Electronic Discharge Machining (EDM) is an innovative manufacturing process where the material is removed from a workpiece through recurring electrical discharges. It doesn’t require a high physical force and creates low residual stress which makes it a reliable production tool, especially for medical equipment manufacturing.
Due to its innovation, production efficiencies, and low wastage, it remains a popular choice for manufacturers. Even though EDM has considerable advantages over other production processes, there are a few key drawbacks of the process that you should keep in mind before deciding to use it. We’ll start by describing the types of EDM and then discuss their advantages and disadvantages in detail.
Types Of EDM
There are two main types of EDM: wire and die-sinking.
- Wire EDM: This is a type of EDM where a thin strand of metal wire, which is covered with dielectric fluid, is used to create shapes in a workpiece. The strand doesn’t come in contact with the material, as the spark generated between the wire and material cuts the pieces as required. The upper and lower fixtures that contain the metal wire are usually CNC controlled.
- Die-Sinking EDM: This is like a wire EDM where the electrode tool is lowered onto a workpiece and the electrical current flow creates thousands of sparks that melt the material away. This is much less used as compared to a wire EDM.
Advantages of EDM
There are several advantages associated with EDM. First, it helps to improve productivity in the machining process by doing everything faster and more efficiently. It reduces wastage and be used with smaller workpieces that can be easily damaged if a more conventional method of cutting is used because there is no direct contact with the workpiece.
Furthermore, you can be sure of high-quality surface finishes as everything is automated. Moreover, you can create complex shapes on workpieces that are difficult to produce through manual or conventional processes. You also require less labor to operate, as these machines are self-sufficient and require minimal supervision. If you have workpieces that are hard to break down such as metals, then EDM is the way to go.
Drawbacks of EDM
No machinery is perfect, as everything has drawbacks as well. The case is similar to EDM. These machines, especially the die-sinking ones require electrode tools which is an additional cost and require a significant amount of additional time. You can expect your electricity bill to rise considerably as these machines consume a lot of electricity.
The major drawback of EDM is that it can only be used with workpieces that are conductive to electricity. Non-conductive materials require a customized set up which can be expensive. Even though with the use of electric currents, you’d think that this process is fast but it is much slower than other processes and machining methods available on the market.
Even though EDM has its drawbacks it is still a powerful tool in manufacturing processes. It can create complex shapes with relative ease and if you have rigid workpieces that need cutting or shaping then this is the method you should use. f you’re looking for a reliable partner for your EDM needs, then have a look at MD Design and Automation.
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