Huyghe Formenbau is synonymous with precision technology and outstanding quality in mouldmaking. With its eight employees, the firm may not be one of the biggest, but, as owner Eric Huyghe explains, it is one of the soundest financially: “For the banks, we rank among the Top Ten – sure proof of the quality and dependability of our work.”
In Lüdenscheid, Huyghe Formenbau finds itself in the very best company, as the region is home to a good 160 firms specialising in tool- and mouldmaking, a stronghold of the industry.
“As a small company, we have always concentrated in the region around Lüdenscheid and sought our customers here. We so far haven’t had any need for advertising campaigns or for active efforts to attract business,” says Eric Huyghe. His customers appreciate quality, punctual delivery and flexibility – values that the company has been committed to since its founding in 1995. With a modern machine park and its highly skilled staff, the company has a broad base and is excellently equipped to produce tools and moulds for the whole of industry. One of Huyghe’s specialities is the production of moulds and tools for the large-series production of high-grade system components for the automotive and electrical industries. In the last few years, the company has focused strongly on the construction of two-component moulds and built up its specialised expertise in this area.
At this modern toolmaking company, EDM and conventional machining are complementary processes. “Each machining method has its strengths. We combine the two methods so that we can always achieve the optimum of quality and machining speed and respond flexibly to customer requests,” Huyghe stresses. This adaptable way of working is only possible with high manufacturing depth – indispensable for superlative quality.
To ensure that all the work in toolmaking is done with the demanded care, the company has deliberately decided against farming out work. “Only then,” says Huyghe, “can we comprehensively plan, design and control all work steps. After all, our customers have to be able to rely on getting the quality they want.” Quality is assured in accordance with DIN ISO 9001 and DIN 2008. For Huyghe, however, this is only the formal basis. The company’s specialised knowledge is the crucial resource for the production of moulds and tools of the desired quality. The highly trained and skilled workforce and the advanced machine park form a sound foundation for quality and flexibility. For instance, at Huyghe Formenbau, all toolmakers are able to operate any of the machines and fully process any of the demanded workpieces with maximum precision. Each employee is solely responsible for his job. This calls for great technical competence and offers plenty of scope for working independently while also demanding a high degree of personal accountability.
In the last few years, Huyghe Formenbau has built up specialised expertise in the production of two-component moulds.
“In the last few months, however, one of our employees has been concentrating more on wire-cutting with the new Mitsubishi MV 2400 R“, the boss says. One indicator of the quality of tool- and mouldmaking is the rework rate. At Huyghe it is practically zero. In the tool design sector, the Lüdenscheid company has been working for a long time with experienced specialists.
“The economical wire consumption of the MV 2400 R is very noticeable on each job.”
For years, the company wire-cut all its high-grade tools on a Mitsubishi FA 20. By taking good care of the machine and having it regularly serviced, its performance was always impeccable and there was never any cause for complaint. But even good things can be improved on. In summer 2012, Mitsubishi Electric presented the latest generation of its wire EDM machines – the new MV. Huyghe was immediately amazed by the machines and it soon became clear to him that his firm was on the verge of a change of generation in wire EDM. An investment that would significantly boost the productivity of his EDM department and soon pay for itself.
The MV Series immediately justified the investment, as it offers maximum functionalism, significantly shorter throughput times than its predecessors and hence lower piece costs as well. Thanks to the new generator technology, energy and wire consumption is significantly lower. For a modest sum, the new MV Series from Mitsubishi Electric marks the entry level into the high-end class of wire-cutting machines.
“During the presentation, the marked improvement in performance and the lower wire consumption and energy savings were the decisive factors for me,” says Huyghe. Other practical considerations, like the larger machining range and the space occupied by the machine, were also important.
The MV 2400 R has been installed in the Lüdenscheid firm since autumn 2012 and has since been running in 1.5 shifts per day without any notable stoppages. Staff were instantly impressed by the clear layout of the control panel and the machine’s intuitive program structure. During the machining of the very first workpieces on the MV, the new wire-threading system was conspicuously fast. While the FA 20 took an average of 20 seconds for threading, the MV is back in operation again after 5. “In relation to the overall machining time lasting several hours,” Huyghe explains, “the time gained during threading is negligible, but it is indicative of the huge improvement in productivity of the new machine generation.” With its modern generator system, the MV 2400 R operates with great speed and extreme accuracy.
“The most astonishing and for us the most satisfying results were yielded by the direct comparison of machining times,” Huyghe continues. For a truly informative comparison, the employees machined almost identical tools simultaneously.
Clamped on the FA 20, the workpiece took about 50 hours to reach completion. For its almost identical counterpart, the new MV 2400 R completed the process after about only 30 hours.
The comparison was performed with complex workpieces of very similar design produced again and again for a longstanding customer. Clamped on the FA 20, the workpiece took about 50 hours to reach completion. For its almost identical counterpart, the new MV 2400 R completed the process after about only 30 hours. “The first machine presentations by Mitsubishi Electric yielded very similar figures. But it was the precise confirmation of these data in our everyday work that really surprised us,” says Huyghe.
In everyday operations in a production shop, it is not easy to produce comparable data. However, price calculation calls for reliable and realistic data. The company generates the data with its own methods. The economical wire consumption of the MV 2400 R is very noticeable on each job. As far as consumables are concerned, Huyghe estimates savings of about 40% over the FA 20. It is a little more difficult for Huyghe to estimate power consumption, as the machines do not have their own electricity meters.
“If we finally look at the issue of payback so important for business owners and financiers, we’re not yet able to accurately quantify a period on the strength of just six months’ practical experience. On the basis of cautious estimates, however, I expect the MV 2400 R to have paid for itself in our production shop after two to three years.”
The company believes that wire-cutting will continue to grow in importance in the foreseeable future, as the tools for many branches of industry such as the automotive and electrical industries will become increasingly complex. The demand for modular tools will thus grow. This is a task in which EDM machines with their technological advantages will truly come into their own. Particularly when one considers that such machines are capable of cutting tools directly out of hardened materials.
Name and place of company:
Eric Huyghe Formenbau,
Number of employees:
Injection moulds for automotive
engineering, specialising in two-
Eric Huyghe – Formenbau
Altenaer Straße 225 b
Tel +49 . 2351 . 9526 73
Fax +49 . 2351 . 9526 74
info @ huyghe-formenbau.de
Huyghe produces high-grade tools and moulds.
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