Dies Plus, a Division of OTTO Engineering, Relies on Mitsubishi EDMs and remote360™ for Flexibility, Efficiency, Reliability and Quality
Dies Plus, a division of OTTO Engineering, purchased its first Mitsubishi wire EDM 26 years ago. They now have nine Mits wire EDM machines, all equipped with MC Machinery’s remote360™ machine monitoring system.
OTTO Engineering makes control products, switches and communications devices for industries including agriculture, electrical, aerospace and medical. Founded in 1961, the company has about 550 employees on three campuses in Carpentersville, Ill. In 2017, OTTO acquired Dies Plus, a precision metalforming dies and tooling manufacturer in nearby Itasca that now operates out of OTTO’s new Carpentersville technical center.
Danny Ritchie is head of the wire EDM department at Dies Plus, which primarily handles short-run tooling, high-speed dies and large-volume stamping dies. The Mitsubishi EDMs are used for progressive dies, including plates, components and punches.
“Almost everything that you put in a die is hardened steel and needs to be precision cut,” Ritchie said. “Wire EDM is an effective and precise method for making progressive dies because it can create complex shapes and features with high accuracy and repeatability.”
Ritchie said the biggest advantages of using Mitsubishi wire EDMs include automatic threading, the ability to have 80 to 100 hours of unattended runtime, and MC Machinery’s service, support and training.
“Overall, the machine itself is just reliable,” Ritchie said. “Out of all the other manufacturers I’ve used over the years, working with Mitsubishi EDMs has been one of my best experiences.”
The wire EDM department at Dies Plus has three full-time employees and a rotating group of apprentices who cross-train throughout the company.
Efficiently managing multiple-piece setups is essential, Ritchie said.
“When you have 12 or 13 dies at one time, it can get hectic,” he said. “That’s where setup and time management becomes really important.”
The EDM room at Dies Plus is cool and spotless by design–MC Machinery collaborated with them to add customized heat exchangers to each machine so they could be vented into the central chilling system, which maintains a consistent temperature to keep machines to a tight window of precision.
Dies Plus began using remote360 in 2018 after adding their ninth MC Machinery wire EDM, the Mitsubishi MV2400R, a machine known for tight tolerances, precise auto threading capabilities and low operational costs.
Manufacturing is more data-driven than many realize. The only reliable way to identify performance-impacting problems is through data analytics, which can reveal ways to maximize capacity and uptime, prioritize opportunities, test assumptions, find waste and guide continuous improvement processes.
MC Machinery launched remote360 in 2014, a foray into the Industrial Internet of Things that has proven valuable to many of its laser, wire EDM and sinker EDM customers.
The web-based remote360 application provides real-time access to data including run, stop and idle time. Along with production performance graphing, system alerts provide notifications of problems or extended idle time. Key features of remote360 include:
Remote access to real-time machine usage: The system tracks everything from material and power to gas consumption down to the part level. Additional performance indicators on laser machines include laser gas status, power output, active feed rate, current rapid overrides and cutting feed overrides. With wire EDMs, remote360 can maximize throughput to keep the machine running at peak efficiency. The dashboard shows data including how much wire is remaining and current job status, along with graphs depicting productivity and material consumption.
Predictive maintenance scheduling: Operators are able to better predict and plan maintenance because remote360 can set a schedule for preventive maintenance checks.
Production monitoring: Remote360 data shows machine efficiency, material usage, consumables usage and more.
Alerts system: Mobile or email notifications can be set up to indicate machine problems and job completions.
Remote support: MC Machinery service technicians can easily be given remote access to the machine when needed, allowing for fast and convenient diagnosis of machine issues.
Ritchie said that MC Machinery’s web-based remote360 machine monitoring system has improved productivity and efficiency.
“The data that remote360 captures and stores helps us to plan and gauge how we’re doing over a period of time,” Ritchie said. “One of my favorite features is that it stores all the programs, runtime, wire used, idle time, material being used, alarms and more. Having all that data stored and at your fingertips is a big advantage.”
Ritchie said that the biggest advantages of remote360 include:
● Remote access to machines via computer or mobile device
● Data storage
● Robust reporting capabilities
● Workflow management
● Remote diagnostics and support
He also uses remote360 data to quote new jobs, saving time and improving quote accuracy.
The Mitsubishi wire EDMs were used in a recent collaboration with Honeywell on internal switch components for NASA’s Orion spacecraft. Nine small, intricate components required very tight tolerances and couldn’t be stamped, Ritchie said.
“We used special non-magnetic metals because in zero gravity, little particles could fly off and start a fire,” he said.
When the assemblies were completed, NASA astronauts visited on site to check the final products. “That was a very cool project,” he said.
MC Machinery service has been “nothing but excellent,” Ritchie said. “Whenever we need anything from them, they have all the answers for us,” he said. “We participate in the preventative maintenance program through Mitsubishi EDM, which reduces the need for maintenance on our end. And our machines are always dependable and up and running, which keeps our efficiency and productivity up.”