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Electrical Discharge Machining

Fundamentals of EDM
The process dates back to WW I & II when work as well
as substantial tool material was removed due to manual
feeding of electrode.
Later vibratory electrodes were used to control inter
electrode gap.
Two Russian scientists developed R-C circuit and servo
controller.
The Die sinking version of EDM was developed
sometime in 1940s.
The process modeling involves understanding of
complex hydrodynamic and thermodynamic behavior of
the fluid.

Fundamentals of EDM
Preparation Phase

Phase of Discharge

Interval Phase

Fundamentals of EDM
Voltage Current curves (Free, Normal, Stationary
located, and Short circuit discharges)
General observations
Difficult to start the process with very clean
dielectric
Firing of high current discharges at same voltage is
easy in contaminated dielectric
New ignition opt to ignite in prior discharge regions
Greater ignition preferences in more contaminated
regions

Fundamentals of EDM
DC pulses of appropriate shape, frequency and duty cycle
are used. This is used even for motor control now-a-days.
Frequency is ~ 100,000 Hz.
Spark is initiated at the peak between the contacting surfaces
and exists only momentarily. Spark temp is 12,000 C. Metal
as well as dielectric will evaporate at this intense localized
heat. A crater is caused by both due to the local evaporation
as well as the vapor action.
Vapor quenches and next spark it at another narrow place.
Thus, spark wanders throughout the surface making uniform
metal removal for the desired finish.

Fundamentals of EDM
Material removal in EDM is based on erosion effect.
Several theories have been proposed:
Electro-mechanical theory: electric field force exceeds the
cohesive force of lattice.
Thermo-mechanical theory: Melting of material by flame-jets.
Thermo-electric theory: Generation of extremely high
temperature due to high intensity discharge current.

Fundamentals of EDM

Debris and Bubble particles generated


by single spark
Debris gathering at Bubble boundary

Fundamentals of EDM
Large number of Spherical particles with few nonspherical particles
Spherical particles are rich in workpiece material
and non-spherical particles are rich in tool material
Understanding of Erosion Mechanism and Oxide
free power production
Important parameters affecting Debris morphology
are
Current

Voltage
Pulse On-time
Capacitance

Input Energy

Fundamentals of EDM
Micro analysis reveals that there is movement of
material from workpiece to cathode and vice-versa
Normal distribution of particle size (Stochastic nature)
Structures of Debris Large Size & Small Size
Hollow & Solid Debris
Satellite structure
Hollow Spheres
Dents
Burnt Cores

Fundamentals of EDM
Microanalysis of Debris Low Energy
Densely populated,
Small diameter, solid
particles

a)Dendrite structure; b)Solid


sphere; c)Satellite formation;
d) Non-spherical particles

Fundamentals of EDM
Larger population of
hollow satellites with
dents, surface cracks, and
burnt core

a)Debris structure, b)Hollow sphere,


c)Dendrite structure, d)Satellite with
dent formation, e)Dent formation

Fundamentals of EDM
Effect of Tool Rotation.
Results in fine debris particles and improved process
stability.

Effect of Ultrasonic Vibrations.


Larger particles
Large number of particles with spherical geometry
More uniformity of spherical and non-spherical
particles
Uniform mixing of materials
More collision between debris particles

Fundamentals of EDM

Fundamentals of EDM
A series of voltage
pulses of magnitude
about 20 to 120 V and
frequency on the order
of 5 kHz is applied
between the two
electrodes, which are
separated by a small
gap, typically 0.01 to
0.5 mm.
When using RC
generators, the voltage
pulses are responsible
for material removal.

Breakdown of dielectric during one cycle


Temperatures
of about 8000
to 12,000 C
and heat fluxes
up to 1017
W/m2 are
attained during
process

Breakdown of dielectric during one cycle


Explosion and
implosion action of
dielectric

EDM performance
measures such as
material removal
rate, electrode tool
wear, and surface
finish, for the same
energy, depends
on the shape of the
current pulses.

Voltage and Current characteristics


Types of pulses
Effect of pulses
Pulse classification systems
Data acquisition and classification

EDM Schematics

Components of EDM

Tool Wear and Tool Materials


Graphite is
suitable material
with good
electrical
conductivity and
machinability
Copper
WCu and WAg
Brass

Corner wear ratio

Flushing

The main functions of the dielectric fluid are to


1. Flush the eroded particles from the machining gap
2. Provide insulation between the electrode and the workpiece
3. Cool the section that was heated by the discharging effect
The main requirements of the EDM dielectric fluids are adequate
viscosity, high flash point, good oxidation stability, minimum odor,
low cost, and good electrical discharge efficiency

Parameters affecting EDM performance

Erosion Rate and Surface Finish

Effect of Pulse Current and Pulse on time

EDM hazards

Process Stability
Indication of constantly moving spark

Importance of Debris content in inter-electrode


gap
Discharge conduction through debris chain
Effect on surface cracks
Process stability primarily depends on discharge
transitivity rather than breakdown strength
Absence of Debris can be one of the causes of
arching

Processing and Response


parameters
Electrode material
Accuracy and finish of electrode manufacture
Current/ voltage
Frequency
Pulse width

Operating parameters
Current and voltage: As
the voltage drops from A to
B, the current increases
because of the negative
voltage-current
relationship. At C, current
is interrupted, and voltage
goes to zero and reverses
to D; but since there is no
break down in opposite
direction, no current
reversal takes place. The
voltage now returns to
zero and waits for the next
pulse.

Operating parameters
The energy dissipated in the
system is voltage times current
times time, it remains fairly
constant.
At A energy is zero.
B represents the power going to
the work.
C, D, E and F represent traces
at where there are either voltage or
current is zero, hence no power.
In section B voltage times current
is nearly constant, indicates a
constant input of power during a
current pulse.

Operating parameters
In the inter electrode gap, there is
a mixture of electrons, ions, and
neutral atoms in the gaseous
form.
Cathode supplies electrons for the
flow of current so should be
enough to emit the electrons, also
positive ions in front of cathode
provide a pulling force.
Cathode material also matters
Cu is a low melting point alloy so it
melts (at 1083 C) and emits
electrons by heat and electric
field.
Graphite, W, Mo emit electrons at
the temperatures below there
melting points hence are more
stable as cathode.

Operating parameters
Resistance to the flow of current is higher near the electrodes.
The voltage drop near cathode is smaller as compared to that
of anode. It helps electrons in achieving high speed to ionize
the gases near cathode.
Cathode voltage drop ranges from 12V for Cu to 25V for
graphite.
The plasma generated is at 6000 to 10,0000 C.
(+) ions and electrons (-), due to the mass difference ions move
slowly therefore, 95% of the current is carried by electrons.
The electrons and ions provide major power input to the
cathode and anode surfaces.
When the current is high, evaporation of material from anode
occurs, the stream of atoms coming out of anode surface
interferes with the electrons going to the anode.
Some ions get ionized at the near anode drop but the electrons
get additional energy to cause more vaporization of anode.

Operating parameters
Straight polarity: in which
electrode is usually a
cathode (-). Here, work
surface energy can be
controlled by controlling the
current so that anode drop
energy provides proper wear
and desired surface finish.
Reverse polarity: in which
electrode anode (+) and
work (-), in which rough cut
higher cutting rates can be
obtained with virtually no
electrode wear.

Operating parameters
Electrode rotating:
Improves flushing
difficulties with speed of
about 200 rpm max. It
provides better surface
finish.
Electrode orbiting:
Electrode does not rotate
but revolve in an orbit.
Orbiting need not be
restricted to round shape.
Both actions reduce
electrode wear as it gets
distributed uniformly.

Operating parameters
No Wear EDM: It is defined as the condition when the electrode
to work wear ratio is 1% or less.
Effect of arc duration: Melting depth is a function of arc duration
for a circular non expanding heat source.
The maximum melting depth occurs at different durations for
different materials subjected to same energy. The melting depth
reaches a peak value with an increase in arc duration, it reduces
with further increase in the arc duration.
Thus, it should be possible to choose an arc duration which
maximizes the work erosion while holding the electrode to some
lesser value.
In Cu and steel system, at the arc duration suitable for maximum
melting of steel, the melting of Cu is at the minimum.

Operating parameters
Electrode polarity: The energy distribution between anode
and cathode is a function of
ratio of electron current to ion current at cathode
Physical constant (work function) of the cathode material.
In Cu as cathode current density decreases, the electron to ion
current ratio also decreases. As the arc duration increases, the energy
delivered to the gap concentrates at the cathode. Therefore, the
electrode must be of positive duration if long arc durations are used
to achieve the no-wear condition.

Electrode coating is observed in Cu-steel system.


Coating of electrodes with thin black film of carbon which has erosion
resistance and tend to reduce electrode wear.

Processing and Response parameters


Effect of Current

As current increases, the depth and width of the crater becomes


larger. So also the MRR. But this may result in rough surface.
However, this can be used to our advantages to obtain matty
surface.

Processing and Response parameters


Effect of Frequency

As frequency increases, the depth and width of the crater becomes smaller
although the MRR may not be affected as there will be more craters per unit
time. However, frequency has a limit since initiation of spark requires certain
minimum time required for the breakdown of the dielectric. Similarly the
spark needs some time to quench. In principle, one should operate as high a
freq as possible.

Processing and Response parameters


Effect of Voltage

Gap
Voltage
Current
Current
Gap

Voltage
Current
MRR
Accuracy & finish
Poor flow of dielectric.

Processing and Response parameters


Effect on fatigue Life
A layer of resolidified metal of 0.002
0.050 mm thick remains on the
surface. This may flake off during
cyclic loading. When high fatigue life
is required, this layer must be
removed on a subsequent operation
such as chemical etching.

Machine Construction

EDM process Variations


Content Percentage

50
40
30
20
10
0
1
Group Number

3
Normal Discharge
Open Circuit
Abnormal Discharge

Group Number

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3

Planetary Motion

Yes

No

No

Debris Layer

Yes

Yes

No

Input Voltage

15mV

15mV

15mV

EDM process Variations


Modern controllers uses gap controlling strategy to
control debris
Dielectric flushing (injection, suction, & electrode
jump)
Jet sweeping
Rotary Electrode/workpiece method.

Without
Rotation

With
Rotation

EDM process Variations


Magnetic Assistance

Use of Magnetic field

1(05A,20s), 2( 20A,350s)

Magnetic force used to change path of debris motion.


Magnets attached on plates rotating under machining
zone
Magnetic force is useful not only at low energy but also at
high energy inputs

EDM process Variations


Vibration Assistance

Condition of Adhesion

Debris removal and Sparking

The combined process of EDM with USM had the potential to prevent
debris accumulation, improve machining efficiency, and modify the
machined surface.

Dielectric Fluid Desirable properties


Break down characteristic: Non-conducting until breakdown
and very high conduction through rapid ionization just after
breakdown.
High latent heat
to minimize evaporation
to contain the spark in a narrow region for localized
sparking
Low viscosity for ease of flow
Efficiency as coolant. It is kerosene or water.

Dielectric Fluid
Functions of Dielectric Fluid
It acts as an insulator until sufficiently high potential is
reached .
Acts as a coolant medium and reduces the extremely high
temp. in the arc gap.
More importantly, the dielectric fluid is pumped through
the arc gap to flush away the eroded particles between
the work piece and the electrode which is critical to high
metal removal rates and good machining conditions.

Dielectric Fluid
Work Material Fluid Medium
Aluminum
Brass
Mild Steel
Stainless
steel
Tool steel
Tungsten
Carbide

Hydrocarbon oil
or glycerin-water
(90:10)

Mineral oil

Application

Submerged

Dielectric Fluid
Dielectric fluids: should have very high flash point and very
low viscosity.
Petroleum based hydrocarbons
Silicon fluids mixture with petroleum oils for machining of titanium,
high MRR and good SF.
Kerosene, water-in oil emulsion, distilled water.

Cooling of dielectric is required sometimes while cutting with


high amperage can be done by using heat exchangers.
Filtering of dielectric is necessary to filter out 2 5 m
particles.

Dielectric Fluid
Insulation and conduction: Insulating characteristic is
measured by the maximum voltage that can be applied
before ionization.
Cooling: ability to resolidify vaporized material into chips ,
thermal transfer capability.
Flushing: Sufficiently viscous to pass through a small gap
&remove debris.
Methods of fluid
application

Normal flow
Reverse flow
Jet flushing
Immersion flushing

Workpiece and Tool Material


Electrode Materials Applications
Brass

High Accuracy for most metals

Copper

Smooth finish
Low accuracy for holes

Zinc Alloys

Commonly used for steel, forging


cavities

Copper-Graphite

General Purpose work

Steel

Used for nonferrous metals

Copper Tungsten

High accuracy for detail work

Graphite

Large volume/fine details


Low wear
Excellent machinability

Workpiece and Tool Material


Tool electrodes transport current to the work surface.
Graphite
Coarse (for large volume) or fine (for fine finish).
Normally used for steel provides large MRR/A as compared to
other metallic electrodes.
When used for WC, deposits of carbon on work leads to flow of
current without ionization of dielectric and hence arcing. High
density, fine particles preferred.
Average surface finish using graphite electrodes:0.5 m Ra.

Copper Graphite
For rough and finish machining of WC.

Workpiece and Tool Material


Copper
When smoothest surface finish is required.
In no-wear mode, copper works best under low ampere and long
spark times.
Tellurium increases the machinability of copper.
Free machining brass is used for making complex shaped
electrodes.
Copper tungsten (70% W) for fine detail and high-precision EDM.
High density, strength, thermal and electrical conductivity.

Tungsten
Tungsten carbide is used for cutting steel and WC.
Small holes of deeper dimensions.

Workpiece and Tool Material


Electrical conductivity
Less wear due to the spark
(Low rw)
Good machinability

Tool
Brass
Brass
Brass

W/P
Brass
Hard C.S.
WC

rw
0.5
1.0
3.0

Good surface finish on w/p

Loss of material from the tool


Wear ratio rw =
Loss of material from the work piece
rw increases with material hardness and decreases with the
increase in melting point of the tool material.

Advantages

Any material that is electrically conductive can be cut


Hardened work pieces can be machined eliminating the
deformation caused by heat treatment.
Complex dies sections and molds can be produced
accurately, faster, and at lower costs.
The EDM process is burr-free.
Thin fragile sections such as webs or fins can be easily
machined without deforming the part.

Disadvantages
High specific energy consumption (about 50 times that in
conventional machining)
When force circulation of dielectric is not possible,
removal rate is quite low
Surface tends to be rough for larger removal rates
EDM process is not applicable to non-conducting
materials

Applications
Mold and die making, slowly becoming a production
process.
Machining of difficult-to-machine materials.
Miniature and fragile parts that can not withstand the force
of conventional cutting. Holes of 0.05 mm, slots of 0.3 mm
As EDM is a very slow process, it can be justified only
where the hardness is too high or the features cannot be
realized by other means.
Tool making: sharp corners, small features, deep features
etc. With the advent of hard cutting tools, full sinking is out
of fashion.
Removal of broken drills or fasteners
Deep hole drilling of small holes. Eg.: turbine blades, fuel
injection nozzles, inkjet printer head etc.

Wire-EDM

Wire EDM
This process is similar to contour cutting with a band saw.
Slow moving wire travels along a prescribed path, cutting the
work piece with discharge sparks.
Wire should have sufficient tensile strength and fracture
toughness.
Wire is made of brass, copper or tungsten. (about 0.25mm in
diameter).

Wire EDM
Process
Thin wire of as low as 0.03mm
dia is used as the tool.
For through features dies for
punching, blanking and piercing;
templates and profile gauges;
extruder screws etc.
Taper also possible
Upto 4 axes available.
Water is the common di-electric

WEDM machine classification

WEDM Process
Machining of hard and complex shapes with Sharp
corners.
Risk of wire breakage and bending has undermined the
full potential of the process drastically reducing the
efficiency and accuracy of the WEDM operation
WEDM utilizes a continuously travelling wire electrode
made of thin copper, brass or tungsten of diameter 0.05
0.3 mm, which is capable of achieving very small corner
radii
The material is eroded ahead of the wire and there is no
direct contact between the workpiece and the wire,
eliminating the mechanical stresses during machining
Machining of EXOTIC and HSTR alloys

WEDM Process
The material removal mechanism of WEDM is very similar
to the conventional EDM process involving the erosion
effect produced by the electrical discharges (sparks)
The WEDM process makes use of electrical energy
generating a channel of plasma between the cathode and
anode, and turns it into thermal energy at a temperature in
the range of 800012,000 C or as high as 20,000 C
A varying degree of taper ranging from15 degree for a
100 mm thick to 30 degree for a 400 mm thick workpiece
can also be obtained on the cut surface.
The microprocessor also constantly maintains the gap
between the wire and the workpiece, which varies
from0.025 to 0.05 mm

WEDM Process

Number of passes are required to achieve the required


degree of accuracy and surface finish
Dry WEDM (in gas) to achieve the high degree of surface
finish
The typical WEDM cutting rates (CRs) are 300 mm2/min for
a 50 mm thick D2 tool steel and 750 mm2/min for a 150 mm
thick aluminium , and SF quality is as fine as 0.040.25
Ra
The deionised water is not suitable for conventional EDM
as it causes rapid electrode wear, but its low viscosity and
rapid cooling rate make it ideal for WEDM

Hybrid WEDM Process

WEDG machining of fine rods used in electronic circuits;


machining of electrodes as small as 5 micron in diameter
advantages of WEDG include the ability to machine a rod
with a large aspect ratio, maintaining the concentricity of
the rod and providing a wider choice of complex shapes
such as tapered and stepped shapes at various sections.
Ultrasonic Vibrations to wire to improve surface finish and
cutting ratios
Wire electrochemical grinding

WEDM Applications
Modern tooling applications - wafering of silicon and machining
of compacting dies made of sintered carbide
For dressing a rotating metal bond diamond wheel used for the
precision form grinding of ceramics
Advanced ceramic materials other common machining
processes for machining ceramics are diamond grinding and
lapping.
Machining of boron carbide and silicon carbide
MRR and surface roughness depends on processing parameters
as well as workpiece material
Machining of naturally
non-conductor by doping with
conducting material
Machining of modern composite materials
MMC and carbon fiber polymers

Major Research issues


WEDM process optimization
Factors affecting performance measures pulse duration, discharge
frequency and discharge current intensity
Cutting ratio Factors affecting CR are properties of the workpiece
material and dielectric fluid, machine characteristics, adjustable
machining parameters, and component geometry. Use of DOE, ANN.
It was found that the machining parameters such as the pulse on/off
duration, peak current, open circuit voltage, servo reference voltage,
electrical capacitance and table speed are the critical parameters for the
estimation of the CR and SF.
MRR - discharge current, pulse duration and pulse frequency are the
significant control factors affecting the MRR and SF, while the wire
speed, wire tension and dielectric flow rate have the least effect
Surface finish all the electrical parameters have a significant effect on
the surface finish

Major research issues


Wire EDM process monitoring and control
Fuzzy control system - proportional controls were used traditionally
control the gap. Conventional control algorithms based on explicit
mathematical and statistical models have been developed for EDM or
WEDM operations
Pulse discrimination system
Knowledge system
Ignition delay based system
Wire breakage - rapid rise in frequency is observed before wire
breaks; control strategy to switch off the generator at high frequency,
localized high temperature causes wire breakage, excessive thermal
force
Wire material breakage and fracture
Wire lag and wire vibrations- plasma and material erosion forces,
hydraulic forces due to dielectric flow

Applications

The common applications of WEDM include the fabrication of the


stamping and extrusion tools and dies, fixtures and gauges,
prototypes, aircraft and medical parts, and grinding wheel form
tools.

END

Micro-EDM processes

71

Outline

Principle of EDM process


Characteristics of EDM process
Control of Discharge location
Micro-manufacturing
Scope of micromachining
Classification of micromachining processes
Role of micro-EDM in micromachining
Micro-reverse EDM
Research issues in micro-EDM related processes
Experiments I micro-reverse EDM
Future of micromachining

72

Electrode gap monitoring and control


10 MHz

Mathematical adaptive control theory


Advances in computer technology and advanced algorithms for machine control
(Artificial intelligence, ANN)
73

Micro-Manufacturing - What is it?


Manufacture of products with the following features:

about 100 m to about 10 mm in size


contain very complex 3-D (free-form) surfaces
employ a wide range of engineering materials
possess extremely high relative accuracies in the 10-3 to 10-5 range

70 m - Human Hair
25 m - Characters

Micro-milling
Fanuc - Japan

Zeiss - Germany
Micro-parts

Micro-structures manufactured by micro-SLA


Japan

Klocke Nanotechnik
Micro-Motor

Micro-EDM
NTU - Taiwan

74

Why Miniaturization?
Minimizing energy and materials used for the
manufacture of devices
Integration with electronics; simplifying systems
Cost/performance advantages
Faster devices
Increased selectivity and sensitivity
Drawback-Size effect in mechanical micromachining

75

Scope of micromachining processes


MICRO MACHINING
Micro

Machining

Removal of material at micro level


Macro components but material removal is at micro/nano level
Micro/nano components and material removal is at micro/nano level

Definition
Material removal is micro/nano level
with no constraint on the size of the
component

Unfortunately, the
present day notion is

Machining of highly miniature


components with miniature
features NOT CORRECT
76

Classification of micromachining processes


FABRICATION

Macro-fabrication
Hybrid
Processes

Micro-fabrication
Micro-machining

Mechanical -
machining

Beam energy based


- machining

-nano finishing

Chem. & EC -
machining

USM

EBM

PCMM

AJM

LBM

ECMM

AWJM

EDM

WJM

IBM
PBM

Micromachining processes
Energy Used

Principle

Processes and Features

Mechanical
Force

Material removal via highly


concentrated force

Cutting, grinding, sandblasting.


UR ~ 100 nm, edge radius<1 m

Melting and
vaporization

Material removal via melting


and/or vaporization and
debris by high pressure gas

EDM, LBM, EBM. Small UR by


reduced the pulse energy,
concentration of energy via ultra
short pulse duration and/or sharply
focused beam by optics

Ablation

Decomposition of atoms
using incident photon energy
or direct vaporization of
material via high energy
pulses

Excimer/Femto second laser. High


dimensional accuracy, less HAZ but
low machining speed and high cost
of equipment

Solidification

Liquid or paste is solidified in


a mold and shape of the mold
is replicated

Injection molding, die casting, etc.


curing may be required after molding
and porosity
78

Micromachining processes
Energy Used

Principle

Processes and Features

Dissolution

Chemical or electrochemical
reaction based ionic
dissolution

Chemical, PCM and ECM. Small UR,


negligible force. Inter-electrode gap,
flow of electrolyte influences
accuracy

Plastic
Deformation

Shape of the product


specified by die/punch/mold

Micro-punching, extrusion, etc.


No UR is involved, high speed,
spring-back and difficulties in die or
mold making

Lamination

Material in solid powder or


liquid form is solidified layerby-layer.

Stereolithography, internal as well as


external profiles can be formed
easily.

79

Role of EDM in micromachining


Non-contact machining
3D machining
Physical characteristics such as hardness, brittleness
dose not affect the process
Use of deionized water as dielectric
Absence of Size Effect

80

Comparison of EDM and micro-EDM


The

Resistance

Capacitance

Relaxation

(RC-

relaxation) circuit used in EDM is replaced by the RCpulse circuit in micro-EDM.


In the RC-relaxation circuit, current and gap voltage
are controlled at a pre-defined level throughout the
pulse on-time but in modeling attempts in microEDM based on RC pulse circuits, the current and
voltage are frequently assumed to be constant.
On the other hand, in a single discharge of RC-pulse
generator, the voltage and current are not
maintained to any pre-defined level but depend
upon the capacitor charge state at any instant.
E = V I Duty cycle
E = CV^2

81

Comparison of EDM and micro-EDM


EDM

Micro-EDM
Circuitry Elements

RC relaxation type
Single spark process
Forced process for constant voltage
and current
User defined pulse on time

RC single pulse discharge


Single spark process
Single capacitance discharge, no
const V and I
No control gap characteristics

Scaling Effects
Interelectrode gap is 10s of m
Low efficiency

Interelectrode gap is 1-5 m


High efficiency

Typical single spark crater

82

Micro-analysis of Debris
Large number of Spherical particles with few nonspherical particles
Spherical particles are rich in workpiece material and
non-spherical particles are rich in tool material
Understanding of Erosion Mechanism and Oxide free
power production
Important parameters affecting Debris morphology are
Current

Voltage
Pulse On-time
Capacitance

Input Energy

Micro-analysis of Debris
Micro analysis reveals that there is movement of material from
workpiece to cathode and vice-versa
Normal distribution of particle size (Stochastic nature)
Structures of Debris
Large Size & Small Size
Hollow & Solid Debris
Satellite structure
Hollow Spheres
Dents
Burnt Cores

Low Energy

High Energy

EDM process stability


Effect of Tool Rotation
Effect of Ultrasonic Vibrations
Effect of workpiece-tool material
combination
Effect of polarity
PMEDM
Effect of dielectric

How will you measure?


Ignition delay time

Group Number

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Planetary Motion

Yes

No

No

External material layer

Yes

Yes

No

Micro-EDM process stability


Indication of constantly moving spark
Importance of eroded material in inter-electrode gap
Discharge conduction through debris chain
Effect on surface cracks
Process stability primarily depends on discharge transitivity
rather than breakdown strength Yo et al.
Absence of metallic particles can be one of the causes of arching

1 Low energy
2 High Energy

Variants of micro-EDM

Figure : Micro rods machining processes

Process

Capability

Limitation

BEDG

Min. 3 m diameter electrode, maximum 10


aspect ratio, 0.6 Ra surface finish

Only single electrodes can be machined

Micro-WEDG

Min. 5 m diameter electrode, maximum 10


aspect ratio, 0.8 Ra surface finish

Cylindrical electrodes as well as arrayed


electrodes cant be machined

Micro-WEDM

Best results obtained are 10x10 square array (23


m width, 700 m height), minimum machining
size achievable is 20 m, surface finish 0.07-0.35
m Ra, and maximum aspect ratio 100

Cylindrical arrayed structures cant be


machined

Diamond milling

micro tower of 1 mm in height and 25 m square

Mechanical process involves machining


87
87
stresses

Research issues in micro-EDM


Micro-EDM Research Areas
Handling

Electrode

Electrode and
workpiece
preparation

Machining
Process

Off-machine electrode
preparation

Parts
Drilling,
threading
holes (WEDM)

Process
Parameters

Mfg. Micro 3D
electrode

Stationery
block

Machine

Surface
quality
Dimensions

Electrode

Electrode
wear and
machining
strategies

Guided
running wire

Uniform wear
method

Sources of
Errors

Jigs and
Fixture

On-machine electrode
Rotating Disk

Measurement

Multi
electrode

Z-compensation

Wear
monitoring
system
88

Applications
Machining of mould and die in high strength materials (Carbides,
die steel, conducting ceramics) Recently replaced by high speed
milling process
Chemical aspects of EDM
Production of fine particle powders
RESA (for ultrafine powders)- Reactive Electrode Submerged Arc EDM
Diamond like carbon and nano-tubes (solidification of evaporated
material)
Large amount of energy is consumed in the chemical action during EDM
Supplying oxygen can enhance the MRR during the process

89

Machining of arrayed micro-structures by REDM


Reverse replication of

aa) Normal EDM

Bulk Rod

ab) Reverse EDM

Micro-rods

Figure : Working of micro and reverse micro EDM processes

Figure : a) array of 4 microrod machined, b) plate used as


a tool during machining

arrayed hole on the


plate electrode to the
bulk material by change
in the polarity
Machined
structures
have a dimensions
equal to the original
dimension of pocket
minus
interelectrode
gap
Important
operating
parameters are voltage ,
capacitance, threshold,
and the feed

90

Machining of arrayed micro-structures by REDM


Problem Statement : Machining of high aspect ratio arrayed
microstructures by micro reverse EDM process.

Figure : set up of the micro-REDM process

91

Applications of micro-REDM
Applications

Mechanical

MEMS

Biomedical

Micromachining
As a electrode in
arrayed
hole/cavity
machining
Mask preparation
As a tool for generating
stable plasma

Arrayed holes for passing


wires in MEMS devices
Thin wall structures as a
cooling devices in MEMS
system
Shaft for micro robots
micro actuator

As a interface device for


capturing neural signals
Brain neural activity
recording
Arrayed microholes as a
spray nozzels in the
biotechnology applications
Microneedels- syringe
Holding sights for the
testing reagents

Heat Exchanging
Hexagonal and thin wall
structures
Automobile
Micronozzels

92

Components fabricated by micro-REDM

93

Reverse-micro Wire EDM

94

Experiments in micro-REDM

Images of the micro rods machined in


each run of experiment

Workpiece geometry :
Machining of 400 m square
and 200 m cylindrical
electrodes, machined length 1
mm

95

Surface Morphology
Root Surface

Surface near tip exhibits number


of craters , whereas the surface at
the root is relatively smooth.
Smooth surface with almost no
pits is observed near the root in
the magnified image of fabricated
structure
Tip Surface

Sample 3
A

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Arrayed structures machined at MTL IIT Bombay

97

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