Frequently Asked Questions Answered about Wire EDM Machining: Part 1

Wire Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) is one amongst the widely used processes for cutting nearly any electrically conductive material. The process has brought dramatic improvements in the way material is removed from the work piece in the tooling and machining industry. Using the technique, even the complex projects can be completed successfully with tighter tolerances, quality and accuracy. Although a popular form of machining, which is dates back to the 18th century, many of us still have several questions to ask about the technique. This post is aimed for such readers, who would like to know about Wire EDM machining. Here, the most basic questions regarding the technique are answered in an easily comprehensible manner. Let’s get started.

What is Wire EDM Machining?

In Wire EDM, a wire is utilized to discharge an electric current to the work piece to be cut. During the process, an electrical discharge is created between the wire, (usually an electrically charged thin brass wire) and the work piece, which creates sparks. The sparks thus formed rapidly cuts away material, leaving behind the most intricate and delicate shapes including corkscrews or threads. There are several models of wire EDM machines available that are capable of handling high volume and complex EDM processes that require optimum levels of accuracy and intricacy. Several conventional machining such as grinding, milling, short-run stamping, broaching are being replaced with wire EDM Machining.

What Kinds of Materials can be Cut Using the Technique?

The machining is suitable for materials that conduct electricity. There are wide range of materials that are compatible with wire EDM machining. A few amongst them are

  • Steels
  • Super Alloys
  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Tungsten
  • Ceramics
  • Carbon graphite
  • Carbon steel
  • High alloy
  • Inconel
  • Hast alloy
  • Titanium
  • Kovar

 

What are the Advantages of the Machining Technique?

When it comes to wire EDM machining, advantages are plentiful. A few pros that contribute to the popularity of the technique to cut the afforelisted expensive materials include;

  • The method can be reliably used to cut odd angles, sharp corners, contours, cavities, and external or internal tapers, among other cuts.
  • This computer- and robotics-controlled technique can cut extremely hard, challenging and exotic materials by eliminating burrs and metal distortions.
  • Little or no polishing, heat treatment or cleaning is required after the machining process.
  • With minimal setup time required, the technique can cut the same intricate part over and over again with the same accuracy and with a quick turnaround.
  • Precision and high-speed of wire EDM machines can also be utilized to produce tiny holes, which is challenging to obtain using other cutting techniques.

Wire EDM machining has a significant role to play in the tool and die, mold and metal working industries. So far we have learned an overview of this most exciting and diversified machining technique including its working, types of materials to be cut and advantages. In the next post, you can expect answers for the other most frequently asked questions pertaining to Wire EDM machining process.

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