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Wire EDM

Cutting method in which an electrically charged wire is fed through a workpiece creating an electric discharge that cuts a contour in its horizontal plane.

Illustration of Wire EDM
Illustration of Wire EDM

The process

From a wire coil [1], a wire [2] is fed via wire guide coils [3] and control units [4]. In order to resist abrasion, the control units are usually made of diamond. The thread is finally collected by a collection coil [5] or cut into smaller pieces when consumed.

Connection via power source causes the wire to act as cathode and the workpiece as anode. When the electrode, in this case the wire, is placed close to the workpiece, spark discharge occurs, which causes material from both the workpiece and the wire to be removed.

The discharge is supported by a dielectric [6], which helps to cool the process and dispose decompressed material. The process can also be completely immersed in a dielectric.

The spark gap [7] causes the machined contour to be slightly larger than the diameter of the wire [8]. The contour is usually controlled by the workpiece movements in the horizontal plane.

Most equipments have the opportunity to angle the thread during the process (see lower image). This can for example be used to create release angles for punch tools. The function can also be used to create extrusion matrices with complex forms to achieve an optimal material flow.

When talking about 5-axis simultaneous wire EDM, it usually means that the workpiece is mounted on a rotating table that can be rotated simultaneously, which gives an additional degrees of freedom.

Plastic forming process where a plastic melt is pressed through a die to create an axially symmetric profile.
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Bearbetningsbara material

All conductive materials, materials that can carry current, can be EDM cut.

Typiska applikationer

The method is usually used to process hard and brittle materials where conventional milling is not appropriate, such as in the manufacture of cutting tools and dies for extrusion.

Product examples
Punch steel
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Advantages and disadvantages
In comparison with alternative methods
Can process all conductive materials
Handles processing hard and brittle materials
High finish on the cut surface
Stable process
Small cut gap means that you get low removal volume
Can process heat-resistant materials
Handles tight internal radii
Quiet manufacturing method
Very high utilization, high degree of automation
Parallel cuts
Touchless Processing without cutting forces
Requires blasting often only as a final operation
Micro cracks can occur in the cut surface
Slow method
Larger details cannot be machined as thick workpieces slow the cutting process
Risk of corrosion due to electrolyte
The cut will be extra sensitive to corrosion
Non-metallic coating / laminating is difficult to spark
Generell teknisk data
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