How to Justify the Higher Purchase Cost of Coated EDM Wire

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How to Justify the Higher Purchase Cost of Coated EDM Wire

For wire EDM operators, selecting the right EDM wire for their machine shop applications is just as important as any other task in the operational cycle. Many times, justifying the cost of consumables can be difficult, and operators often have to consider several criteria in order to make the most cost-effective decision. This week’s post helps inform these decisions to guide you in selecting the most appropriate wire for your EDM shop and applications.

Is making 20 percent greater profit desirable? Well, the most valuable asset a shop has is its hourly billable shop rate (HBSR), which ultimately drives profitability and the bottom line. High-speed coated wires have been available for more than 10 years, and their 20 to 30 percent increase in cutting performance is well documented. Still, many shops limit their productivity by using only standard hard brass wire. A common misconception and false justification for going with coated wire is: “If the wire costs twice the price per pound, but doesn’t cut twice as fast, then it’s not worth using.”

The actual manufacturing cost of the consumed wire is very small when compared to the HBSR, even when using coated wire. For a typical $60/HBSR, the wire consumption costs of brass wire are about 10 percent, compared to about 18 percent for coated wire. The justification for coated wire is that it yields greater profit and productivity in any accounting approach. Below are the two most common justification comparisons between using brass versus coated wires. The comparisons focus on the additional billable shop time and increased machining speed.

Justification of additional billable machine time

  • Cost-benefit analysis between brass wire and coated wire
  • Operation cost model comparison for one year of operation (2,080 hours)
  • Coated wire provides 520 hours of additional billable shop time

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Justification of increased machining speeds/cost per part

  • Cost-benefit analysis between brass wire and coated wire
  • Operation cost model comparison for one year of operation (2,080 hours)
  • Coated wire provides a lower total cost of operation for the same output

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Makino wire EDMs feature a complete machining condition database designed to provide the optimum mix of machining speed, accuracy and low wire consumption. Every condition for all material types and wire sizes on a Makino wire EDM has low wire-consumption technology and takes advantage of Makino’s proprietary BellyWIZARD™ technology to maintain part straightness and accuracy. Below is a cost justification between brass and coated wires reflecting real-world hourly wire consumption values attained by Makino wire EDMs.

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Based on the information presented, wire EDM shoppers can informatively justify higher purchasing costs for coated EDM wire. Whether it is for additional billable machine time or increased machining speeds, having the right information to help justify any material cost can greatly improve machine shop efficiency and utilization.

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