EDM wire cutting and wire spark erosion
These are non-contact methods of metal cutting. In the case of EDM, or electro-discharge machining, wire cutting or wire erosion, oxidation and removal of metal whilst it is cut, immersed in aqueous fluid, results in a very accurate cutting method. Gear-cutting and cutting of irregular metal shapes can be performed by this method. A brass or molybdenum wire is normally used to pass the electrical current which erodes the metal along the cutting line. Precision tube cutting, without burrs at the tube ends, can also be carried out using this method, in place of the more usual laser cutting or abrasive cut methods.
Wire spark erosion uses an electrode, made from a conductive metal such as copper or a copper alloy, to produce an eroding spark. This “eats” into the metal part, shaping it as a negative of the electrode. Spark erosion is useful where milling or machining a part by traditional means would be difficult due to the tolerances involved, because the geometry of the finished part is awkward to machine, or where hard or difficult-to-machine alloys are to be used.
EDM hole drilling is used to drill deep, small diameter holes. These are either used in their own right or as starter holes for wire cutting.
Electro discharge machining is used in aerospace, mechanical engineering and medical device applications.
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