A Quick Guide About EDM Machines: Types and Purpose
EDM Machine or Electrical Discharge Machining machines are sophisticated devices that allow precise cutting and shaping of all conductive materials.
They have become the favored method of most fabrication plants due to their efficiency and accuracy.
Nevertheless, it can be difficult for the uninitiated to understand precisely what they are, what they do, and why you would want to use one for your own business.
By the end of this post, you will have a good understanding of what these machines are and what they can achieve.
What Is An EDM Machine?
An Electric Discharge Machining Machine, also known as EDM, is widely used in the manufacturing industry for cutting and shaping metal into thin pieces.
This type of machine uses a high-voltage electrical charge to remove metal from a workpiece by melting it off or cutting it away.
This type of machine is often used in the industrial manufacturing industry to help cut through thick pieces of metal without wearing out the blade or cutting tool.
An electrical discharge machine uses electricity to dissolve the workpiece’s material. During the machining process, an electrical discharge is created between an electrode or wire and the material.
The spark leaps the gap, removing materials from both the electrode and the workpiece. As the spark moves from the electrode to the workpiece, tiny bits of material are carried away by the spark, which is then flushed out by the dielectric fluid.
Fluids commonly used in this process are deionized water or specialized nonconductive oils. It is possible to achieve micron-level accuracy and extremely fine finishes, which is why many traditional CNC shops are beginning to turn towards implementing this tech into their existing systems.
EDM is the most cost-effective method of machining metal because it does not use any cutting tools to accomplish it like CNC machining. It uses an electric potential to generate high-velocity plasma, which melts the material.
EDM machines can process materials with low hardness, high toughness, and poor surface finish. It also creates results that need very little in the way of post-fabrication polishing.
Types Of EDM Machine
There are several different types of EDM machines, each with a different purpose. The machine you might want to choose will depend on the sort of work that your fabrication shop engages in. EDM machines come in three forms:
- Hole drills
When wire EDM is being used, the traveling wire electrode passes physically through the workpiece. It creates a clean cut in the most efficient manner possible.
A wire electric discharge machine is mainly used for making small diameter holes in metals. The device can work with metals such as copper, aluminum, and steel.
Those shops that employ the use of a wire cut edm machine are looking for exact cuts that exceed what can be achieved with standard CNC techniques.
The wire is so accurate because it creates a very fine discharge pattern that helps cut through materials more precisely.
However, a wire EDM machine also needs to be accurate enough to cut through materials uniformly, especially when cutting thin metal sheets.
The main advantage that wire EDM machines have over other types is their extreme precision. It can cut and shape any metal and even some alloys.
Manufacturing companies are beginning to discover that this machine is an excellent way to produce parts in high volume at a lower cost than traditional machining methods.
A wide range of applications is also possible with this machine due to its flexibility. It is a smart choice for cutting very small parts, making it a perfect fit for industries requiring precision cutting, such as those in robotics and the aerospace industry.
Hole Drill EDM
A tubular electrode is used in EDM hole drilling, also called hole poppers, which have dielectric fluid flowing through their centers and out the other end like coolant-fed drill bits do.
This fluid is used similarly to the wire varieties and cools down the metal being cut and flush away the offcuts.
Electric discharge drilling machines can do more work in less time because it is mainly used for finishing operations rather than roughing-out operations like other drilling types do.
It also requires less power due to its electrical motors, which result in lower energy consumption.
Graphite or copper electrodes typically used for sinker EDM are generally machined to mirror images of the workpiece.
Nevertheless, they can also be round, square, or any other shape that you might need. Electrodes can be rotated, orbited, or plunged into and out of workpieces to produce a variety of unique designs.
Sinker EDM machines provide a broad range of applications, despite being less accurate than wire cutting options.
For objects that have high tolerance or corners that need to be rounded, sinker EDM is used. Sinker EDM is used to manufacture many products and parts of products.
The most common application of sinker EDM is to manufacture molds and dies. Your production industry can benefit significantly from the Sinker EDM process, providing long-lasting results with high-quality finishes.
What Can Be Made Using This Technology?
Many of today’s high-tech metal parts are manufactured using EDM. These can include wind turbine blades and tools that require very tight tolerances.
EDM is being used by more and more CNC turning shops and milling shops to create parts that would be impossible to the machine in the traditional manner.
The primary industries that benefit from this type of fabrication require tight tolerances for their products to function correctly.
The increasing intelligence of EDM equipment makes unattended or lightly attended machining even easier.
The equipment is designed to run without assistance, be easier to operate and be more accurate.
As technology advances, it will become easier for fabrication shops to integrate these machines into the existing workflows with minimal staff retraining.
An EDM machine is an indispensable machine that you can use to produce high-quality machined products.
The type of machine you require will depend upon your specific industry, but they all offer significant advantages over traditional CNC machining.