From motorsport to medical: EDM further increases precision manufacturing capabilities

From motorsport to medical: EDM further increases precision manufacturing capabilities

18 June 2020

EDM Precision Technologies has added to its high-tech machining capabilities at Silverstone Park to strengthen its position as one of the UK’s leading specialists in spark and wire erosion manufacturing.

The business has recently invested in a state-of-the-art Keyence IM-7500 optical inspection system.

This adds to the capabilities of the business which already provides its services for high end clients in sectors such as medical devices, emergency services, energy, motorsport (Formula 1), defence and marine.

The Keyence can drastically cut inspection times for EDM. For example, one recent project for the oil and gas industry required EDM to manufacture 170 parts for a component – with each part then requiring seven minutes of inspection.

“Now we have the capability to inspect five parts in two minutes, bringing a 19-hour job down to just over an hour,” explained EDM MD Paul Waldron.

“This dimensional and geometric measurement system will bring many benefits to the business as it enables us to carry out very accurate inspection of parts that can be very time consuming to inspect on our CMM or Profile projectors.

“I am delighted that we have managed to get it installed, commissioned and have carried out remote training all during the Formula 1 extended shut down period.”

The Keyence also adds to the impressive line-up of machinery that EDM has built up inside its 6,000 sq ft premises – these include 19 CNC machines for milling, turning, wire and spark erosion, and EDM hole drilling.

“We are drilling holes to 0.4mm but what is really staggering is the precision we are achieving in terms of tolerance in some componentry,” continued Paul.

“Another project we are involved in (needed for surgical balloon devices) is for the medical sector and we are producing features with tolerances of five microns – consider that the width of a human hair is 60 microns!

“The company that made these parts in the past said it wasn’t possible, so we’ve surprised even ourselves. The people we are producing these for say that it is the best high precision work they’ve seen.”

EDM has been based at Silverstone Park pretty much since it was formed in 1992. It was previously located in ‘Unit 21’ – famous for having housed the Jordan F1 team when it made its first car in the early Nineties.

In 2014, though, the business relocated ‘across the road’ to the Buckingham Road (nee Jordan) industrial units when MEPC acquired them to increase its then property portfolio at Silverstone Park.

EDM now employs 13 full-time staff and has always been keen to take on and train young people, whether school leavers or college graduates. In recent times, several have gone on to work for leading F1 teams or in the motorsport sector…

Paul added: “Everyone is different – the most important things we look for in people we train are that they are keen and want to learn.

“It can be a bit of wrench when good people leave, but there is something very satisfying from an employer’s perspective to see someone who we’ve trained, and who perhaps knew very little when they first started, develop into a confident individual in this exciting high precision profession…”

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