Wire erosion is a highly accurate engineering process for cutting and removing metals. At A&M, we perform high quality wire cutting for any conductive materials, such as titanium, aluminium and tungsten carbide.
We have 30 Sodick EDM machines and an innovative approach to programming to load multiple jobs on machines, pushing the equipment to achieve its full potential.
We can import CAD files from all well-known file extensions
Our largest wire cutting dimension is 1200 x 800 x 400 mm and 4 tons in weight, with a 500mm Z Axis option.
Our latest machines use an integrated cooling system to maintain the table and machine casting system ensuring optimum machining accuracy.
Most of our machines have Sodick’s jumbo wire feeder technology, which allows us to cut pieces for up to 60 hours, we can also slow the speed of the wire to achieve close to 80 hours.
Sodick Taper Flex technology enables us to cut taper angles with greater precision.
To confirm to our NADCAP aerospace certification, all our wire and spark eroders are calibrated annually.
This helps maintain cutting speeds and accuracy and is overseen by our in-house maintenance engineer.
Programming Multiple Jobs
All our wirers have the wire threading for multiple aperture parts enabling us to programme multiple jobs.
Our standard cutting brass wire is 0.25mm and we have the option of going to 0.15mm for smaller pieces.
A&M’s wire eroders are programmed to wire cut multiple complex jobs, enabling lights out operation overnight with staff operating multiple machines, delivering speed, precision and commercial value to customers.
One of our longest achievements was wire eroding a prototype beryllium component for a nuclear customer; this took 11 weeks on one of the largest Sodick machines in Europe.
Wire EDM Programming
Wire EDM Programming to change the tooling in the manufacture of an aerospace component. We expanded this project from one wire EDM machine to four spark and four wire machines, manufacturing thousands of parts weekly.
Wire EDM ensures precision when cutting complex shapes and hard materials which would be difficult with conventional cutting tools, such as pieces 500mm thick.
We use wire erosion to remove the material build up on additive manufactured aerospace parts which require critical, tight tolerances.
Sodick, our EDM machine supplier, regularly send new customers to A&M, using us as an exemplar in achieving the greatest speed and accuracy from their machines.
Wire Erosion Frequently Asked Questions
Wire EDM is a branch of Electrical Discharge Machining which utilises a wire to cut a metal workpiece. The wire EDM process consists of a strand of wire, which acts as an electrical conductor, generating electrical sparks between itself and a metal workpiece. Wire EDM works without relying on contact between the tooling and workpiece; the electrical discharge is able to erode and cut the workpiece as the spark jumps between the wire and the workpiece. Typically, dielectric deionised water is used to conduct the electricity and moreover cool the tooling and workpiece during the process, washing away excess particles of the eroded workpiece.
A wire EDM machine facilitates wire erosion services. The machine will automatically thread the wire, ensuring a fresh supply of wire is provided to cut the workpiece; guide the wire on a designated course to cut the metal into a desired shape; and provide coolant for the process.
Wire EDM is highly accurate and tight tolerances of around ±0.0025mm can be achieved, though this varies depending on the machine, and the power and speed of the process. A quicker process, with higher power, will decrease wire EDM accuracy – though generally this appears during initial roughing passes; later passes will improve accuracy as less material is removed.
Stainless steel is a conductive material – it is able to attract the electrical discharge, and therefore can be cut by using EDM methods. Applications for stainless steel wire EDM include both the aerospace and automotive industry.
Aluminium is highly conductive, and is suitable for being machined using wire EDM. Aluminium cut by wire EDM can be used for a variety of applications, including machinery components for the aerospace industry.
Copper is one of the best metallic conductors of electricity, and is suitable for machinery being a relatively soft metal. Copper and its alloys can be machined through wire EDM.
Though plastic is not a conductor of electricity, it can be machined with wire EDM under certain conditions. For instance, if the plastic workpiece is covered with an electrically conductive layer, which allows the spark to jump to the plastic.
Wire EDM thickness depends on the capabilities of the machine used, however it is possible to cut thick materials up to several inches thick.
EDM drilling uses the principles of electrical discharge to create small, deep holes within a workpiece. As opposed to a wire cutting a workpiece, EDM drilling utilises a spinning tube and flushing of deionised water to bore holes.
There are many wire EDM advantages. Electrical discharge machining can be used on both soft and extremely hard conductive metals, maintaining tight tolerances. No contact between the workpiece and the tooling is necessary, resulting in a good surface finish, and little distortion of even fragile workpieces.
EDM, particularly die sinker EDM and wire EDM, can achieve complex shapes, whilst EDM drilling can create intricate holes.
Wire EDM disadvantages include a relatively slow machining time, and excessive tool wear. For instance, during wire EDM, wire has to be constantly supplied through a spool so the heat generated during the process does not erode the wire.
EDM can only work with conductive materials, such as metal, or alternative solutions must be found for other materials, like plastic.
Wire EDM speed depends on the machine, workpiece material, and wire. Up to 45 square inches per hour may be cut during the fastest wire EDM processes, though 20 square inches per hour is more achievable.