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You might think that medical manufacturing always calls for complicated machine tools with lots of high-tech features for applications where no expense can be spared. This is not true. Medical manufacturing is often about economical production, where affordability, reliability and compactness are key values.
This is the reality that the MD+PRO wire EDM from Mitsubishi EDM (Wood Dale, Illinois) is apparently configured to suit. This wire machine is designed for round-the-clock production of medical instrument components and implant parts (table size: 23 by 20 inches). According to developers, features that might be needed for a die/mold shop or toolroom but are not needed in medical have been left off. This design philosophy keeps machine costs down while simplifying operation and maintenance. The features retained as standard equipment are those that enhance high speed and precision, the company says.
The machine is equipped with an anti-electrolysis system that helps prevent discoloration or undesirable metallurgical changes to workpiece surfaces (it is important that medical instruments be clean and clean-looking). The PM4 control has “stepped shape” capabilities that allow multiple parts with different shapes and thicknesses to be machined without specifying machining parameters for each shape or thickness variation. SL (Step Less) Control is another feature for improving the accuracy when finishing step-shaped workpieces. Circuits to enhance straightness and fine surface finish are built in.
The new machine has an automatic wire threader that handles wire in diameters from 0.006 to 0.012 inch. Additional provisions for automated operation include an all-axis absolute control, which enables highly accurate positioning without returning to zero after a power outage. A servo-driven B-axis option provides automatic indexing for “turn-and-burn” operation that eliminates operator intervention.
A CS (Cost Saving) mode is designed to run the machine at settings that conserve the wire electrode, extend the life of dielectric fluid and filter elements, and reduce energy consumption.
When the company introduced this machine at the grand re-opening of its enlarged and remodeled technical center in suburban Chicago, Nick Giannotte, vice president of EDM sales, explained that this model was ideal for companies that needed a bank of wire EDM machines to produce medical parts in high volume. “It’s laboratory quality for a 24/7 factory setting,” as he described the machine.