Hard Material Machining: Wire EDM & Spark EDM
Di-Spark manufacture world class, complex components. One of our major areas of expertise is hard material machining. Hard materials come in many guises but typically come under the categories of exotic alloys, chemically treated materials & heat treated materials. Di-Spark operate extensive 5 axis machining and multi-axis milling/turning cells – sporting the latest machining technologies – but even these advanced machining tools can struggle with some examples of hard material machining – particularly if the work-piece in question is small and complex with potentially thin walled characteristics. Material distortion under machining load can be an issue, amongst other concerns. This is where Electrical Discharge Machining comes into play.
Using EDM for Hard Material Machining
Electrical Discharge Machining uses an electrical discharge as the cutting edge – it’s a non-contact machining method – perfect for hard material machining. Di-Spark operate a ‘hard material machining service’ utilising electrical discharge machining for batch manufacture of components. The production plan can vary between components. In some cases the basic profile of the work-piece is machined by 5 axis machining or multi-axis mill-turn, with final operations taking place within the EDM cell. In this case the part may be subject to a ‘post-machining hardening process’ before the final EDM ‘ops.
In some cases, the component is manufactured in it’s entirety by EDM. This is typical of ultra hard materials such as tungsten based alloys – Tungsten Carbide for instance, and although a good supply of electrodes are required for such operations, the result is a very accurate, high quality part with a clean finish.
Spark & Wire Hard Material Machining
Di-Spark operate both Wire EDM and Spark EDM factory cells. These are housed adjacent to each other as it is commonplace for the 2 electrical discharge machining methods to work in unison. Wire EDM uses a wire as the electrode and Spark EDM uses electrodes which are manufactured on site, to spec, and these are ‘sunk’ into the workpiece – hence the nick name, Die Sink.
Typical Sectors That Benefit From EDM Hard Material Machining
Di-Spark have operated EDM since the 1970s, obtaining vast experience and knowledge in this area of machining, and continue to expand on this knowledge to this day. We serve sectors that require world-class hard material machining and hard wearing components, such as:
- Power Generation & Nuclear
- Oil & Gas
- Medical Devices
- Satellite & Space
- Severe Service Valves
- Noise Reduction Valves
- Cavitation Solution Control Valve Components
- Erosion Resistant Valve Components
- Beverage & High Pressure Installations
- Components for other high pressure, high heat or high noise environments
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