WEDM in uncontrolled environment
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  1. #1
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    My company is planning to move into a building with an unairconditioned shop area. Does anyone have a WEDM in a unairconditioned shop? Are you having any problems with the machine, ie. maintenance or accuracy issues with no AC or HEAT? I am in SOuth Texas where the summers are around 95s-100s and the winters are in the 40s-70s degree range.
    Thanks, Jeff.

  2. #2
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    Not a good idea at all, they should at least keep the EDM's in a seperate room with climate control and vent the chillers out of the room.

    Particularly in the area you are in, EDM's can have heat problems in that kind of environment. The first time they blow a $5,000-$10,000 main unit they could have paid for the room, not including the cost of innacurate, scrapped parts.

    You will also see wide temperature fluctuations during the day, this can cause things like position and wire alignments to go berzerk.

    What kind of machines?

  3. #3
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    I have been running a pair of 440cc by charmilles for about two and a half years in a shop that gets up to 98 degrees in the summer.
    The sun beats down on a wall next to me all afternoon and there is very little ventilation.
    Last summer I picked up a dowel hole (jig ground)
    in the morning and then late afternoon, the hole was .0052 off location compared to the morning pickup. As long as you are not trying to hold anything within .005 you should be fine(ha ha).
    Sorry about that, but good luck.

  4. #4
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    EDM's in an uncontrolled environment is asking for trouble. The electronics and generators could have failures running in the high heat, not to mention humidity. Depending on the machine, accuracy goes out the window with relatively small variations in temperature.

    Remember, these are not built with massive upper castings (as compared to a milling machine) since there is no tool pressure, so thermal deflection can occur with a relatively small change in temperature.

    They would, as MitsTech said, be well served to put the EDM machines in a controlled environment.

  5. #5
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    Sounds like your company wants to be penney wise, and end up a dollar short!

  6. #6
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    Save a dime to spend a dollar, it's the American way!

  7. #7
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    I worked in a place with an uncontrolled environment. Nightmare!!! Do what ever it takes to get some walls and an air-conditioner. That company had a Charmilles 310 that was only 4 years old before it was in need of a major reconditioning. In comparison, I worked in a "clean room" with four 1980's Agies that are still running perfectly today.
    Along those lines... Can anyone recommend a central chiller manufacturer? I'm looking to get away from all of these "machine side" chillers and go to a central unit mounted on the roof. I'm thinking I can save a good buck on the lessened burden on my air-conditioning as well as maybe even the cost of running one motor vs. the thirteen the separate motors I'm running now. Added bonus will be lessoned noise...
    Venting current chillers isn't an option.

  8. #8
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    Jay Cee, can you relocate all of the existing chillers? What problems are preventing you from venting them?

    One major problem with a central chiller is if it goes down, so do all of your machines. Single point of failure.

    Also, wiring in all of the alarm circuts for all of the machines, and do any of the chillers have logic circuts that interface with the machines? (not just a simple switched hi/low fault alarm that can be duplicated with a series of relays to each individual machine).

    It most certianly can be done, just about anything can, but consider the faults as well as the benefits. How much will this system cost to impliment? How much expensive downtime? How long before you see an ROI in energy savings for all of your initial outlay?

  9. #9
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    I'll just echo what everyone said already, an EDM in that kind of enviroment might as well be a bandsaw. Nothing good can come of it.

    Cheers!

    Roy Solomon

  10. #10
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    Jay Cee
    You might check with Transor. www.transorfilter.com

    It would probably be a special circumstance for them, but they make central dielectric systems and such. They should be able to come up with a central cooling system for the right money.

    It's worth checking out, I have worked with Transor in the past and they are a good company to deal with.

    You might also look at Remcor http://www.imiremcor.com/ . They also do custom systems but I don't knw if they will do anything that big. They used to make the cooling units for the dielectric system that Agie used on their US made machines in the early 80's.

    Good luck!
    Greg

  11. #11
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    Excellent points to my chiller issues Mits. I am fortunate that the EDM's all have a separate heat exchange system that the machine flows through only when it senses need. The chiller itself flows through that unit at all times. That will cure my worries about alarms/machine to chiller communication and wiring. But the single point of failure was not something I considered. I guess I could always store my current chillers and wheel them back out if needed. I was hoping to pawn them to help with the start up cost of the new unit. I am going to look at total cost of two different manufactures this afternoon. Will keep you posted if interested.
    Can't vent in current situation due to 35 foot high ceilings. Plus I'm picturing 13 exhaust vents headed up to the ceiling making it look like a tin forest. Either that or a big tin spider if you run them all together. No way to side wall vent because I am centrally located within a massive building. No one wants my chillers heating up their department so the roof seems the only option. Would love to hear any other suggestions.

  12. #12
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    Jay Cee,
    One other note that I thought of. As far as getting rid of the existing chillers, I would keep them. Mainly for re-sale of the individual machines as you upgrade to newer equipment, so you still have a chiller to offer with the machine.
    Greg

  13. #13
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    Chino, you have got to be kidding, since when is San Antonio considered south Texas?
    Really man, I just got back from 5 days in Big Bend, not counting driving. Rolled into home at 2am this morning, 15 hours of driving each way.
    Went through San Antonio both ways and man I hate your freeways, thought ours were bad. No way though is San Antonio considered south Texas.
    Still gets hot as hell there though.
    Seriously though, any process that includes close tolerances does not belong in an uncontrolled climate. This is especially true of wedm where you are working with tolerances in the tenths.
    I have seen some companies try to get around this by mounting a window unit AC directly to the controller cabinet (screw the operator), but this does nothing for your mechanicals.
    In addition to the aforementioned problems holding dimensions and tolerances I have seen over-heated controllers decide to do some strange things all on their lonesome. If your lucky they'll just quit.
    You need to have a serious talk with your boss. If you are dealing with an exiting customer base who are expecting high-quality parts and timely deliveries, you may be in danger of losing them if you can't meet their needs.

  14. #14
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    I do not know much, if any, about EDM, but I do know something about air conditioning. It will probably cost $20 to $25 per square foot to air condition the space. On a 1,000 square foot shop, that is $25,000. Your management might compare that with the cost of running in an unconditioned shop. From the posts above, I would guess that your company would get their money back is a year.

    Thermo1


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