Machining techniques are used widely in the automotive industry for manufacturing different automobile components such as outer body sheets, internal components, and windscreens. Automobiles are produced in an assembly line that requires the same type of components for producing them in large volumes. Different components are prefabricated using machining processes and transferred to the assembly line for final production.
One of the most common automotive machining techniques in use today is known as wire electrical discharge machining (EDM). Wire electric discharge machining (EDM) uses a wire electrode that travels through the conductive work piece. The electrically charged wire is monitored by a Computer Numerically Controlled system (CNC).
Wire EDM removes a material from the work piece by spark erosion. During this process, the wire never touches the conductive work piece. The electrically charged wire leaves a path on the work piece, which is slightly larger than the wire. Often a 0.010′ wire is used which creates a 0.013′ to 0.014′ gap. The wire electrode can just be passed once through the conductive work piece, and cannot be reused.
The gap between the wire and the work piece generates high voltage electrical pulses. The high voltage and the controlled spark melt and vaporize a small part of the work piece. Each spark produces a temperature of 10,000° C, where as the energy turned out by the power supply decides the size of the spark penetration into the material. With the improvement in the cutting speed, reliability, unattended operation, and accuracy, it is also becoming popular in many other industries such as the aerospace, defense, and electronics.
The multiple work pieces set up and unattended operation saves a lot of time of the operator, which can be fruitfully utilized on other job functions. The wire EDM system is very cost-effective and can be operated at around $4 per hour in normal cutting conditions.