Electrical Discharge Machining or Spark Erosion Process Explained

July 30, 2020

Machining processes like drilling, turning, or mining are all available to effectively create and produce hard materials, especially the metal ones. However, most of them cannot produce intricate and sophisticated parts and components that are needed for certain applications. Fortunately, one known machining process that can create intricate metal parts or components is electrical discharge machining.

Overview of Electrical Discharge Machining

Electrical discharge machining, otherwise known as spark erosion process, is a machining process that creates specific shapes through electrical discharges or sparks. This process can remove material from a workpiece by applying current discharges between two electrodes, which are both separated by a dielectric liquid. Any broken drill bits, bolts, or studs from within a machine can also be removed by this machining process without damaging its casting or threads.

The machines used for electrical discharge machining are called metal disintegration machines. As the machines utilise electrodes, they seamlessly send electrical energy through low voltage or high current electrical charges and convert them into heat to effectively melt the designated part of a workpiece. At the same time, the dielectric liquid, which is both a conductor and a cooling agent, thermal shocks the molten part, obliterates it into very tiny pieces and flushes them away.

Since there is no direct contact between the electrodes and the machine casting, this sophisticated process provides you a means of working with the most intricate parts or weak materials. Distortion and mechanical abrasion are both averted when applying this process.

Electrical Discharge Machining in Action

To begin the process of electrical discharge machining, you must prepare both the workpiece and the electrode. The workpiece is typically made from a metallic material, while the electrode can come in cylindrical or more complex shapes. The electrode must be mounted on the metal disintegration machine and aligned within the intended travel direction. The workpiece must be positioned under the electrode and soaked in a dielectric liquid before starting the process.

Once everything is set, you can now switch on the power and turn the heat selector knob for your desired temperature. The motion electronics and hydraulics of the machine will help move the electrode closer to the workpiece. As both materials get closer, the electrode will produce sparks that will cut through the workpiece. At this point, a small amount of dielectric will vaporise as it performs its functions. When the cut is finished, you can clear any remaining debris inside the hole through an air compression tool.

Electrical Discharge Machining Advantages

Unlike other traditional machining processes, electrical discharge machining allows you to obtain parts with intricate and complex details. It also helps you remove broken parts without causing additional damages. Good surface finish can also be achieved when doing this process since there is no direct contact between the tool and the workpiece. Abrasions and distortions are both prevented with electrical discharge machining. Another great thing about this machining process is that it can work with most metals and alloys, which include copper, tungsten, stainless steel, carbide, aluminium, and magnesium.

To know more about the electrical discharge machining or spark erosion process, feel free to contact us at Gunna Engineering. We are a small engineering business that has over 25 years of experience in the manufacturing of punches, dies, and blades for a variety of industries.

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