EDM Best Practices

We often help customers at Hartwig with troubleshooting their EDM processes. This short article contains a few helpful tips for keeping your EDM operation running smoothly.

Avoiding Spooling Problems

Wire tangling or crossovers on the spool are one of the most common reasons for returned EDM wire, yet the vast majority of these incidents are caused by improper handling and storage of the spool.

Storing a spool by laying it on its flange, when combined with improper fixing of the free end, is an invitation to a spooling problem the next time you use the spool. Relaxed wire tension can propagate from the surface layer into the spool. The slightest impact while the spool is on end can cause the coils to slip past each other creating a tangle.

Wire manufacturers package their wires with the axis of the spool in the horizontal position to prevent this problem. It is a good idea to save the box for properly storing partially used spools.

Give Your Filters a Rest

Did you know that you can increase the life of your filters by giving them a rest? Many shops leave their machines running all the time with the filter pumps on. Not only does this consume substantial unnecessary filter pump and chiller energy, but it also shortens filter life. It is an established fact that depressurizing a filter cartridge will allow some of the dirt cake on the pleats to fall to the bottom of the housing, and re-open some of the pores. The next time your filters need changing, try turning off the filter pump overnight and note how much the overflow from the clean tank improves the following morning.

Sizing an EDM Chiller

It is important to properly size a chiller to the machine’s heat output into the dielectric. While it is often difficult to accurately predict the BTU/hr capacity required to absorb the heat of the machine pumps, and the erosion process based upon the pump HP and the power supply KVA, there is a simple method to assure that you buy the right size.

Starting with a cold machine, measure the dielectric temperature. Turn on the machine and begin cutting a typical thickness block for 1 hour. Then measure the water temperature again. Note the temperature rise. Report this temperature rise, along with the machine dielectric tank capacity and dielectric type (oil or water) to your prospective chiller vendor. This information will allow them to accurately calculate the heat output of your machine system, and accurately size the chiller.

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