Why Wire Erosion is the Best Manufacturing Process
January 11, 2020
Wire erosion is quickly becoming a popular term in the manufacturing processes of various industries such as prototyping, aerospace, and in the
medical field. It is also commonly referred to as spark eroding, wire burning, die sinking, or wire EDM.
To understand the reason for its popularity, you need to understand the process.
What is Wire Erosion
It refers to the process by which a workpiece is cut through with utmost precision using a wire EDM (Electro Discharge Machining). The process is used in machining hard metals that other techniques cannot successfully cut through.
The process uses a single-strand brass or stratified copper wire which can be 0.1 to 0.3 mm thick, making it possible to cut pieces and parts that are less than a millimeter thick.
The term was developed in the year 1770 when Joseph Priestley, an English Scientist, discovered during his experiments, that electric discharges could remove material from electrodes.
Soviet researchers then used these findings to develop a machining process that has evolved into EDM wire erosion.
How does it Work
Wire erosion works using electrical sparks that flow between the wire and the object being worked on. It cuts through the material with tremendous precision.
The sparks produce intense heat of up to 12,000 Degrees Celsius. The electric sparks are carefully controlled such that they only affect the targeted surface.
The engineer can use dielectric deionized water, which acts as a coolant preventing the metal components of the workpiece from overheating.
The deionized water also washes away particles that could lead to inaccuracy.
When cutting, the engineer begins at the edge or will drill a hole on the workpiece, which then acts as the starting point.
To achieve the most accuracy in wire erosion, the engineer will pass the wire through the surface twice in what is known as skimming.
Advantages of Using the Process
It can work on complex shapes and tough materials without compromising the accuracy of the process. Weaker materials, on the other hand,
can be cut through without breakage since the tools do not come into direct contact with the material.
It is an excellent option for chemical fetching, which is primarily limited by the chemical composition of the material that is being worked on.
The size of the workpiece does not matter. Whether large or small, wire erosion works with the same kind of precision and without any damage.
It is a cost-effective method. Since it’s not limited by size, it is possible to work on components of varying thickness and material without incurring an additional programming cost.
The flexibility of the wire makes it possible to achieve very complicated details using this process such as a square edge, narrow slots, and a fine surface finish. It is also possible to drill fine holes using wire erosion.
Wire erosion does not leave burrs which add more work to the task already at hand. Burrs are common with traditional cutting tools.
For any process that calls for extreme accurateness in cutting tough materials or creating delicate details, and high-quality finishing, the wire erosion process is always an excellent choice.