A Brief History Of Wire Cut EDM.

Posted on Nov 27, 2018


For the abbreviated EDM machine, the full name is electrical discharge machining, which is also known in the industrial sector as spark machining and spark eroding.

A Brief History Of Wire Cut EDM. The History And How It Works In Today’s World.

For the abbreviated wire cut EDM machine, the full name is electrical discharge machining, which is also known in the industrial sector as spark machining and spark eroding. It is a processing procedure whereby a programmed shape is obtained by using electrical discharges, therefore in some nations this process is paraphrased as sparking machining. By the time of EDM machining, materials of the work piece are removed from the work piece by a series of rapidly recurring electric current.

Programmed wire cut EDM

Although there are several types of EDM processing nowadays, all of them are controlled by programmed system in order to make sure of the accuracy and higher repeatability. Here in the section we discuss one type which is largely adopted in the manufacturing of household appliances, filter nets, 3C electric consumables, and other smaller sized work pieces.

Manual operation in the 1960s

The history of wire-cut type of the EDM machine was first invented in the late 1960s for the purpose of making tools and dies from hardened steel. The earliest numerical controlled (NC) machine tools were conversions of punched-tape vertical milling machines. The first commercially available NC machinery built as a wire-cut EDM machine was manufactured in the days of USSR in Russia during the era of the late 1960s in which the processing of aerospace, military and defense were growing in an uprising step. Machines that could optically follow lines on a master drawing were developed by David H. Dulebohn's group in the 1960s at Andrew Engineering Company for milling and grinding machines.

CNC epoch

Later within one decade, master drawings were successfully produced by computer numerical controlled (CNC) plotters for greater machining oerformance and repeatability. A wire-cut EDM machine using the CNC drawing plotter and optic line follower technology was produced in the early 1970s. After that, Dulebohn later utilized the same plotter CNC programmed to directly control the EDM machine for machining, and the first CNC EDM machine was produced in the year 1976.

Market-oriented practices

After a series of long-term research and development, commercial wire EDM capability and its applications have advanced substantially during the recent decades due to the progression in the technology. In addition, after the introduction of automation mechanism in the current decade, feed rates of the material (work piece) for EDM machine has been increased significantly, and now the surface finish of EDM can be eventually well controlled by CNC program rather than human workers.

EDM processing without wires

People know about EDM processing mostly due to the wire features that is so distinguished from other metal cutting machineries in the market, but there are still some other methods in the EDM family that exploit not wire but other means. One of it is the die sinking EDM method. About its history, let’s go back early when two Russian scientists (B. R. Lazarenko and N. I. Lazarenko) were tasked before the end of World War Two in the year 1943 to investigate the methods of preventing the erosion of tungsten electrical contacts due to sparking effects.

Precisely controlled erosion

Although the two pioneering scientists failed in this task, their efforts contributed to the technology significantly. They did found that the erosion was more precisely controlled if the electrodes were under some specific circumstances and this inspired a lot to the following experiments.

Such inspiring knowledge led them to invent an EDM machine used for processing and machining 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.

EDM development in the other side of the Atlantic

Meanwhile, in an independent circumstance, there was an American team, which was composed of Harold Stark, Victor Harding, and Jack Beaver, who successfully developed an EDM machine for removing broken drills and taps from aluminum castings. The American team initially constructed their machines from feeble electric-etching tools, because they were not very successful at first so that the methodology is redirected later. After that, Stark, Harding, and Beaver's machines were able to produce 60 sparks per second, which is a technological breakthrough at that time, stimulating researchers to delve into this field of metalworking further.

After that, machines later that are constructed based on their design used vacuum tube circuits that were able to produce thousands of sparks per second, significantly increasing the speed of cutting, rendering great potentiality and productivity This achievement is highly appraised by business insiders due to the convenient nature of EDM processing.

Today’s progression

EDM is a very common metal cutting technology today that metalworking insiders used to cut materials that is hard and complicated. It is most widely used by the mold-making, tool making, and die making industries. Besides, it is becoming a common method of making prototype and production parts for pioneering programs, especially in the aerospace, automobile and electronics industries in which production quantities are relatively low, therefore it is a well accepted technology.

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