hour.

    Wire costs between $1/hr and $8/hr depending on a number of variables.

    If something breaks on a wire machine, it's typically Expen$ive.

    Tooling is VERY expensive (at least the good stuff is).

    As TMD pointed out... the actual cost/hr is really difficult to quantify; it might "appear" low on the surface if you simply amortize filters, electricity and wire, but by the time all the support equipment, maintenance, and consumables are added in, the price goes up very quickly. Chances are good that it's the most expensive machine to run in a shop by the time all those factors are added in.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    385
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    2

    Post

    The operator here does run a couple CNC mills off and on while the EDM is running, so I figured the labor part would be pretty blurry.

    But just having a machine like that at all is got to be expensive -- depreciation or whatever. And this one's likely to depreciate more rapidly than most, it appears.

    It is a great thing to have for our R&D department. We use it where actual production parts would be broached, saving us lots of time and money that making up special broaches would cost. And we also use it a lot to cut through stacks of sheet steel, to simulate stamped parts that would otherwise require expensive dies or really troublesome milling to make.

    But I'm the only one in the whole department that has any production experience. The other guy and the designers wouldn't believe how we ran machines at my last job -- the CNC mills and lathes there had no paint left inside the cabinets. These guys here run the latest CNC machines like it was 1930, but then wear them out before their time by neglecting maintainence.

    The lack of production know-how on the part of the designers, combined with the typical Japanese "just do it, don't complain" attitude on the part of the production department, is killing this company.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    7,725
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    311
    Likes (Received)
    1822

    Post

    """
    But I'm the only one in the whole department that has any production experience. The other guy and the designers wouldn't believe how we ran machines at my last job -- the CNC mills and lathes there had no paint left inside the cabinets. These guys here run the latest CNC machines like it was 1930, but then wear them out before their time by neglecting maintainence.

    The lack of production know-how on the part of the designers, combined with the typical Japanese "just do it, don't complain" attitude on the part of the production department, is killing this company.
    """

    You may want to arrange a private showing of Gung-ho with Michael Keaton < I think that was the name of the movie >


    Anyway, the variables make that estimate quite difficult, but for what it's worth I average at $9.00 / hour on either of my machines. No service calls in 5+ years, so the figures are consumables + wearing parts + electricity. If you cut lots of steel and taller parts, add another $1.50 for extra resin and wire usage.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    999
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    6

    Post

    Fuzzy,

    Having spent a few years in Japan (Yamaguchi-ken) and on Okinawa, I sympthize with your problem.

    Recognizing the We Are ONE Team, Management/Seniors (age or positional) are ALWAYS right situation in Japanese society, you have one hell of a problem. "The nail that raises above the floor gets hammered first" problem.

    My guess is you have already figured this out, but it was my observation that "frank" discussions IN THE WORK PLACE that might cause loss of face to someone never takes place, again, not in the work place.

    BUT, that said, after a few friendly beers, in some cozy after hours place, well "everyone" knows anything said while under the influence can be blamed on the beer. By dropping a very gentle suggestion "while slightly drunk" might see some senior "get a great idea" that eventually flows downward to address the problem/your suggestion.

    Good Luck!
    Stan Db


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •