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Posted on Nov 27, 2018
The full name of EDM is electrical discharge machining, also known as spark machining and spark eroding in the industrial field.
The abbreviation of wire cut EDM machine tool means an electric discharge machining machine for wire cutting. It can also be called spark machining and spark eroding in the industrial field. It uses electrical discharge to machine the work piece into the desired shape. Some countries interpret this process as sparking machining. Electric discharge machining is to remove the material of the work piece from the work piece through a series of rapidly recurring electric current.
There are several types of wire EDM machining currently on the market, all of which are controlled by programmed system to ensure accuracy and higher repeatability. In this section, we will discuss one of the types that are widely used in the processing of small sized work pieces, and their applications include household appliances, filter nets, 3C electric consumables, and so on.
The wire EDM machine was first invented in the late 1960s. Its purpose is to make hardened steel into tools and molds. The earliest numerical controlled machine tool was transformed from a perforated belt vertical milling machine. In the Soviet Union in the late 1960s, the development of aerospace, military, and defense industrial processing was in an uprising step. The first commercial CNC machine tool made in the Soviet Union was an EDM machine tool. A team led by David H. Dulebohn developed a machine tool for milling and grinding at Andrew Engineering Company, which can optically follow the lines on the master drawing.
In the next decade, the computer numerical control plotter successfully produced the master drawings, thereby improving the processing performance and repeatability. In the early 1970s, a wire-cut EDM machine using CNC drawing plotter and optic line follower technology was produced. After that, Dulebohn used CNC plotters in the wire EDM machine. So the first CNC EDM machine was produced in 1976.
After a series of long-term research and development, coupled with technological progress, the commercial wire EDM capability and its application have made great progress. In addition, after the introduction of an automated mechanism, the material feeding speed of the wire EDM machine has been greatly improved. Now, the surface finish of EDM can be well controlled by CNC program.
People's understanding of wire EDM is mainly due to its wire features and is very different from other metal cutting machines on the market. There are other methods in the EDM series that do not use wire cutting, one of which is the die sinking EDM method. The development of die sinking EDM can be traced back to the end of the Second World War in 1943, two Russian scientists (B. R. Lazarenko and N. I. Lazarenko) were ordered to study methods to prevent erosion of tungsten electrical contacts due to sparking effects.
The two pioneer scientists at the time were unable to complete this research, but their efforts contributed greatly to this technology. They did find that under certain circumstances, it is possible to control erosion more precisely.
This inspiration prompted them to invent an EDM machine for processing hard materials such as tungsten. The name of Lazarenkos' machine is called as an R-C-type machine, which is named after the resistor–capacitor circuit that is used to charge the electrodes.
At the same time, there is an American team composed of Harold Stark, Victor Harding, and Jack Beaver. They have successfully developed an EDM machine for removing broken drills and taps on aluminum castings. The American team initially used feeble electric-etching tools to make machines, but the results were not good, so they later switched to this method. The EDM machines can generate 60 sparks per second, which was a technological breakthrough at the time and prompted other research teams to further venture into the field of metal processing.
Machines later used vacuum tube circuits based on their design, which generated thousands of sparks per second, which significantly increased the wire EDM machining speed, with great potential and productivity. This new EDM machine has been highly praised by people in the industry.
Wire EDM machining is a very common metal cutting technology today, which is often used to cut hard and complex materials. It is the most widely used in mold and tool manufacturing. In addition, it has become a common method for making prototypes and parts, especially in the relatively low volume production of aerospace, automotive, and electronics industries.
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