A leading toolmaker has added to its portfolio of Sodick machines with the addition of a new AL40G die-sink model from Sodi-Tech EDM.
Hampshire-based JSG Engineering is enjoying long-term success using a range of Sodick EDM wire, die-sink and hole-drill machines that provide high-quality work for the company’s customers and help generate repeat business, particularly in the medical/pharmaceutical sector.
Specialising in all aspects of mould tool manufacture, including prototyping, refurbishments and repairs, JSG Engineering has built a strong reputation for 100% customer satisfaction. Established in 1990, the family-run business manufactures all types of mould tools, including plastic and rubber injection, rubber compression and transfer tools at its 4000ft² facility in Emsworth, near Portsmouth.
“Business is strong at present, particularly on pharmaceutical side,” states director Gary Carpenter. “One customer in particular has been requesting several mould tools as we’ve progressed through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This demand recently led the company to review its die-sinking capacity. JSG Engineering had some older die-sink machines on site (not Sodick) that were reaching the end of their useful service life.
“We’ve been buying Sodick machines for the past 25 years and currently have a number on site,” says Mr Carpenter. “These machines, which include AQ325L, A530D, AQ45L and K1C models, have been very reliable for us, so it made sense to look at Sodick again. There’s nothing else out there that touches these machines in my opinion.”
During a telephone conversation with Sodi-Tech EDM, JSG Engineering learnt that a demonstration model of the Sodick AL40G die-sink model would be on display at the recent MACH 2022 exhibition, so Mr Carpenter expressed his interest. It was not long before the machine was undergoing installation at the company’s facility.
The AL40G die-sink EDM incorporates Sodick’s latest SP controller with Smart Pulse generator. Featuring linear motors and absolute linear scales in the X-, Y- and Z-axes, the machine comes with a 10-year guarantee on positioning accuracy.
At JSG Engineering, the Sodick AL40G sparks tools from materials that include everything from aluminium and P20 steel, through to fully hardened tool steel. A notable job involves the production of mould tool inserts made from tool steel that produce plastic pharmaceutical clamps for use in drug production processes. Due to the complexity of the clamps, a number of manufacturing processes are required, including EDM and grinding.
“Some of the tools we produce are up to three times faster to produce on our AL40G than our previous die-sink resource,” says Mr Carpenter. “The quality is also far better and we can achieve a mirror finish if required. Where before we would have to polish a cavity after sparking, now there’s no need for 90% of our jobs, so it’s saved a significant amount of time.”
Energy efficiency is another benefit, particularly in the current inflationary environment for electricity, where manufacturers are having to find ways of offsetting the cost burden.
Mr Carpenter says: “The fact that the latest Sodick technology is energy-efficient and so fast with its linear technology means that we definitely save on our bills.”
A further plus point for JSG is the inherent ease-of-use that comes with Sodick EDM machines: “We’ve had a lot of experience with Sodick machines and always found them easy to learn, even with the evolution of controls over the years,” explains Mr Carpenter. “The training package is excellent. My youngest son was at Sodi-Tech last week for some training. When he came back he knew things that even I didn’t know. Anything that helps to alleviate the skills shortage is welcome, particularly in the toolmaking sector. Good toolmakers are very hard to come by.”
JSG Engineering clearly has its finger on the pulse when it comes to combatting market challenges such as rising energy costs and the skills shortage, thanks in some ways to its ongoing preference for Sodick EDM machines. This strategy has also led to ongoing repeat business from the many industries that the company serves, which aside from medical/pharmaceutical include defence, aerospace, nuclear, electronics, construction, automotive and marine.