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CNC International Supplies 5th New EDM Machine to MultiSpark

12 Nov 2015

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Founding a business relationship based on exceptional service levels has paid dividends for CNC International with the recent supply of its fifth new machine tool to wire and die sink EDM subcontractors Multispark. The delivery of two new Accutex AL600 wire EDM machines in December 2014 is just the latest chapter in this longstanding relationship.. 

Poole based Multispark is one of the UK's foremost technology leaders in the EDM field with a rich history in the niche sector that dates back to the 1960's. With decades of expertise that is put to task on some of the most technologically advanced wire and die sink EDM machines, Multispark is a market leading subcontractor to the oil & gas, motorsport, satellite and aviation industries. To retain its benchmark position in the EDM sector, Multispark has acquired machines from a broad range of manufacturers down the years. The common thread among these machines is they are all serviced by Ross-On-Wye based CNC International. 

Back in 2000, the ISO: 9001 registered subcontractor had a machine shop full to the brim with Swiss wire and spark erosion machine tools. However, despite the multitude of new machine acquisitions from the vendor, the service proved woefully poor. Something that enabled CNC International to get its foot through Multispark's door. For over 25 years, CNC International has specialised in the servicing, retrofitting, rebuilding and sales of used EDM machines. It was this reputation and expertise that formed the basis of a long-lasting relationship. 

Discussing the situation over the last 15 years, Multispark's Director, Mr Dave Sheldon says: "In the late 90's we were receiving poor machine tool service and this meant that machines would be down for long periods of time. With such an unacceptable situation, we found CNC International and they have been servicing our machines ever since." 

This partnership has blossomed ever since, with initial machine servicing evolving into the acquisition of numerous refurbished 2nd hand machines. As Mr Sheldon continues: "We were initially using CNC International to service machines at our Luton facility and the service was so good that we started to buy refurbished machines. When we opened our Poole facility we purchased a used Agie 100D and an Agie Mondo from CNC International. They understood that machine uptime was a critical factor for us and they have done their utmost to maximise this down the years. After the initial acquisitions, we were buying 2-3 Agie machines each year from CNC International. However, a couple of years ago this started to change with CNC supplying new machines as well as used." 

A Change of Direction.. 
In 2010, CNC International ventured into new machine tool sales by taking on a number of agencies to support its service, support and refurbished machine tool sales. The level of service that Multispark had historically received enticed the Dorset company to purchase a Neu-ar CNC-A50 spark erosion machine with an automatic tool change facility. Purchased to support the company's increasing capacity needs, the Neu-ar was the ideal addition to the plant list. As Mr Sheldon continues: "The Neu-ar CNC-A50 was the perfect machine for our small components. It has a small tank that is filled rapidly, its cycle times are extremely fast and compared to our old machines, the uptime has significantly improved." 

Whilst the CNC-A50 met the demand for small components at Multispark, the company was turning particularly large jobs away as it didn't have a machine large enough to fulfil many orders. Multispark reviewed the market and the inflated prices of large machines from some vendors made CNC International's large bed Neu-ar C-1000 die-sink, the obvious choice. As Mr Sheldon says: " We were either turning large work away or altering our existing machines to fit jobs, which was time consuming and potentially compromising precision. The 2011 arrival of the Neu-ar C-1000 is the UK's largest Neu-ar installation to date with its tank dimensions of 1.8m by 1.1m by 615mm high. We can load parts close to 2m on the machine and the processing time is 30% faster than our other machines. This is credit to its large generator that reduces cutting times. A recent example of the cycle time saving was noted on a repeat oil & gas industry job that used to take 20 hours to process. On the C-1000 we did it in 12 hours." 

"This machine also improved our precision and set-up times. Our other machines could only orbit the tool in the Z-axis whereas the C-1000 can orbit in all axes, which has drastically cut set-up times and eliminated the constant re-setting of workpieces. Additionally, the C-1000 has a very powerful pump for filling and flushing the tank and this has also reduced non-cutting times." 

Using the Neu-ar machines frequently, Multispark's Works Manager, Mr Chris Bailey comments: "The Neu-ar machines are very easy-to-use and intuitive. The in-built software has a simple layout that makes the learning curve very short and with icons on the control screen, the machine leads the operator through the process. Furthermore, we can spark at angles on the Neu-ar and this reduces our set-up times considerably." 

Another Hole New Solution.. 
With two very different machines already installed for small fast turnaround parts and large oil & gas components, the next step for Multispark was to invest in a hole-burning machine. Purchased for the removal of broken drills and taps from customers components, Multispark already had the in-house capability but the arrival of a Shiang-Yang SY-2535 hole burner increased the speed and more importantly the capacity. Emphasising the importance of the 2014 acquisition, Mr Sheldon says: "Previously, we could only burn holes up to 300mm deep. The Yang machine gives us 600mm in the Z-axis, so we can process deeper holes up to 6mm diameter. We found this machine capacity beyond the realms of anything else available." 
As well as the die sinking and hole burning machines, Multispark's most recent purchases were two Accutex AL600 wire erosion machines to replace two ageing and unreliable machines. The Accutex additions in December 2014 have improved the company's ability to perform lights-out machining whilst reducing down-time and maintenance requirements and running costs. 

Concluding upon the partnership with CNC International, Mr Sheldon says: "CNC International started by delivering outstanding service. This was followed by an ability to supply high quality new machine tools that support the ever changing needs of our business. We are following a rapid growth strategy that will soon see us double our 5000sq/ft floor area. With an empty facility waiting for new machines, we can guarantee that CNC International will play a significant role in our future with its supply of innovative and highly productive machines and also the service and support to ensure these machines achieve maximum utilisation rates." 

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