The Benefits of Wire EDM
1. Efficient Production Capabilities
Because of the precision and high-speed of wire EDM machines, manufacturers are increasingly discovering that many parts can be more economically produced with wire EDM, rather than with conventional machining.
2. Reliable Repeatability
The constant reliability of wire EDM is one of the greater advantages of this process. Because the programs are computer generated and the electrode is constantly being fed from a spool (the wire electrode is used only once), the last part is identical to the first part. The cutter wear found in conventional machining does not exist. In addition, tighter machining tolerances can be maintained without additional cost.
3. Without EDM--Impossible to Machine
As more and more engineers, tool designers, and machinists understand the wire EDM process, many unique machining processes can be performed that can only be done with wire EDM. To help understand the wire EDM process, visualize a super precision band saw with independent axis on top and bottom cutting any electrical conductive material, even tungsten carbide, with a thin (.010 inch and smaller) wire, cutting tapers up to 45 degrees.
4. Reduced Costs
To be competitive in today's market it is important to take advantage of every cost-saving procedure available. The high-speed cutting wire EDM machines of today have dramatically reduced costs for many manufactured parts. Conventional machining leaves sharp edges and often burrs when machined, but a radius can be made with wire EDM without any additional cost. This eliminates a filing or sanding operation.
5. Stress-Free and Burr-Free Cutting
Wire EDM is a non-contact, force-free, metal-removing process which eliminates cutting stress and resultant mechanical distortion. Extremely thin sections can be machined because the wire electrode never contacts the material being cut. Materials cut with wire EDM are totally burr-free, and the edges are perfectly straight. Thin parts can be stacked and cut without leaving any burrs.
6. Exotic Materials
Wire EDM can cut carbide, inconel, tool steels, ferro-tic, hastalloy, stellite, titanium--any electrically conductive material, hard or soft. In fact, the EDM manufacturers use hardened D2 to rate the cutting speed of their machines. Hardened D2 cuts faster than cold roll steel. What can become a nightmare with conventional machining, does not faze wire EDM at all.
7. Tight Tolerances and Excellent Finishes
The wire path is controlled by a CNC computer-generated program, with part accuracies up to +/- .0001" (.0025mm). Dowel holes can be produced with wire EDM to be either press or slip fit. The extremely fine finish from the standard wire EDM process often eliminates the need for grinding or other finishing procedures.
8. Program Files Downloadable
If your parts to be machined are programmed on a CAD system, many job shops can accept your files directly into their systems. Electronically transmitting these files eliminates the need for reprogramming the parts.
9. Parts for Wire EDM
Machines can EDM parts weighing over 4500 pounds and up to 38 inches tall. Many parts can be economically produced with wire EDM, such as:
- Production of make-complete parts
- Close tolerance shapes from stacked sheets
- Parts with small corner radii
- Honeycomb panels (cleanly cut & burr-free)
- Turbine blades & dovetails
- Forging dies
- Medical components (arthroscopy)
- 4-axis compound shapes
- Cams, gears, splines, keyways, hexes, slots etc.
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