Dedicated technology for connector mold machining, automatically generated by our TECFORM expert system, produces the best cavity profile in minima time. It allows you to achieve sharp corners and avoid edge fusion. The mold insert is then ready to be used for the next manufacturing step.
AgieCharmilles FORM P 330 Dedicated
Connecting you to performance
Manufacturing connector molds requires speed and high precision as well as high machining performance. To support mold makers, GF Machining Solutions developed the new AgieCharmilles FORM P 330 Dedicated, a tailored, ready-to-use die-sinking solution for a fast and reliable connector mold inserts manufacturing.
Get the highest quality at lowest cost
Ultra simplified work process
This solution's human-machine interface (HMI) allows you to prepare the machining operation in a very simple and fastway, using only one screen for the whole preparation. The machine set-up, including measuring operations, is also very logical and efficient, so your operator can quickly go from one machine to another, maximizing the erosion time.
Reduce your time to market and your cost per part. This solution’s highly responsive and ergonomic HMI enables an extremely fast setup and very fast connector machining.
The intuitive AC FORM HMI allows the operator to quickly program an erosion operation. With the ability to use ISO G codes as well as M codes, it is very easy to update an existing program or customize certain operations. Moreover the HMI's excellent reponse to user's manipulation is a real time saver.
Whatever the size of the part, you will benefit from fully repeatable machining results, thanks to the machine structure enabling high precision and the solution's dedicated, ready-to-use connector EDM technology. The cavities profile (depth, for example) is highly respected, and there is no edge fusion on top of the cavities.
Automation keeps production going nonstop. Your results are shorter lead times, higher productivity and quicker payback of capital invested in your die-sinking EDM machines. With the Rotary Tool Changer (RTC) and System 3R robot solutions, production can continue running round the clock, seven days a week. The possibilities are endless with our die-sinking EDM solutions.
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Dongguan Maya Precision Mould Co.: Setting new standards with GF Machining Solutions' FORM P 330 Dedicated
As a global strategic mold supplier to top 500 companies, Dongguan Maya Precision Mould Co., Ltd., located in Guangdong, China, focuses on achieving highest accuracy and reducing the mold rework rate while ramping up productivity. The AgieCharmilles FORM P 330, a new GF Machining Solutions die-sinking Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) solution targeted at the connector mold industry, helps the company set new standards and achieve perfectly repeatable dimensional precision.
Chairman Maker Chen, can you tell us about the history of Dongguan Maya Tooling Co., Ltd.?
Maya produces molds/parts and fixtures, 80% of which are for automotive electronics, mainly connectors and wiring harnesses. The remaining 20% are for medical components. All of our products are targeted at overseas markets, particularly Europe and North America.
We maintain a long-term partnership with the top 10 manufacturers, who have a market share of around 95% in the connector industry. We believe that customers trust us for our focus and effort to drive this industry and to develop products and technologies, as well as for our extensive and practical experience in production and our technical competence. Additionally, we focus on consistently keeping pace with the market’s development. This is reflected in the fact that we invest in automation and digital transformation, which is aligned with the requirements as our customers' Class A supplier.
You manufacture molds, parts, and fixtures mainly for the automotive sector. Please tell us about the competitive landscape in connector manufacturing.
Connector manufacturing is a traditional machining industry. Even though connector manufacturing does not have a high level of market access, it is constantly required. We adhere to special requirements that concern the product itself. For example, in terms of surface roughness and uniformity, the current applicable standard is VDI18/21/24 in Europe. However, considering the connectors' small size and complexity in shape, we have to machine multiple small-sized inserts, which always poses the question of which measures are to be used to satisfy the required dimensional accuracy for each part/insert. This is a critical point that distinguishes the mold quality for connectors and the production efficiency.
For eight years now, the entire manufacturing industry has experienced ups and downs. If the market environment is good, a company can make money with just one workshop, a few employees and machines. However, as has been pointed out above, the connector industry does not have a high level of market access. Small to medium-sized workshops can open up everywhere. Extreme short-term growth leads a decline in product price, while labor costs continue to grow. It is foreseeable that the market will experience a "hard period" and then rebalance with only the fittest surviving. This is the period we are currently in.
We have also seen that automotive electronics have increased their share in automotive manufacturing. This is supported by industry policy and environmental requirements, and means that the connector industry is becoming a bigger market, which opens up more opportunities. On the other hand, as the development of alternative fuels in the automotive sector is still in an initial stage and unmanned driving is also still in a trial phase, there is no clear, shared concept and no clear definition for industry standards to comply with or enforce. Therefore, we shall remain patient and prepare for the increasing demand.
Increased market demands are definitely positive news for the manufacturing industry; however, this also requires a higher production efficiency. We should keep production stable and reduce the dependency on highly skilled operators in order to minimize human error. For this reason, we see automation and digital transformation as the essential path for future development and we are actively preparing for it.
Automation needs highly stable machine tools, both in terms of precision and quality. As a solution supplier and a premium partner, GF Machining Solutions has been providing us with the right support and guarantees both precision and quality. We are confident that this will enable a smoother development in our automation transformation progress.
You were the first company to test the AgieCharmilles FORM P 330 Dedicated. What were your expectations of this solution? What have been the real-world results of testing the FORM P 330 Dedicated—and more importantly, what advantages did you see?
Frankly speaking, I had high expectations of the FORM P 330 Dedicated. This is because we were very pleased to be invited as a field-test customer to provide information and suggestions to GF Machining Solutions during its market research.
First and foremost, the FORM P 330 Dedicated is easier to operate, as the operation interface has been improved. Operators can work more efficiently and be more motivated. More importantly, they can achieve precision calibration during mold repair with the FORM P 330 Dedicated. The historic challenges of calibration are now completely avoided, and there is no need to adjust parameters, so the mold rework rate is reduced significantly, the yield per time is increased significantly, and the productivity ramps up. We expect to add a Rotary Tool Changer (RTC) with eight positions in the new design and believe that we can boost productivity to a new level by using the RTC.
In the connector mold industry, there is a common saying, "A good product comes from repairing." This means that it is hard to obtain a satisfying machining result in one setup, which means that the molds need to be repaired quite often. We also call this "size adjustment." However, repetitive mold repair will influence the production efficiency, sometimes even leading to scrap due to overcut. Therefore, accuracy is crucial when repairing molds. This has been a headache for us in the past, as we could only rely on our skilled operators' experience. However, the EDM machines from GF Machining Solutions help us solve this problem and provide impressive accuracy. To summarize in one sentence: The FORM P 330 Dedicated is a machine that is just as expected; for example, if you need 5 µm more in depth, it will reach 5 µm exactly!
The advantages of the FORM P 330 Dedicated—when compared to machines of other brands in the same class—are:
- Zero software expense thanks to the free onboard human-machine interface (HMI)
- A widely recognized homogeneous texture result thanks to GF Machining Solutions' more than 60 years of EDM experience and continuous technology improvement
- Perfectly repeatable dimensional precision and surface quality, independent of the operator's experience, resulting in fewer human errors and greater overall process efficiency
Also, the highly flexible eight-position RTC in a new design is a must-have for improving the efficient production of connector molds and establishing a foundation for Automation.