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How Little Lakes Machine & Tool Co. is using Makino’s Sinker EDMs to Drive the future of Alternative Energy

May 30, 2022
By: John Window
alternative energy company

In today’s world, there is an increasing demand for clean sustainable energy and many industries are shifting towards efficient power generation solutions. The alternative energy sector is made of companies that generate and distribute clean energy products and services. This includes solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and electrochemical sources.

Fuel cells are an efficient and combustion-free electrochemical power source. They convert the chemical energy of clean fuel (hydrogen)  into clean electrical energy. According to a report by Grand View Research Inc, the global fuel cell market was valued at USD 4.1 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 33.9 billion by 2027.

For Little Lakes, Alternative energy companies count on us to deliver custom-built tooling used in the production of solid oxide fuel cells. Our capacity is growing so we can better serve our energy customers and help them be a part of the growing value of the fuel cell market. We recently acquired our 4th Makino Sinker EDM machine so we can handle more complex sink jobs including manufacturing solid oxide fuel cell tooling.

Sinker EDMs are used to produce complex details in machine parts by using an energized shaped electrode in a submerged bath of dielectric fluid. They are ideal for hardened conductive materials and are used to manufacture parts that other types of machines would find difficult. As compared to hard milling, EDMs are preferably used for projects with sharp inside corners, complex geometry, or high-expertise parts.

So why did we purchase another Sinker EDM from Makino?

  1. Lower production times over other sinkers:
    With Makino Sinker EDM machines, the spark erosion process occurs faster by improving flushing and debris removal. The Z-Axis cycle jump rate is four times faster and its acceleration rate is 30 times faster than previous technology. Another feature that makes Makino’s EDMs stand out is its Hyper-i control system. The system is equipped with a high-definition 24-inch touch screen that functions as a smart device. It takes a high level of expertise to fine tune a process on the machine and the Hyper-i control system is a streamlined interface that can help us get work done faster.
  2. Customization:
    Need to cut a square hole halfway through a round piece? Use a Sinker EDM. Sinker EDMs are perfect for producing small complex features with high accuracy beyond the capabilities of hard milling. This results in more uniform surfaces that may eliminate the need for hand polishing. They use a plasma channel in an insulating or dielectric fluid to cut and align metal. Makino’s EDM probing capabilities provide higher accuracy to perform 2D and 3D work with leveling for accuracy.
  3. Cost savings potential:
    The control and precision of Sinker EDMs can offer a potential to save costs for producing complex and angled 3D shapes compared to hard milling. This can sometimes save cycle time and eliminate post processes such as polishing under the right circumstances. We make our electrodes that burn the shape into parts so we can save time and not rely on external orders.

At Little Lakes Machine & Tool Co., we do a wide variety of unique jobs for our clients in various industries. Increasing our machine capacity means we can take on more of your complex sink jobs and complete them in a shorter time. We manufacture our own electrodes in-house and therefore have full control over a customer’s project from start to finish.  Contact us to find out how we can help your next project.