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An Overview of the Wire EDM Process

Posted by Mike Sterling

Sep 1, 2023 2:36:59 AM

Wire electrical discharge machining (EDM) is a manufacturing process that utilizes electric discharges, or sparks, to remove material from a conductive metal workpiece. Because it can cut a variety of complex shapes and designs, parts manufacturers across numerous industries use wire EDM. This blog will dive deeper into the wire EDM process, including its key benefits and applications, as well as how Ardel Engineering can meet your needs with quality wire EDM services.

Understanding the Wire EDM Process

Wire EDM is a relatively simple process that begins by placing the conductive metal workpiece into a dielectric fluid bath and securing it with a vise. A wire is fed through the submerged workpiece, and an electric current is sent through the part to generate the sparks that will be used to cut the desired shape.

As the space between the two electrodes (the wire and the workpiece) becomes smaller, the strength of the electric field increases which subsequently increases the strength of the dielectric fluid. This causes the electric charge to jump the gap between the electrodes and melt small pieces of the metal workpiece away. 

When the desired shape is achieved, manufacturers can use the dielectric liquid to remove leftover material from the finished product in a process known as flushing.

Benefits And Applications of Wire EDM

Wire EDM cutting offers various advantages, making it a popular manufacturing method for numerous applications. It offers the following benefits:

  • Little or no heat stress is applied to the part, providing a distortion-free surface.
  • The workpiece requires no secondary processing or thermal treatments.
  • It can accommodate materials of various hardness.
  • The process can be automated to reduce the risk of workpiece damage.
  • It provides precision cuts without exerting strong cutting forces.

Wire EDM Applications & Industries

Wire EDM cutting is ideal for manufacturing molds and dies, including blanking punches and extrusion dies. The process is well-suited for everything from prototypes to complete production runs, and it is primarily utilized to produce various metal tools and components that require low residual stress levels. As such, common industries that use wire EDM include electronics, aerospace, and automotive manufacturing.

Advantages of Working With Ardel for Wire EDM

When you partner with Ardel for your wire EDM needs, you gain access to the following benefits:

  • Increased Production Efficiency.Wire EDM electrodes use 0.03 to 0.35 mm wires to deliver optimal precision. Our expert processing engineers can set up and complete wire EDM projects with a fast turnaround, all while ensuring tight tolerances and delivering parts without deformation or burrs. Our wire EDM process can produce a part in a single step, reducing time and costs, and enhancing production efficiency.
  • Low-Stress Cutting.Hard materials often require high force or impact to cut, which may cause deformation due to stress, as well as rapid cutting tool wear. Wire EDM does not use a physical tool to cut the workpiece and can cut materials of any hardness as long as they are conductive. Wire EDM does not produce high impact or stress, meaning it can cut even very thin materials without bending or warping them.
  • Material Compatibility.Wire EDM can easily cut conductive metals of varying hardness, from soft copper to harder materials like tungsten. Hardness does not affect the process, allowing wire EDM to cut a range of conductive metals, including material that has undergone processes like heat treating. The resulting product is free from defects and deformations caused by heat treating the product after cutting.
  • Wide Range of Shapes.Wire EDM can deliver a range of complex and intricate shapes with high precision and a low Ra surface roughness.

Wire EDM Manufacturing Services From Ardel Engineering

Wire EDM is a highly beneficial process that is popular amongst manufacturers across numerous industries. To ensure a quality end product, it’s important to partner with an expert wire EDM provider. At Ardel Engineering, we have over 40 years of experience delivering precision wire EDM services for industries such as aerospace, commercial manufacturing, and medical. We are ISO 9001:2015 certified to ensure we provide the highest quality products that meet our customers’ exact requirements.

For more information about our wire EDM capabilities, contact us or request a quote today.