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Is buying your wired metal tools or components filled with frustration?

 

At DIE-TECH, we can offer you a complete range of metalworking services, including Wire EDM services. The quality and efficiency of our EDM cutting services comes from years of experience. From 2002, when we purchased our first Wire EDM machine and saw how dramatically tooling and cycling times were reduced, all the way to today, we have maintained a commitment to offering the best EDM machining services you can find.

When you look for Wire EDM Services, do they shock you with the cost of a part that you thought would be simple to make?  

Do they complain that your form is too complex, or that your specs are too tight?

Is the lead time they quote you weeks beyond the delivery date you need?

Are your programs at constant risk because your wire EDM supplier doesn’t meet their contractual obligations leaving you stuck with broken promises?
Our 41+ years of producing metal tooling and components for our own manufacturing production allows us to fully understand your needs and frustrations when it comes to wire EDM services.  die-tech can accelerate product development and improve your competitive edge. We do this by providing design for manufacturability experience, metal supply chain management, and the consistent and reliable production of complex forms with tight tolerance.

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What Are Wire EDM Services?

Some of the most durable substances can be constructed into complex designs and configurations through metalworking. Metalworking consists of three primary parts — forming, joining and cutting — and metal cutting discards specific portions to make a useful shape.

As engineers design products and tweak manufacturing steps, they need a range of methods to produce the desired outcome. Metal cutting is a crucial part of manufacturing that can assist engineers in their efforts.

There are several metal cutting techniques that can convert metal into assembly parts and structures, but wire electrical discharge machining (EDM) creates intricate contours in a unique way. Metalworking from DIE-TECH can provide you with the necessary resources and help you optimize manufacturing, and this guide can introduce you to the details of wire EDM services.

What Is Wire EDM?

Wire EDM cutting is an efficient and precise way to pierce hard metals. This technique removes conductive material through spark erosion, which is the basic EDM machine operating principle. To achieve a highly accurate division in metal, the current releases from an electrode to a workpiece.

Liquid, usually deionized water, divides and insulates these as a dielectric, so the components are set in this fluid. After reaching the right voltage and proximity, the dielectric permits the discharge that eliminates the targeted metal. The wire acts as an electrode, and the microns of loose material from the reaction are washed away by the liquid.

The process continues as the metal piece is fed closer to the wire, and minute amounts of wire are gradually displaced for an exact cut.

Wire Cutting EDM Process

To begin the process, there needs to be a hole to thread the wire through. Operators achieve this by drilling in their desired starting place. An EDM machine allows the wire to disrupt the metal it approaches, simulating a burning effect. However, this process is closer to blasting.

The wire is stretched between guides, with one on the upper and lower levels of the machine. A water nozzle head is an instrument that sweeps away debris, and the wire is aligned with it. The machinery continually spools fresh wire through the piece to fight wire erosion. It also adjusts cutting speed to account for the condition of the wire and the metal. The wire remains are deposited in a bin to clear the machine for optimal efficiency.

On an XY plane, the machine can observe a two-dimensional cutting path, and technicians can program shapes and patterns for the wire to follow. The holder or diamond guides can expand from the traditional axes to a three-dimensional project when the upper guide moves independently.

In some cases, the metal pieces are put through the process again for a second cut that can reach a better finish. This second pass can polish the lines and attain the right roughness for the purpose of the product.

Tools for Wire EDM

The three most crucial parts of wire EDM machines are dielectric liquid, wire and guides. The makeup of these tools can alter the cuts and the final product.

1. Dielectric Fluid

Dielectrics are materials that quickly prevent electric discharges, and dielectric liquids insulate and act as a coolant. The thermal stability and heat transference help to manage and stimulate the EDM system. The discharge during EDM doesn’t permanently affect the liquid due to its restorative qualities.

Deionized water is a common dielectric because of its chemical inertness. It’s also carbon-free, and it’s viscosity suits EDM. Deionized water enhances the surface finish and reduces wear on the wire. Overall, it’s the prime material for completing superior cuts.

Crude oils like kerosene are also standard dielectric liquids, and petroleum-based liquids are an affordable choice. However, their lifespan is short, and they need regular replacement. Mixtures of water and oil present an appropriate balance between the advantages of both substances.

2. Copper, Brass or Coated Wire

The main types of wire that divide metal in EDM are copper and wire, although steel and coated wires are occasionally utilized.

Copper withstands abrasion, boasts a high metal removal rate and cuts all metals well. Its cost is higher, but it remains a favorite in the industry. Alternatively, brass is more susceptible to wear than copper, but it clears away metal quickly, carves through any metal and has a lower price tag than copper.

3. Holders and Guides

Attaching to the machine heads, the electrode holders are supports for wires, and they have to sustain pressure and resist corrosion. Synthetic crystalline structures, ceramic and silicon nitride are the typical materials that distinguish EDM guides.

Benefits of EDM Machining

This operation has several advantages that set it apart as a worthwhile metal cutting procedure. Wire EDM machining can provide you with an expedient, cost-effective option with a favorable end product. You can profit from the following machining benefits.

1. Surface Finish

In the production of wire EDM, the texture of the workpiece comes out clean. With no burrs, the separation is even and functional. The surface finish has fewer irregularities than other methods, and it obtains a suitable friction level.

2. Efficiency

Rather than manually brushing away metal residue, the setup of wire EDM machines automatically flushes extra material. With the same dexterity, the system supplies enough wire to keep the process going. These mechanized tasks make wire EDM productive for metalworkers.

3. Compatibility With Hardened Metals and Alloys

Because wire EDM targets conductive material, it can cut strong, solid metals and alloys. It also expedites the task of shaping hard metals, like titanium, which normally requires more force and time.

4. Accuracy

The impact of cutting through hard metals normally distorts the workpiece, leading to microcracks and stresses. However, wire EDM can avoid these consequences and attains strict tolerances. Research shows that noticeable microcracks are rarely witnessed in EDM.

5. Navigation Possibilities

Conventional cutting tools have significant limitations, but wire EDM is adept at maneuvering through metal. It can get detailed arcs, corners, shapes and geometry in multiple sizes. It also has the capacity to generate transitioning and tapering.

6. Repeatable Processes

Because it’s programmable, the products can match standards and specifications consistently. Deviation in a series of products is controllable, which is ideal for manufacturing.

7. Low Labor and Manufacturing Costs

Wire EDM has decreased operational costs because the machining is mostly automatic and unattended. It also produces less material waste and features a quick turnaround cycle, which is cost-effective in the long run.

Wire Electrical Discharge Machining: Common FAQs

Wire EDM is a complicated system, and several questions arise about this machining process. The following questions and answers address unclear sections and more detailed parts of wire EDM services.

What Materials Can EDM Cut?

Wire EDM can impact conductive substances — materials that electric currents easily flow through. Metals are strong conductors and the primary material for EDM. While soft metals are excellent conductors, hard metals are more frequently put through wire EDM. Tungsten, iron and nickel are a few examples of hard metals that this process can cut. Alloys, like bronze and steel, are also conductors, so EDM functions well with these, too.

Is There a Metal Thickness Limit for Wire EDM?

The average wire EDM machine can cut through metal plates that are several inches thick, especially for larger parts. However, the thickness limit depends on the size, brand and model of the machine.

What Is the Accuracy of Wire EDM Machines?

EDM machines adhere to a minute scale measured in micrometers or inches. The fine cuts are specific, making it one of the most meticulous systems for cutting metal. The tolerances are also stringent. DIE-TECH’s wires are as small as 0.004 inches in diameter, allowing for a 0.0025-inch radius micro-machining with +/- 0.0001-inch tolerances.

What Is EDM Drilling?

EDM drilling is for starting an internal cut or making individual holes in a conductive material. It’s used to form pilot holes for wire processes, but it does not employ a wire electrode. Instead, drilling takes a metallic electrode that is tubular and similar to a drill bit. It induces the same electrical relationship as wire EDM, except the discharge comes from above. EDM can produce small hole popping in a comparable way.

What Technology Is Involved in Wire EDM?

The programming for wire EDM is through computer numerical control (CNC). CNC directs the movement of the machines, instead of the machines being operated manually. With CNC, an operator inputs the proper codes for the product, and the codes can be updated if new information comes to light or engineers wish to take a different direction.

The design and dimensions for a wire EDM project are first designated through computer-aided design (CAD). Then they are translated into computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software.

Emerging technology with additional automation is spreading through the metalworking industry. Robotic tools like ROBOCUT CCR are expanding to wire EDM, although they’re currently applied to sink or ram EDM. The robotic technology in wire EDM can reduce the need for manual workers further and introduce a faster production cycle.

Also, with technology, it is becoming easier to gather the data that informs future processes. Evaluating the cutting conditions can happen more rapidly and accurately with these stores of information.

What Is the Difference Between Ram EDM and Wire EDM?

EDM splits into separate approaches, and many think of this as “ram EDM vs. wire EDM.” Ram EDM is also referred to as sinker EDM, and it uses dielectric fluid as an insulator as well. Oil dielectric liquid is the go-to choice for ram EDM, and it may remove residue more slowly.

The electrode, in this case, comes from overhead to initiate the discharge, and it imprints — or rams — the workpiece without making contact. Because the electrode isn’t wire-based, it doesn’t need replenishing and can take less attention. Ram EDM also prevents burrs and microcracking, but wire EDM remains the top selection for precision and cost-efficiency.

What Degree of Taper Angles Can Wire EDM Cut?

Most wire EDM machines have a maximum taper angle. This determines how many degrees the three-dimensional cuts can take, and it differs between companies.

How Fast Is Wire EDM Cutting?

When wire EDM machines were first introduced, they didn’t go through more than a maximum of one foot per hour. Modern EDM machines push wire from a few millimeters to a few centimeters per minute, meaning the cut metal is also moving through at greater speeds. The advances of recent technology are further increasing these speeds as well. Metal cutting companies can complete orders more quickly than ever with automation.

What Is Maintenance Like for Wire EDM Machines?

A maintenance schedule is crucial for wire EDM machines to sustain productivity. Cleaning and alignment for the wire threading system can keep its performance high. The upper and lower machine heads also can use frequent inspection, and the wire collection bin needs periodic emptying as well. Overall, the low manual supervision of a wire EDM machine offsets any maintenance efforts.

Multiple Applications of Wire EDM

One of the most common applications for wire EDM is to form the outlines of extrusion dies. Dies can have intricate profiles and even unique design requirements, such as tapered edges, so wire EDM is ideal. Other applications for wire EDM include splines, punch tools, gears, medical apparatuses and mechanical airfoils. Items with inner corners, tight slots or other sensitive metal formation are manageable for wire EDM machining as well.

Industries That Can Use Wire EDM

Challenging metal and unusual cutting patterns are problems many sectors encounter. Wire EDM systems are applicable to numerous industries, and businesses can progress toward further precision. Those that depend on definite dimensions and accuracy through production can improve their projects with wire EDM. Metalworking solutions are appropriate for but not limited to the following industries:

If your industry is not listed here and you’re uncertain how wire EDM services can help you, consult a reliable metalworking supplier like DIE-TECH to learn more.

Partner With DIE-TECH for Wire EDM Services

Wire EDM is a valuable method for achieving precise cuts in tough metals for a variety of purposes. The applications for this metal-cutting open up positive potential in different fields, and wire EDM is set to see continued growth. Optimizing the metal in your projects is achievable, and it’s the feasible way to get an edge over your competition.

For 45 years, DIE-TECH has gained experience and refined the production process of metalworking. Producing our own metal tooling and manufacturing components allows us to understand the needs of engineers during production in a unique way. With extensive expertise, we can accelerate your product development.

DIE-TECH’s wire EDM cutting services are the perfect solution to challenging jobs. Whether you’re creating a part out of inflexible metal or a design with a small radius, our EDM services can bring the best outcome. Our experienced technicians can also provide sink EDM, EDM hole popping, drilling, grinding and lathe work. Contact us to learn more about metalworking, and request a quote today for our wire EDM services.