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a wire EDM machine

Why You Should Maintain Your Wire EDM Machines

Electronic Discharge Machining (EDM) has evolved to become a critical part of the manufacturing process. A common type of this machinery is wire EDM. This type of EDM uses a thin wire which acts as an electrode and cuts and shapes workpieces made of metal and solid steel.

Improvements in the wire EDM machines continue at a fast pace, and they mainly focus on three major features: speed, surface finish, and accuracy. Wire EDM has reduced process times while maintaining the quality of its finishes and accuracy. However, to achieve productional efficiencies consistently, it is important to maintain these machines regularly. Here’s why you should maintain your wire EDM machines according to the manufacturers’ guidelines.

To Maintain Tight Wire EDM Cutting Tolerances

Traditional cutting systems rely on the application of some sort of physical or mechanical force to help them cut a workpiece. However, EDM machines are different. Rather than relying on force, it uses an electrical current to cut. A spark is generated between the wire and workpiece due to the dielectric solution in the EDM center’s tank. The spark creates the cut while creating some wastage along the way, which is flushed away.

However, variances in dielectric fluid’s conductivity can impact the accuracy of cutting. To achieve greater cutting efficiency consistently, it is important to monitor the condition of the dielectric fluid and clean it regularly between processes. Check the fluid once after every 500 hours and use several electrometers for testing its viability.  

Maintaining Cutting Accuracy

Even if the dielectric liquid in the EDM center’s tank is pure, there might still be gaps in cutting accuracy. This may occur to the degrading of the power feed or grounding cables which are responsible for the smooth flow of electricity for the cutting process. If you find out that the power feed or ground cables are worn out, then replace them immediately. Having them replaced will cause an instant positive effect on the cutting accuracy and performance.

Preventing Rust and Corrosion

The wires on the EDM machine are not susceptible to rust or corrosion because they are continuously replaced however other components in the machinery can develop rust if not maintained regularly. The automatic threading system is vulnerable to rust if the iron particles are not cleaned regularly. Rusting can impact the fed wire alignment, which leads to reduced cutting accuracy or, in worse cases, wire breakage.

 an EDM machine

Ensuring Peak Performance

There are several moving parts in EDM machinery such as pulleys, belts, and rollers which require frequent maintenance. Having periodic maintenance ensures that your machine runs at its peak performance capabilities. If any of the mentioned components are worn out or need a repair, it can impact the accuracy of the EDM cutting tool. In worst-case scenarios, you might not be able to operate the machinery at all unless the parts are replaced.

Like any mechanical tool at your workshop or manufacturing concern, a robust preventive maintenance schedule can help your EDM machines achieve optimal productive efficiency consistently. Having a well-maintained wire EDM machine will ensure a consistent quality cutting process and will prevent unnecessary downtime.

If you’re looking for wire EDM specialists, then have a look at MD Design & Automation. We specialize in wire EDM and CNC machining Wisconsin. As a family-owned business, we don’t compromise on quality and ensure every part that leaves our workshop is of the highest standard.

We also provide jig and fixture design manufacturing in Wisconsin which includes 2D & 3D modeling, large and small assembly design, and much more. Contact us now or request a quote for your project.

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