EDM Spark Erosion Explained

April 12, 2023

Spark erosion, also known as electrical discharge machining, is a manufacturing method that uses electrical discharges to generate a specified form (sparks). Spark erosion removes material off a piece by transferring current between two electrodes separated by a voltage-sensitive dielectric liquid. During the sparking process, the dielectric fluid is a conductor and a cooling agent.

Process of Spark Erosion

You’ll need two items to get started. The first item you’ll be working on is the metallic component. The item can be constructed of steel or aluminium. The electrode is the second. The form of the electrode is unimportant. You can choose a cylinder-shaped or more sophisticated design like a polygon or a diaphragm. After selecting your preferred electrode, it is put on the machine and aligned with the travel direction. After the alignments have been double-checked to ensure everything is accurate, the procedure may begin.

A dielectric liquid is soaked into the object being worked on. The machine is outfitted with cutting-edge motion electronics and hydraulics. These enable the electrode to be brought closer to the workpiece. This causes sparks to fly between the workpiece and the electrode, softly cutting through it. The spark (also known as hot plasma) forms a puddle due to the workpiece being melted by the electrical discharge produced by the electrode. A little dielectric is vaporised, causing bubbles to surround the spark. This operation is done over 10,000 times each second on average.

It is critical to maintaining the work environment clean. A slower removal rate increases the rate of tear, which is proportional to the removal rate. The location of the head in the flush region aids in the speed of metal removal. The magnitude of the spark is also affected by the removal. Large and lengthy sparks result in more depth and a rougher surface. Smaller sparks, a faster wear rate, and a low removal rate are necessary for a finer finish. Copper alloys have been developed to maximise the process of spark eroding while also providing greater wear resistance and machinability.

A sequence of quickly repeating current discharges are produced by two electrodes, the tool electrode and the workpiece electrode. The tool and the workpiece must not come into physical touch during this procedure. Instead, it relies on electrical discharges to remove material from the workpiece in line with the desired specifications.

A dielectric liquid separates the electrodes. When the voltage is raised, the strength of the electricity between the electrodes increases, causing the dielectric liquid to break down and an electric arc to form in its stead. This allows for the removal of material from the electrodes. After the current is terminated, a new dielectric liquid is created, thermally shocking the metal and forming a hot plasma on the workpiece, which moulds the piece into the opposite shape of the electrode.

Purpose of EDM Spark Erosion

EDM spark erosion is utilised for a wide range of sophisticated tasks, with multi-feature sparking accessible within the same operation. This includes multi-axis erosion, which cuts in three axes at the same time. Spark erosion machinery features technology that allows it to be used on a variety of electrode materials, including copper and graphite, allowing it to deal with components composed of sensitive metals such as Inconel and titanium.

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