Electrical discharge machining is a process whereby metal is removed by burning rather than grinding or cutting. To do this, the work piece is submerged in liquid dielectric which would cause electrical discharges to rapidly go through the electrode or wire (cutting tool).
You can check out this link to learn more about liquid dielectric. This process is a widely used and accurate machining technique. It is used on metals that can conduct electricity as well as some ceramics. One of its advantageous points is that it can cut through both hardened and fragile parts without causing any form of dent or deformation in the process.
Sadly, this process is quite specialized and requires equipment that most machining companies may be unable to house. Hence, when the need arises for this technique, manufacturers have to contact an electrical discharge machining (EDM) service provider.
The provider will get the part that needs to undergo the process and do the job. The whole process seems easy and straight to the point. However, this may not be the case if the person that needs the service is not aware of certain factors that would enable them to select a service provider that would fit the requirements.
Hence, in this article, we will be discussing some of the things that should be considered when choosing an EDM service.
1. Material to be machined
EDM services often indicate the material types they can handle and specialize in. Luckily, EDM is not like other machining industries where materials’ mechanical properties are limited.
The major limitation this industry has is that materials being machined have to conduct electricity. The following are some of the materials that can be machined via this process:
- Stainless steel
This is another factor that you need to consider because not all services have the same capability when it comes to size. When we say sizing, we mean the part to be machined length.
Some companies are limited when it comes to the size they can handle. However, they would always specify their limitation as well as what they can handle. Most parts often range between 48 inches and not less than an inch.
Yet, some services may offer micromachining which means they can machine even quite small parts with this process.
3. Service Features
Again, most electrical discharge machining services would specify features that the service offers. The features would often tally with the service being offered.
Below are some of the features you may get:
- Reverse Engineering: If duplication or replication is important to you, then you may specifically seek a company that offers reverse engineering. With reverse engineering, your part can be easily duplicated or replicated for you.
- High Production Volume: Not all companies offer high production volume. When a company says they can do this, then it means they can make the parts in large quantities within a commendable timeframe.
- Low Production Volume: The same way a particular service will boast of a high production volume is the same way another service will specify low production volume. When this is offered, then it means your parts can be produced in low quantities while ensuring cost-efficiency.
- Design Assistance: If you aren’t sure of your design, then you may want to particularly look for a service that offers design assistance. What this means is that the company can offer assistance when it comes to concept, material considerations, manufacturing techniques, and even manufacturing costs. If your design needs redesigning, upgrading, or you even wish to modernize a product that already exists, some companies may help out.
- Prototype Services: Some services often offer prototypes. Meaning, they can build small quantities of the parts if you want to use them for functional testing and presentations.
All the factors listed so far have been based on the production criteria. However, once all those are properly accounted for, you need to start thinking about the cost. Ensure you get the cost estimate (quote) from the company you are considering.
Make sure the cost aligns with your budget and you won’t have to struggle with it. You can also get quotes from more than one or two companies (ensure they all fit the production requirements) and select the one which best suits you.
Do not pick a service that would give you substandard results. However, bear in mind that a higher cost doesn’t always mean you will get the best result, you can read this article https://teachbanzai.com/wellness/resources/quality-vs-cost comparing quality and cost to learn more about this.
The service’s location is very important due to both expenses and logistical reasons. When you choose a service that is too far away, you ultimately would have to spend more on shipping. Aside from the money you would have to spend, you might encounter some logistical complications.
This article discussed factors that should be considered before an EDM service is employed. While we have only mentioned 5 factors, there are other factors that you should look into personally such as the company’s reliability before you choose them.