When it comes to manufacturing metal parts for machinery, particularly heavy-duty machinery, the use of EDM is indispensable. It can cut, mill, and shape metals with high accuracy and precision.
Two unique types of EDM machines are those that use conventional electrode-discharge machining (EDM) or wire EDM methods. The former uses a spark as a cutting mechanism. In contrast, the latter uses an electrical wire that wraps around the metal before shooting electricity through it to burn away even small sections to leave behind a particular pattern.
Both conventional and wire EDMs have their pros and cons, but whether you choose one over another will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Here are their main advantages.
Advantages of Wire EDM
1. Allows More Accurate Cutting
This particular type of machine uses wire instead of the electrode, so it can cut with greater accuracy and precision because the wire doesn’t wear away quickly as electrodes do. Because the wire EDM machine from FANUC cuts by wrapping wire around the metal part, there’s no need for cables to get larger or thicker since the wire size determines their cutting depth. Therefore, it’s able to cut on a diverse range of materials with different thicknesses, so you don’t have to worry about choosing the wrong wire or having them wear down too quickly.
2. Works Well on All Types of Metals
Wire EDM machines are also capable of cutting through a range of metal types without a great deal of effort since they can handle both ferrous and non-ferrous metals and plastics and rubber that aren’t suitable for conventional EDM machines. In addition, this type is also more versatile than the conventional one since you’re not restricted in terms of machine widths and heights, which means you can cut long pieces instead of just small ones if needed.
3. Can be Used Anywhere
There’s no need to worry about dust or moisture with wire-EDMs because as long as the part is mounted, you’re able to cut on any surface, whether it’s oily, dusty, or sticky. This particular machine can even handle submerged parts than conventional ones cannot.
4. Can Work Without an Operator
Another advantage of wire EDM over conventional one is that it doesn’t require a highly skilled operator who continually monitors its progress and adjusts the process for best results. This means if you want to save time and money by hiring less-experienced workers instead, they’ll still be able to get the job done without too much trouble. Since all they have to do is pull a few levers or push a few buttons without additional training.
5. Able to Be Used For All Applications
Since wire EDM machines can cut both ferrous and non-ferrous metals and plastics, they’re able to handle just about any application you need them for, whether it’s construction work or heavy industrial processes. This means that there’s no need to purchase separate machines for different materials because one will do the job on its own.
6. Low Initial Investment Cost
Wire-EDMs turn out to be more financially responsible than conventional EDM types since you’ll only have to pay for the machine once rather than several times after each use due to frequent repairs or new wires etc. In addition, wire-EDMs can even reduce the cost of your workpieces since they don’t require too many passes to complete the cut.
7. Operators are Less Likely to Get Hurt
Since wire-EDMs work by wrapping a wire around metal parts, so there’s no risk of anyone getting shocked by sparks or dust particles, operators can feel safe operating them without any dangers at all. Furthermore, this type of machine is much safer than conventional ones because you’re not constantly worrying about electrode wires breaking or flying into eyes, therefore cutting down on potential hazards that could lead to accidents and injuries.
Advantages of Conventional EDM
1. Able to Cut More Rigid Material
One notable advantage conventional EDM has over wire EDMs, particularly for cutting steel, is that it can work on materials with higher hardness levels. That’s because the thickness of their wires restricts wire EDMs. This limits them to working with metals that range from 3mm and up. On the other hand, conventional EDM machines can work on hard metals with a thickness of around 45mm (1 1/2 inches).
2. Requires Less Operator Involvement
This type of machine doesn’t require as much attention as wire-EDMs do since you only need to monitor it for a few seconds during the entire process rather than continuously adjusting the wire.
3. Works Well on Intricate Parts
Another benefit of conventional EDM over wire-EDM is that it can work with intricately designed pieces, including cast items and dies, which can be a problem for wire-EDMs because their wires might snap when trying to cut through the grooves.
4. Not as Expensive
Since conventional EDM doesn’t require a great deal from you in terms of ongoing maintenance, it also costs less than its counterparts because you won’t have to pay for repairs or new materials after each use. In addition, the cost of initial purchase is much lower since it only requires several pneumatic components instead of all these additional accessories like an electrical generator, water pump, and wire drive mechanisms.
5. Saves Time
Conventional EDM can be a time-saver since it offers a higher production rate, particularly when you need to process a considerable number of materials. However, material removal rates tend to vary from medium to slow because it has lower operating speeds.
6. Easy to Use
Since conventional EDMs are pneumatic machines with relatively fewer parts, it becomes easy for you to learn how to operate them. Another advantage of this type of machine is that they don’t require much technical know-how, so if an expert isn’t available on your site, you can still get the job done with ease.
Wire EDM is without a doubt a superior type of EDM machine when it comes to cutting metal, both in terms of accuracy and safety, making it the ideal choice for businesses that need to complete large-scale projects. In addition, wire-EDMs are also better valued for money due to their durable construction and low cost per cut ratios. Therefore, if you’re looking for a way to improve your business’ efficiency and productivity, then there’s no doubt that this particular type of EDM machine will deliver on all fronts with ease.