Wire electrical discharge machining (EDM) is a method commonly used to cut almost any kind of electrically conductive material with a great deal of precision. The first electrode in this process is the actual material being cut, while the second electrode is created by having a thin, electrically charged EDM wire positioned between the lower and upper mechanical guides used for the process.
An electrical discharge, which takes place between the wire and the electrically conductive material, generates sparks which rapidly and precisely cut through the material. When the piece being worked on and the wire are immersed in de-ionized water, the cutting debris are simply flushed away. This kind of process can produce precision parts which match design tolerances within .0001″. Even the most intricate and demanding parts requirements can be met with total accuracy and repeatability, regardless of whether you’re creating prototypes, limited production runs, or thousands of production parts.
Why wire EDM machining is so advantageous
There are a number of benefits obtained by wire EDM machining which no other manufacturing methods are able to achieve. Because it is so precise and so repeatable, the process stands alone as the ultimate method for production of high-quality, high-precision parts. When accurate machining is necessary, EDM machining is by far the best option available, and as mentioned above, it can machine parts to within extremely tight tolerances.
Another major advantage of wire EDM machining is that it’s extremely efficient at producing delicate and intricate parts, and it is possible to manufacture those intricate parts in quantities of one or one million, because the process is extremely repeatable. A characteristic, which is much appreciated by a number of industry leaders, is that wire EDM machining has much shorter lead times than any other manufacturing process. Part of this shorter lead time is due to the fact that its extreme accuracy allows the process to produce parts correctly the first time, so that no rework or follow-up is necessary. This being the case, it’s always much faster to get a product from prototype phase into the actual marketplace when using wire EDM machining.
There’s much less tooling necessary when setting up for EDM manufacturing, and that means that setup time as a whole takes much less time. This also contributes to the shorter lead times associated with the process. When it’s necessary to produce long tapers, there is no other manufacturing method which can accurately and efficiently produce such long tapers as EDM machining can.
One other capability of EDM machining is that it’s very good at producing square-edged internal cuts, which other machining methods simply cannot duplicate. EDM drilling is a process which has the capability of creating tiny holes, which are difficult to produce using any other machining method, which makes this an additional ability that EDM machining has, which is difficult to match.
Taken altogether, EDM machining is far more likely to create the perfect part, because it leaves no burrs and requires no extra tooling to bring the part to the required state of precision and high quality. On top of everything else, wire EDM machining also imparts a much better surface than any other form of manufacturing. With all these advantages considered, it’s easy to see why wire EDM machining is the preferred manufacturing method for many industry leaders.
Velocity Metalworks has become recognized as a valued partner in the metal stamping industry for our strong Tool Design and Build competency. This, combined with our metal stamping capacity, precision machining services, and EDM capability make us a full service provider that can deliver value in your tooling and stamping needs. Contact us today to see how we can help you work even better.