(See Related Article in EDM Today, Winter 2012 Issue)

X-Cell Tool & Mold, Inc. is a precision engineering and manufacturing facility that specializes in the design and manufacturing of high precision, close-tolerance, multi-cavity plastic injection molds.  These molds are mainly used by the medical, consumer goods and electronic industries.  The company is located in Erie, Pennsylvania and employs some of the top tool makers in the area.  The company resides in a modern manufacturing facility.

Over the past two years X-Cell has seen a major upswing in their business, and they needed to increase capacity, quickly.  X-Cell already had a number of Sodick machines including the K1CN CNC Small Hole EDM, AQ327L Wire EDM and MC640L High Speed Mill.  They turned to Sodick for their most recent purchase of an AG60L Sinker EDM.

“We were looking for a machine with all of the latest technologies to improve the basic EDM process, and we wanted to add a robot to the package to increase the amount of unattended time at the machine,” said Ronald Novel, President of X-Cell Tool & Mold.  X-Cell wanted to take full advantage of machine utilization time by running lights-out.

X-Cell decided to research various EDM brands of equipment for their capabilities, reliability, tolerance, repeatability and surface finishes.  They compared cycle times and surface finishes during test cuts with a variety of EDM manufacturers.

After all the research and test cuts were completed, the Sodick AG60L Sinker EDM was chosen.  “The Sodick machine was the top of the EDM machines being considered,” said Novel.  “We have other Sodick equipment and have been impressed with the quality and reliability, as well as all the support that we have received.  These were all important factors in making the choice to purchase the Sodick AG60L,” he added.

X-Cell also decided to purchase a System 3R Robot to integrate with the AG60L Sinker EDM.    They added tooling and workholding equipment and additional holders and pallets to support the robot and machine so that they could take full advantage of unattended machining time.  “The System 3R Dynaflix Pallets were fitted with Hermann Schmidt MCS 12x12 FPH Fine Pole Magnetic Chucks to facilitate lights out operations,” said Jim Cummings, Operations Manager of X-Cell Tool & Mold.   “Additional holders and System 3R Dynaflix Pallets fitted with Hermann Schmidt MCS 12x12 FPH Fine Pole Magnetic Chucks are planned as the Consumer Products portion of our business continues to grow.  We will continue to invest in additional High Speed Mills, Wire and Sinker EDM’s and fixturing to maximize our lights-out unattended machining capacity.  This investment is necessary to remain competitive in the high cavitation consumer products tooling market”, added Cummings.

The Sodick AG60L Sinker EDM is linear motor driven, high precision and features user-friendly EDM technology designed to enhance productivity and precision.  Linear motor driven EDMs do not have ball screws enabling high axis speeds, which when combined with high acceleration results in its own natural flushing.  The up-and-down motion of the electrode creates a pumping effect, sweeping out the eroded particles, gas and tar from the spark gap.  The machining result does not vary based on an operator’s experience since the machines controls are designed for every level operator and are easy to use.  The AG60L’s  linear motor axes drives are coupled with 4 millionths Heidenhain absolute glass scale feedback on the X, Y and Z axes, which are designed to ensure precision cutting and positioning accuracy since the true machine position is always known.  This helps to reduce set-up time at power up since the operator no longer has to home the machine.  To further ensure the improved accuracy of the machine Sodick has incorporated ceramics in the construction of the work table and work stand, as well as other critical parts, thereby minimizing the effects of thermal expansion.  The AG60L is backed by Sodick’s 10-year positioning accuracy guarantee.

“We have already found that the Sodick AG60L machine is easier and faster to program over the other machines in our facility,” said Cummings, “we also get a better surface finish and the finer finishes cut down or eliminate polishing time.  The AG60L machine offers program options that address almost any EDM situation.  After having used Sodick products for the past six years, we have found that their linear motors give us the reliability and repeatability that we require.  We have been pleased and excited about the performance of the Sodick equipment that we have in house.  We have not had a service call in a few years for any of the Sodick machines.”

X-Cell Tool & Mold is an ISO 9001:2008 certified tool and die shop specializing in high precision machining and the design and manufacture of high precision conventional and reel-to-reel molds.  X-Cell uses SolidWorks software for mold design and MasterCam for tool path programming.  The manufacturing floor features modern CNC equipment including Hole Popping and Wire EDM services, and well as High Speed Hard Milling and Electrode Manufacturing, CNC turning with live tooling, Laser Machining, Engraving and Conventional CNC EDMs.  The quality control department is capable of full first article inspections for tooling and part verification.

With the addition of the Sodick AG60L Sinker EDM, X-Cell is well positioned to provide even more capabilities for its customer base.  “Our goal is to grow and be profitable and to continue to serve our customers’ tooling and product needs, supporting them from the onset of a program through to when the last parts are run in the mold,” said Novel.

For More Information: X-Cell Tool & Mold, Inc.  2002 Evanston Ave. Erie, PA 16506  ph: 814-835-3432 www.xcelltoolandmold.com