Ever heard of thermal energy? Electrical discharge machining or EDM is a non-traditional way of removing materials from a workpiece through thermal energy. Resembling somewhat to laser cutting, EDM is a popular method used especially for hard materials and complex shapes. Moreover, unlike laser cutting, EDM does not require mechanical force for its removal process.
More On The Process
In simpler terms, EDM involves the use of high-frequency spark discharges sourced from a soft metal tool to disintegrate conductive materials like hardened steel or carbide. This soft metal is often used as an electrode.
Still don’t get it?
In short, electrical discharge machining is a process that removes material from conductive materials through an electrode. During the process, the electrode leaves a negative imprint on the workpiece and removes any required material through vaporization or melting.
For this to happen, both the electron and workpiece must be dipped in a dielectric fluid. You must also note that for the process to happen, the liquid in which the two materials are dipped but be non-conductive.
The non-conductive liquid causes the material to heat if welding has smaller bits of material.
Types Of EDM
Traditionally there are three types of discharge machining. The first type, sinker EDM, also known as traditional EDM, is a method where graphite or copper is used as electrodes. These metals are some words into the workpiece.
The second type is wire EDM. Also known as wire erosion, the process involves the usage of a thin wire, which is used to cut the workpiece. During this process, the wire comes from an automated feed with the spool.
The third type is hole drilling EDM. Hole drilling is a process where tubular electrodes are used to drill small and deep holes into the workpiece.
Benefits of EDM
Normally, metals like titanium and tungsten carbide are hard to machine through the traditional cutting method. However, through EDM, any type of material can be machined as long as it is conductive. This is one of the noteworthy benefits of the process.
It is also beneficial because it does not require mechanical force on the workpiece. This can be quite handy, especially if the workpieces are fragile.
Moreover, EDM allows you to machine deeper cuts and apps, which is usually impossible to reach through a normal cutting tool. Moreover, the surface finish achieved is better than that achieved through traditional methods.
Is EDM safe?
Though EDM is safe, it is vital to consider those who come in touch with the machinery for the first time. Because it involves high discharge and reoccurring sparks, it can be a little hazardous for inexperienced workers.
However, as long as the machine is used according to the specifications, there is no danger involved in the process of electrical discharge machining.
Here are some of the safety measures workers must follow to run the EDM machine-
- All workers must be properly trained with the machine.
- The level of electronic fluid must always be under continuous surveillance.
- All necessary fire protection measures must be installed.
- The area must have proper ventilation to ensure there are no health hazards.
- You must monitor the dielectric fluid at all times.
EDM is a popular method that has made the process of small hole drilling, milling, turning and grinding on fragile materials possible. The technique is often used in the automobile and aerospace industries.