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Unlocking precision and efficiency with EDM, measuring and automation

Jul 02, 2023

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Werkzeugtechnik Niederstetten (WTN), a full-service supplier in the field of forming technology and precision parts, relies on the technology of GF Machining Solutions for EDM, measuring and automation.

WTN, a toolmaker for cold forming, was founded in 1996 in Niederstetten, Germany. As a member of the internationally active Würth Group, Werkzeugtechnik Niederstetten is a partner for industrial companies in Germany and abroad from a wide range of industries.

As a full-service supplier, WTN offers its customers everything from consulting, simulation and design to production-ready tools (e.g. dies, punches, basic tools) from a single source. In addition, the toolmaking company manufactures precision parts in one-off and small series production according to 3D data sets and individual customer requirements, primarily for the packaging and mechanical engineering industries, as well as for tool and mould making.

In addition to established production processes such as CNC turning and grinding, 5-axis simultaneous and HSC milling, and die-sinking and wire-cut EDM, WTN also uses new technologies such as 3D metal printing and PECM technology. The components manufactured by WTN are often very complex and require precise surfaces to meet the highest standards.

To meet its manufacturing needs, WTN owns several GF Machining Solutions wire EDM machines, as well as a die-sinking cell with two GF Machining Solutions die-sinking EDM machines (Agie Charmilles Form X 400), a Zeiss Contura measuring machine and a Fanuc robot. The two Form X machines were purchased for their accuracy and precision, with the measuring machine automating the calibration of electrodes and components.

The Agie Charmilles Form X series guarantees very high precision because its sophisticated and unique thermal control system compensates for temperature fluctuations by using a temperature-stable dielectric to cool the X, Y and Z glass scales and the Z-axis ball screw. During assembly, the die-sinker housing is thermally isolated from the high-speed Z-axis, which is cooled with dielectric fluid. In addition, the structure of the Form X series has been specially designed with a polymer frame to ensure constant positioning accuracy; the robustness of the machine absorbs all mechanical forces to maintain an accurate gap between the part and the electrode. This makes the Form X suitable for machining complex applications.

Eduard Weber, Head of Production, who has been at WTN for many years, says the new machines from GF Machining Solutions have brought improvements in both accuracy of positioning and processes, as electrodes can now also be calibrated at night. The company uses many different electrodes made of copper, which first have to be manufactured, calibrated, and to a considerable extent tested for their quality — all facilitated by automation. The workpiece material mix is approx. 95 percent carbide and five percent hardened steel.

In addition to precision, another reason why WTN chose GF machines is the service offered by GF Machining Solutions. “This is incredibly important because the cell is very complex,” says Weber. “Service is the be-all and end-all for us. The best machines and the best operators are of no use to us if we encounter a problem and we can't get someone on the line within an hour.” One part of their excellent service is quick and easy accessibility and assistance in case of problems, be it via remote maintenance or through prompt problem handling on site. For a company like WTN, which faces tough international competition and possesses the most demanding customers, the solutions from GF Machining Solutions are therefore an excellent choice. “GF Machining Solutions helps us meet the demands placed on us,” explains Weber.