Metal Cutting

EDM Equipment

In EDM, or electrical discharge machining, the equivalent of tiny lightning bolts perform the material removal. Though slow in terms of metal removal rate, EDM is capable of machining complex shapes in hard materials. Mold and die makers, as well as makers of jet engine components, rely on EDM routinely. The process includes an electrode and a workpiece, both submerged in dielectric fluid. Current flows between the workpiece and electrode, repeatedly creating tiny plasma zones with temperatures around 10,000 degrees C. The high temperatures produce localized, instantaneous melting of the material. Though the process may seem violent, it occurs on such a tiny scale that the resulting metal removal can be precisely controlled. The electrode in EDM takes different forms. Wire EDM machines use a thin wire to cut with electricity, with the wire advancing into the hard metal part as if it was a slow-motion saw blade. By contrast, ram EDM machines, which are also called “die sinkers,” use electrodes that are custom machined into 3D shapes. The EDM process then produces a cavity in the part that is the opposite or female version of the “male” electrode form. Similar to the ram EDM machine is the small-hole EDM machine, or “hole popper.” On this machine, the electrode is a cylinder used to machine a hole. Often these machines are used simply to provide starter holes for wire EDM, but the technology may also be used to machine finished holes in materials that are too difficult to drill.

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Featured Zone Content

What it Takes to Do Unattended Wire EDM


The promise of running a wire EDM for long stretches without much operator attention is enticing, but many shops never manage to pull this off. Here are tips to make it happen, as offered by Mark Cicchetti, EDM technical director for Absolute Machine Tool’s Accutex EDM product line.

Hole Making as a Core Competency


This manufacturer leverages various nonconventional machining processes to create accurate holes in a range of tough materials. In fact, precision hole-making has become one of its specialties.

Scratching the Surface


Although this shop has yet to fully explore the capabilities of a new wire EDM’s unique motion system and other precision-boosting features, more incremental improvements have already spurred management to order a second, identical model.



EDM generator

“Smart” Generator Technology Makes EDM Operation Intuitive

By: Matt Danford
GF Machining Solutions offers four generator features that enable users to input desired burning results into the CNC, and let the system do the rest.

Ford Tool automation cell

EDM Cell Cuts Lead Time in Half, Improves Quality

By: Emily Probst
Sodick's AG60L sinker EDM and an Erowa Robot Compact helped Ford Tool and Machining LLC cut lead time in half when it needed to reduce downtime and increase repeatability.

Suite of Productivity Technologies Applied to Complete EDM Line

By: Jedd Cole
Makino's full line of wire EDM, sinker EDM and EDM hole-drilling machines are now equipped with the company's s suite of Hyper Technologies, previously introduced for U-series wire EDMs,

EDM

EDM’s Key Technologies Today

By: Peter Zelinski
A representative of machine maker Chmer lists some of the features and capabilities that hold the most promise for EDM users now.

The new VL600Q from Sodick offers more than just longer travels

EDM Features Longer Travels, Improved Wire Threading

By: Matt Danford
Sodick's latest wire EDM, showcased at a recent open house event, also features linear motors, custom base ceramics and other features common to the company's entire line.


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