K.A.M. Tool and Die Uses Mitsubishi EDM Machines to Grow Business

This article was carried in Manufacturing News (January 2007) Since K.A.M. Tool and Die opened in 1995, it has grown into one of the largest EDM shops in North Carolina. K.A.M. is located 20 miles east of Raleigh, and services more than 100 customers throughout North Carolina and neighboring states in several major industries including electrical, medical and automotive, company said.

Vice President Don Mitchell said, “In 1998, we had outgrown our first facility, so we opened a 9,000 square-foot facility in Zebulon Industrial Park. In 2002 we expanded that facility into the 15,000 square-foot world-class facility we operate from today.”

K.A.M. President Gus Alford said, “When Square D Company and ABB Corp. decided to outsource their manufacturing processes, we were able to recruit some of the best toolmakers in our area. K.A.M. quickly was among the state’s elite tooling houses. These companies often have big tool rooms, but lack the wire EDM capabilities we possess.”

K.A.M. Tool and Die was started initially as a wire EDM shop but has grown into four small production divisions, all of which work together. These include wire EDM, mold building, die building and a general machine shop that boasts one of the largest CNC machines in the state. With all of these services, K.A.M. can deliver fast turnaround as a one-stop shop.

“High-taper extrusion dies are one of our specialties. We are known for the ability to cut the ‘impossible’ extrusions,” said Mitchell. “Our average lead time for high-taper extrusions is less than 24 hours. These high-taper extrusions are all cut on Mitsubishi EDM machines.”

K.A.M. Tool and Die owns six Mitsubishi wires, two Mitsubishi sinkers and a Small-Hole EDM Drill. Alford explains the company’s loyalty to Mitsubishi: “When we opened, we compared all the major EDM manufacturers. We took a test cut from Mitsubishi and asked the competition to match it, and they couldn’t. Mitsubishi outperformed everybody in speed and accuracy. We made the initial decision to buy Mitsubishi and haven’t looked back since. Since 1995, our goal has been to keep up with technology; Mitsubishi has allowed us to do so.”

The company’s most recent purchase, a wire FA10P, provides high-speed machining with a high concentration on surface finish. “Our FA-P was the first in the state,” said Mitchell. “It was purchased for the surface finishing it can deliver. Our customers that stamp brass no longer polish die sections before running to obtain maximum die life. We’re seeing an increase in die life from parts cut with the FA-P technology.

Example of two extrusion nozzles cut by four-axis wire EDM.

Shop Manager Randy Jones describes a progressive die, which combines a front stationary die and an independently-moving horizontal die, doing the work of 17 different individual dies. The die’s air system is designed to allow for easy adjustment, making different part lengths and widths. Built in 2002, it has already produced two million parts.

Stamping die