MAY 2018

Techspex provides metalworkers free research and analysis tools to help them find the right machine for their job.

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T H E R E M A R K A B L E A B I L I T I E S O F W I R E E D M 6 ABOUT THE AUTHOR Barry Rogers recently retired as global director of sales for a major machine tool OEM. Prior positions include director of global sales and marketing for Sunnen Products, and national sales and market manager for Renishaw North America. He also has served as general manager of Cincinnati Milacron's LK CMM division in Detroit, Michigan. Barry recently started Alpha Strategies, a Chicago-based consulting firm which he serves as president. Search Machines Smarter. IN PARTNERSHIP WITH: The Machine Tool Search Engine conditions where the wire has been most weakened as it passes through or across the workpiece surface. Frequent wire breakages can result. Setting the flushing pressure too high can induce vibration and deflection of the wire, especially in tall workpieces. This condition will affect the surface finish and accuracy of the part. Filtration To get the best performance from a wire machine, the user must maintain the cleanliness of the dielectric fluid. If it gets too dirty, some materials will start to rust in the tank, and surface finish may deteriorate. For example, cutting aluminum raises the conductivity of the dielectric fluid quickly. When this happens, the deionizing bottle must be changed promptly. Good maintenance practice includes periodically replacing the paper filter cartridges and sending out the deionizing bottle for regeneration. Cutting certain materials will clog filters rapidly. For example, when cutting additively manufactured parts, an internal pocket of loose, unsintered metal powder may be penetrated. The sudden release of this powder into the fluid can clog the filter unexpectedly. Today, the cost of a filter ranges from $85 to $120. Maintenance For the most part, wire EDM units require little maintenance. Some important maintenance items include cleaning the orifices in the wire guides and the surfaces of the power contacts. Power contacts should be indexed every 50 to 100 hours of cutting time. The wire rethreading mechanism should be checked and adjusted periodically. Follow the OEM's recommendations faithfully. Expect to spend a modest amount of time on maintenance for each machine on a weekly basis, more often if machines are running more than eight hours a day.

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