Many manufacturers maximise manufacturing processes to produce components for machines, tools, and others. Some of these processes are machining, joining, shearing, forming, casting, and moulding.

What is common about these processes is they use various tools and equipment pieces to generate the needed products. Some can remove material from workpieces, while others join materials together. For these things to be effective, they must be assessed and maintained regularly so that faulty components can be repaired or replaced.

One modern process, however, that is being used by more and more manufacturers is electrical discharge machining (EDM). It is a modern subtractive manufacturing process that can cut through hard materials to produce the needed components.

The EDM Process

EDM is a manufacturing process that can cut through hard materials. This process is popular among manufacturers that utilise metals as they can be difficult to cut. What makes this process different from conventional machining is that the tool used for EDM does not directly interact with the workpiece. Instead, it uses an electric current to produce sparks, eroding the workpiece along the way.

The EDM process can be done by maximising an electrical discharge machine, a dielectric liquid, and a tool. As the operator increases the voltage of the electrical discharge machine, it causes the dielectric breakdown of the liquid. Afterwards, it generates an electric arc that can be found between the tool and the workpiece. The electric arc will eventually erode the material, cutting the workpiece effectively.

This manufacturing process can be very advantageous for manufacturers that process hard and strong metals such as hardened steel, titanium, and tungsten. It can likewise ensure that the workpieces will not deform. EDM, however, limits manufacturers when it comes to the types of cuts available.

Variations of EDM

To date, there are two variations of EDM that are typically maximised by manufacturers. These variations are sinker EDM and wire EDM.

  • Sinker EDM: Sinker EDM is a form of electrical discharge machining that can be useful in making complex-shaped cavities in workpieces. In carrying out this process, the operator would utilise a tool that has the shape of the desired cavity. This tool is often lowered slowly into the workpiece to erode some of its parts and create a cavity that matches the tool’s shape. In conducting sinker EDM, hydrocarbon oil is used as its dielectric liquid. Some applications of sinker EDM include mould making, rapid tooling, generation of deep and thin ribs, and creation of sharp inside corners.
  • Wire EDM: Wire EDM, alternatively, is an electrical discharge machining that utilises a thin wire as its primary tool. This process is utilised in cutting the workpieces thoroughly, which makes it different from the process of sinker EDM.When performing wire EDM, operators would often use deionised water as their dielectric liquid. With wire EDM, the metal wire is attached between two diamond guides that move along X and Y axes. Sparks are then generated to make the workpiece erode. Wire EDM can be effective in processing extrusion dies, blanking punches, and tight-tolerance parts.

To know more about EDM and its variations, you can call us at Gunna Engineering.