Gaining a Deeper Understanding of EDM Machines and Their Uses
Today we are going to take a look into an important part of the manufacturing process of many industries, EDM machines. These machines, in all of their forms, are vitally important in industries which rely on the precise cutting of metals, for a wide number of uses. To further understand the purpose of EDM machines, we first need to know what it is, and how it operates, from there we can take a deeper look into the uses of EDM machines, so let’s get started.
What Is EDM?
EDM stands for electrical discharge machining, also known as spark eroding, wire erasing and die sinking. This process allows companies and individuals to cut a desired shape in a material, usually metal, through the use of sparks or electrical discharges.
How Does EDM Work?
In order for EDM machines to work, two separate electrodes are required, one of these electrodes is referred to as the ‘tool’ electrode, and the other is the ‘work piece’ electrode. These two electrodes are separated by a liquid which we call dielectric liquid, therefore the electrodes themselves will not make physical contact with one another. These machines operate through sending electrical currents from one electrode to the other, which have been placed in specific points on the material which you are looking to cut. As the voltage is increased, positive ions and electrons are greatly accelerated, and form an ionized electrical current, also known as a channel. At the point where the current is strongest, the heat of the current rises to over 8,000 centigrade and begins to melt the material which it has been directed towards. It is this heat which is created that cuts the desired materials, without any object ever touching them.
EDM Uses in Various Industries
Thanks to the incredible precision and accuracy of these machines, a number of manufacturers rely on them each and every day. The heaviest users of EDM machines are companies within the aerospace industries, who work with a wide range of metals and solid materials, as well as the automative industry who can use these machines to cut shapes which are highly specific to each model of vehicle. In truth these machines can be used in any industries where a specific shape is required to be cut out, and many of the machine’s uses are actually in the creation of manufacturing equipment for factories and plants.
There are a huge number of benefits of using EDM machines in manufacturing, but it does have some limitations which should be noted. With Wire EDM tapering, there are restriction on the angles at which they can be used, the maximum taper is just 45 degrees and the maximum height/angle is 16 inches high and 30 degrees, affecting some requirements which people may have. There are also some restrictions when it comes to finite accuracy, dealing in millionths of inches and highly specific surface finish needs. The restriction of EDM affect a very small number of needs, making this one of the most important manufacturing tools in a greta number of industries.
EDM looks like it will continue to grow in use and accuracy in the coming years, and any alternatives which provide a better option has not yet come along.