Differences between Wire-Cut and Conventional EDM

Conventional EDM uses a tool to disperse the electric current. This tool, the cathode, runs along the metal piece, the anode, and the electrical current reacts to melt or vaporize the metal. As a result of the dielectric fluid, the little debris produced washes away from the piece. Wire cut EDM (or WCEDM) discharges the electrified current by means of a thin wire, which acts as the cathode and is guided alongside the desired cutting path, or kerf. A dielectric fluid submerges the wire and work piece, filtering and directing the sparks. The thin wire allows precision cuts, with kerfs as wide as three inches and a positioning accuracy of +/- 0.0002”. This heightened precision allows for complex, three dimensional cuts, and produces highly accurate punches, dies, and stripper plates.

Wire cut EDM equipment is run by computer numerically controlled (CNC) instruments, which can control the wire on a three-dimensional axis to provide greater flexibility, whereas conventional EDM cannot always produce tight corners or very intricate patterns. Wire EDM’s increased precision allows for intricate patterns and cuts.

Additionally, wire EDM is able to cut metals as thin as 0.004”. At a certain thickness, wire EDM will simply cause the metal to evaporate, thereby eliminating potential debris. The wire of a WCEDM unit emits sparks on all sides, which means the cut must be thicker than the wire itself. In other words, because the wire is surrounded by a ring of current, the smallest and most precise cutting path possible is the added diameter of the ring and wire; technicians easily account for this added dimension.

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