To respond to them, focusing on improving the efficiency to help practical cutting in factories, manufacturers have developed advanced cutting technologies, various effective functions and a tool for managing production and quality data on their EDM cutting machines.
One of the latest EDM cutting machine technologies is the very precise cutting of thick workpieces, developed for resin die cutting. It significantly improves the straightness of thick workpieces thanks to our optimal discharge control.
Some manufacturers have developed an automatic wire feed function at the wire break point during taper cutting, which enables the wire to be threaded automatically in the event of a wire break during taper cutting of the press die with relief angles. It contributes to unmanned machining. But there are many new EDM cutting machine technologies and applications.
This article will dive into the latest developments in the world of EDM cutting machines.
Why Use EDM Cutting Machines?
Before we discuss the latest developments in EDM cutting machines, let's summarize why EDM cutters are an excellent choice. In practice, EDM cutting machines solve the main problem in contact machining: hardness. In traditional processes, metal workpieces are fabricated from special grades of hardenable tool steels treated in a soft annealed condition to aid machining.
After the desired shape is machined, the parts are then hardened by one or more heat treatments. This adds time, increases cost, and can change the dimensions of finished parts, especially if the heat treatment process is not properly controlled.
The value of EDM is that while having an outstanding surface finish as a bonus, it will cut hardened materials and rare alloys. Sometimes the effect is a diminished need for post-treatment or surface treatment.
EDM cutting machines need a balance between speed and surface finish, much like all machining processes. A wire EDM cutting machine system, for example, also uses quicker, rougher cuts followed by finishing or trowel cuts that use a rinse profile that is less harsh to reduce wire deflection.
For the majority of jobs using two electrodes, Sinker EDM sees a comparable pattern: one for roughing and one for finishing. Due to the rapid hard milling, sinkers have been less and less used over the years.
As this process progresses, it is important to do less plunger cavity work. Sharp inside corners or very deep, thin ribs are areas which can not be created with hard milling. Sink EDM is a must in this case.
EDM cutting Machines vs. Conventional Machines
Generally speaking, if EDM cutting machine is a suitable choice for your program, the basic features of EDM can give you an idea. EDM, for instance, is normally slower than other types of machining, but is also more predictable, precise and repeatable.
There are also other advantages: EDM is carried out unattended, so the direct labour ratio and manufacturing rates using EDM are usually smaller than other techniques. For more information on unattended machining with EDM cutting machines, please see the section ‘Unattended EDM Cutting Machines? No Problem!’ down below.
EDM Cutting Machine Applications and CAM Development
Cutting complex profiles and odd angles is the domain of wire EDM cutting machines, enabling the creation of ultra-precise shapes and perfect finishes that are almost impossible to machine by other means. However, just because a shape is difficult to machine doesn't mean it should be difficult to program.
Working with wire and water, rather than speed and feed, is a challenge for CAM systems originally developed for conventional milling and turning applications. The concept of removing material with a knife does not easily translate to the concept of eroding material with a thin wire.
Yes, nomenclature like contouring and pockets ultimately mean the same thing in the end product, but the means of reaching the target are very different for a wire EDM cutting machine.
Working with wire and water requires a first look at EDM in CAM development to open up a world of opportunities for metalworking innovation. Thinking outside of the box is what ignites innovation. But innovation also benefits from using traditional methods in non-traditional ways.
Running unattended EDM cutting machines? No problem!
EDM cutting machinesoffer features that allow them to work for a long time without special attention from the operator. These features include automatic wire threaders, tool holders for multi-part configuration, sensing and feedback systems for adaptive control, and advanced electronics.
There is great potential for round-the-clock production by grouping elements and processing them sequentially, for example similar details in dies that can be set multiple times. However, adapting to this kind of work requires advanced programming skills to achieve the greatest reliability and cost savings.
Modern EDM cutting machines incorporate machining strategies that automatically add stops at a specified distance along the wire path to stop the screw, generate appropriate pre-fat cuts, and then automatically replay the path to remove the stops in the correct order to safely release the screw. For flexibility, the program can be instructed to wait for the operator to be present before cutting the stops.
Flexibility and Synchronization
The synchronized computer control of the upper and lower wire guides of a modern EDM cutting machine enables the processing of extreme cones, complex cones and the connection of independent upper and lower profiles on one workpiece. This ensures that the wire follows the complex path in a stable, highly controlled manner.
When creating an EDM feature, all rough cuts, degreasers, and indents are created as separate entities. This method has two advantages. First, the developer can easily change the order of the cuts, either manually for several cuts, or automatically using the advanced sort function to reorder all cuts in one command.
This is a clear advantage when cutting a series of multiple profiles with modern EDM cutting machines. Second, although cuts are generated separately, they remain under the control of the original programmer-defined operation.
If a minor change is required, the developer only needs to change that one operation to automatically regenerate all related cuts. Using a parent / child relationship in EDM provides maximum flexibility and ease of use.