Dig Deep into Sodick’s ALN400G


The ALN Series is the #1 EDM on the market in America today.  It stands above the competition because of the specific features that only Sodick offers.  The next-generation Smart Pulse Wire control, combined with the Smart Pulse Generator, have driven the ALN400G to the top of the industry.  The Smart Pulse Wire control (SPW) has a range of powerful features that have all been incorporated into the design that utilizes the best from both the former tablet control mode as well as the classic control mode.  Running off a Windows 7 operating system with a 19” horizontal TFT multi-touch screen the SPW supports both 2D and 3D graphics.  The new design also improves control processing speed giving users the highest in control responsiveness.

The Smart Pulse Generator saves you money by saving you time.  This feature reduces the number of cuts necessary, while maintaining accuracy and surface finish.  All of this leads to faster part times and lower costs.  Consider the following sample part – a precision fitting part with a 3.94” thickness, SKD11 material, 8 RMS surface roughness, +/-.00012” cutting accuracy, .008”wire diameter reduced cutting time with the use of the ALN400G of 32% resulting in a cutting time of just 2 hours 57 minutes.

Features that customer have come to expect as part of the Sodick experience are still standard with the ALN400G.  This includes the 10-year positioning guarantee, the rigid linear motor drives, a rigid cast construction, the 3 sided rise/fall work tank, and the four sided clamping table.  These have been combined with newer features such as the energy saving circuit, the dielectric cooling unit, the high precision positioning sensor, and the digital pika-w plus super finishing circuit.

Specs for the ALN40G:

X-Axis Travel 15.75”

Y-Axis Travel 11.81”

Z-Axis Travel 9.84”

U, V Axis Travel 5.91” x 5.91”

Wire Diameter Range 0.002”-0.012”

Work Tank Dimensions 33.45” x 24.01”

Maximum Workpiece Weight 1,102 lbs

Distance from Floor to Machine Top 39.17”

Machine Tool Dimensions 83.27” x 91.93” x 86.02”

Machine Weight 7,385 lbs

The ALN Series EDM systems are revolutionizing the market and leading the way into the future of wire EDM machining.  Contact Brooks Associates today to schedule a test cut and demo on one of these incredibly powerful machines.

Posted in Machining Applications, Sodick, Manufacturing, 5-Axis Machines, 3D Printing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Markforged Mark 2 Wins Again

markforged awards event

Recently at the 2018 3D Printing Industry Awards event in London the Markforged Mark 2 won the “Enterprise 3D printer of the year” award for the second time.  This gala is an impressive gathering of all the leading minds and pioneers in the additive manufacturing space from around the world.  The event hosts over 150 guests representing over 60 different companies and educational institutions. Unlike other such events this one is unique in that all of the awards are earned through public voting.  Voting this year was up 33% over the previous year, which makes this one of the largest surveys conducted within the 3D printing industry.

Awards given out range from “Outstanding contributions to 3D printing” to “Innovation of the Year” to “Creative use of the 3D printing” and of course “Enterprise 3D printer of the Year”.  The event is a great opportunity for the industry to recognize contributions made from manufacturers, educational institutions, OEM’s, women and minorities all promoting the growth and development of the 3D printing arena.  Markforged was thrilled to have Graham Lindsay the director of EMEA Channel Sales for the company in attendance along with others to receive this prestigious award.  Markforged was also nominated for the, Enterprise 3D Printer of the Year for Metals award, as well as the, Best 3D Printing Company to Work for award, both of which were an honor.

In addition, Markforged recently won their court case in which Desktop Metal (another 3D printing machine manufacturer) had claimed that the company had infringed on their patent rights for the manner in which the Metal X printer forms ceramic release layers in order to print complex parts.  The jury unanimously found there was no infringement, inducement or contributing to infringement by its customers.  Markforged is proud to hold 15 issued patents and 100 filed patent applications as they continue to lead the industry in innovation.  They are dedicated to helping their customers print end-use parts that are 50% lighter and 95% faster than existing part creation process all of which leads their customers to thousands of dollars saved each year.  Brooks Associates could not be more proud to be partnered with such an outstanding industry leader.

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IMTS 2018 Expansion

International Manufacturing Technology Show

IMTS 2018 is right around the corner and we know many of our customers are debating whether to make the trip or not, so we thought we’d share some interesting information about the upcoming IMTS show.  At this point it’s expected to have the largest number of vendors ever, topping the previous record from 2016 which had 2,407 companies exhibiting.  This means you can literally learn about any manufacturing technology or industry that interests you.  There will be more than 15,000 machine tools on-hand!

One of the new items this year is the expansion onto level 2 of the East Building.  In this area you’ll find Machine Components/Cleaning/Environmental Pavilion as well as Controls & CAD-CAM Pavilion Annex.  It will feature 340 exhibitors from all over the world who are focused on safe, efficient and environmentally responsible operation and monitoring of machines and facilities.  This will also be the primary area to learn more about tools that are leading the way in the advancements of the digital era of manufacturing through Smart Manufacturing and the Industrial Internet of Things.

Another new addition this year are the conferences that will be co-located in various areas of the show.  While there have been other IMTS conferences in the past, this year there will be 7 different conferences covering a range of topics:

  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Applied AM-EOS Additive Day
  • Global Automation Manufacturing Summit
  • Integrated Industries
  • Industrial Laser Conference
  • Top Shops Workshop

This year’s IMTS will also feature 2 Emerging Technology Centers.  Typically there has been just one, located in the North Building, but this year a second one is being added in the West Building.  This additional technology center will be focused on the latest in 3D technologies and trends.  The other will have a focus this year on digital manufacturing technologies.

Finally, the Additive Manufacturing Pavilion in the West Building is being expanded as well to reflect the continued growth in the industry for companies designing additive machines, creating innovative processes and materials for this industry and leading the way with new solutions.

With visitors coming from over 117 countries IMTS truly is a melting pot of ideas for the manufacturing industry.  It’s the best way to learn about what’s coming, solve problems currently existing and meet with others to collaborate on growth plans for the future.  Be sure to visit Brooks Associates in our various supplier’s booths such as OMAX, Sodick and Hurco.

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CYLASER Fiber Laser Cutting Technology


CYLASER, a product Brooks Associates is proud to distribute, has been revolutionizing the solid-state fiber laser cutting industry since 2004 with substantial simplification of the source architecture, the lowest power consumption, low operating and capital costs, all while maintaining high levels of efficiency and controllability.

Fiber optic lasers offer the unique ability to cover a wide range of materials and applications and CYLASER is taking that to new levels.  Not only was CYLASER the first to use solid-state generated fiber optic lasers in traditional stand-alone laser cutting systems, but they were also the first company to apply fiber laser cutting technology to the sheet metal industry and they continue to open new doors in a variety of other materials.

Every single part of the CYLASER machine was designed and manufactured in-house to guarantee maximum efficiency and precision, but even the best in technology requires maintenance.  CYLASER prides itself on providing our customers with the best service and support in the industry.  Whether your machine is under warranty or not you’ll still receive the same response level.  If your machine is down we guarantee immediate phone and internet Team Viewer support as well as next day on-site visits for calls placed before noon EST.

CYLASER has always been focused on the future with an intent to anticipate the coming needs of the industry and be prepared with solutions before the problem has even been voiced.  With hundreds of installations completed throughout the world, CYLASER is a name that can be trusted.  As an industry leader CYLASER integrates not only fiber laser cutting and welding but full automation and part handling capabilities as well to deliver the best in productivity.  CYLASER’s goal has always been, “to deliver a robust, precise, efficient, and highly productive laser cutting system” and they’ve far exceeded that goal.

CYLASER has had hundreds of installations throughout the word with many in the US and Canada.  They are uniquely focused only on the building and perfecting of fiber laser cutting machines. They offer a wide range of products including: 2D laser machines, 2D laser machines with tube processing capabilities, tube laser machines that are fully automatic with 21 axis and both 5” and 9” diameter capacity, and 3D laser cutting machines in 5, 6, and 7 axis.  The 2D laser systems are available in both side load and end load and come in sizes from 4’ x 8’ all the way up to 40’ long.

The team at Brooks Associates is excited about the future of CYLASER and ready to help companies throughout the New England area get started utilizing the power of this technology.  Give us a call today to learn more and see if CYLASER equipment is right for your shop.

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Benefits to Trading In Old Equipment


It may seem as though once you’ve purchased a piece of equipment you’ll never have to think about buying that again, but there are some significant advantages to upgrading old machinery.  Many OEM’s offer trade-in programs to allow customers to get rid of an older machine and replace it with the most current technology – OMAX and Sodick to name just a couple.  Many shop owners wonder if it’s really worth the money to simply replace one EDM with another or one waterjet with another, but hundreds of customers have weighed the costs vs benefits and have made the change.

One of the benefits of an upgrade is having the latest technology.  Think how fast technology is changing these days.  The cell phone you bought 10 years ago looks nothing like the one you can buy today, and the machine tool industry is advancing just as rapidly.  Your old machine’s control and software platform could be costing you a significant amount of money.  Consider an OMAX waterjet for example.  The latest software takes into account years of research on how the jet stream performs in specific materials.  So rather than a generic algorithm that slows the jet down 1” before every corner to allow for the bottom of the stream to catch up, the current software adjusts the ramping down to begin at the exact moment it’s necessary based on the specific material and thickness currently being cut.  This may not sound like much but in a large run it could result in hours less cutting time and hundreds of dollars saved.  Not to mention that the faster one job gets off, the sooner the next one can get started.

Another benefit to upgrading is new hardware.  New hardware can result in less down time as well as a reduced cost for replacement parts.  Many components are now made from a longer-lasting material, are able to hold tolerance longer, reduce energy costs, etc.  All of this will lead to better parts coming off the machine with improvements in surface finish and accuracy, but also fewer hours spent on repairs and replacement of consumables.

used omax

Why would an OEM want your old machine?  There are a few reasons for a manufacturer to have interest in your older machine.  In many cases they can refurbish that machine to have some of the features of a new machine and then offer it to customers who are unable to afford a fully new unit.  It will often come with a more limited warranty, and limited service and support, but can be a great fit for places such as educational institutions where funding is extremely limited.  Second it allows the manufacturer to get older systems out of the field all together.  In some cases this keeps them from having to stock parts that may only be used on a handful of machine, and in other situations it provides a benefit by not requiring their service technicians to be trained to work on the earliest generations of their equipment.

The demand for your used machine has never been higher, and OEM’s are offering top dollar. Consider trading-up to the best in current technology to keep your shop running at peak performance and maximum efficiency.  Contact Brooks Associates to get a quote on the value of your trade-in as well as the specific benefits you would see in a new unit.


Posted in 5-Axis Machines, Hurco, Machine Tools, Manufacturing, Omax, Used abrasive, Waterjet Cutting Machines | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Waterjet Cutting Compared to Other Industries

waterjet comparedOne of the most common questions we get at tradeshows or during waterjet demonstrations is, “Where does the waterjet fit with the other machine tools in my shop? How does it compare?” This is a great question to consider when trying to  determine the ROI for an investment in an abrasive waterjet.  Certainly you don’t want to add another tool that will simply do something you’ve already got covered. So where will the waterjet be able to take you that you haven’t already been?

First, let’s look at material limitations.  An abrasive waterjet will cut virtually any material except for really hard ceramics.  Compare this to a wire EDM which only works with conductive materials, a laser which can only cut non-reflective metals, a plasma which is generally only for metal cutting, milling which is not ideal for large parts in any material, or a punch press which does not do well with brittle or hardened materials.  The abrasive waterjet is most certainly the most diverse machine you’ll ever own.

What about material thickness?  A waterjet can handle material up to 12” thick, depending on the material type and your patience to wait for what could be a long cutting process.  And for other machine tools?  A wire EDM can handle 12” thick material as well, but a laser is usually less than 0.25”, a plasma less than 1.25”, punch press is thin sheets only, and milling is unique in that it can work on 3D parts.

Let’s consider speed and accuracy.  A waterjet has an average accuracy capability of 0.003” compared to an EDM which is .0001”, a laser at .001”, a plasma .030 – .060” and milling at .0003”.  Accuracy requirements for a job could necessitate the machine tool type but if the accuracy requirements aren’t as tight, the speed of the waterjet would win out over the wire EDM.  A waterjet is 5-10 times faster than a wire EDM for materials under 1” thick.  For the other machines – laser, plasma, and punching – they are going to be faster than the waterjet but only in very specific, thin materials.

The set-up of the waterjet is fast and easy, much more so than the set-up for milling or punching.  Unlike the laser or plasma (and even some wire EDM operations) the abrasive waterjet creates no heat affected zone.  In addition, there is no material distortion from cutting with a waterjet which is a possible issue for the laser, plasma and punch.  The edge quality off of a waterjet is considered to be good but not excellent.  The best edge quality will come from a wire EDM, milling or laser cutting with the worst edge quality being that of the plasma or punch press.

Brooks Associates is a proud  distributor of OMAX and MAXIEM abrasive waterjets, some of the highest quality systems available in the industry, but we also represent machine tools in nearly every other industry as well.  This puts us in the unique position of being able to hear your unique application and make a truly unbiased recommendation for the best machine to get the job done.  Contact Brooks and we’ll be happy to meet with you to discuss your needs.

Posted in Machine Tools, Manufacturing, Omax, robotic systems, Waterjet Cutting Machines | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Benefits of Preventative Maintenance for CNC Machinery


It’s commonly understood that preventative maintenance is important for industrial machinery, but it’s more than just “important” it’s critical.  When you see it in terms of money saved and customers retained it might just change how you prioritize getting it done.

The machinery on your shop floor required a massive amount of capital investment and each purchase was made with a purpose.  Your business had a need big enough to justify the expense.  That same need will make itself abundantly clear if, or when, that piece of machinery goes down.  In short order, that customer that’s been happy for years will be breathing down your neck if a critical machine goes down.  Many times it can be as simple as keeping up with routine maintenance to avoid these situations.

You may feel like you can’t afford the downtime of taking a machine out for maintenance but did you know an unexpected shut down often results in 2-3X as much downtime?  Unplanned problems mean waiting for parts to be ordered and delivered and technicians to be scheduled and arrive.  A planned preventative maintenance can get parts ordered ahead of time and minimize lost time spent waiting.  Not to mention it avoids losing customers due to unplanned downtime.  Customers don’t want to hear that you’re going to miss delivery because your machine went down unexpectedly.  The cost of just one lost customer could more than cover your preventative maintenance.

A complete and catastrophic breakdown is your worst nightmare.  The cost of adding man power to replace a machine or sending all of that work elsewhere is enormous.  Most major failures have warning signs which can be detected during preventative maintenance. If you find even just one problem early and prevent complete shut-down it’ll pay for your preventative maintenance costs for years.

Running at maximum efficiency is always the goal.  In order to do that it’s important to utilize the latest software upgrades from the OEM, the latest design for consumable parts, and the most current materials for internal components. During routine maintenance is the perfect time to make these changes.  While you may lose some money during the downtime, in the end you’ll gain that back and then some with increased efficiencies.  In addition, inefficient machines, those not operating at optimum capacity, will consume more electricity and further eat into profits.  Regular maintenance can eliminate energy inefficiencies.

Finally, many insurance companies offer premium reductions for companies that keep well maintained machinery.  Contact your provider to see what discounts you might qualify for and apply that to the bottom line cost of preventative maintenance to see even further benefits.


Posted in 5-axis Machining, Machine Tools, Machining Applications, Manufacturing, Waterjet Cutting Machines | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment