An insight into Wire EDM

Chesterfield-based manufacturer CBE+ have recently acquired new machinery and new team members from the aerospace industry leaders Aerodyn. It is the most recent investment in the engineering company’s bid to expand their multitude of world-class complementary capabilities.

Wire EDM

We recently sat down with Tony Vaughan and David Turner to discuss everything Wire EDM (Electrical Discharge Machining). Tony and David bring over 30 years wire erosion production experience to CBE+’s new EDM Division, having started their careers with Matlock Wire Erosion in 1988.

Tony: ‘Wire EDM was originally used in press tool manufacturing. As technology has advanced the machines have improved cutting speed and accuracy leading to use in prestigious sectors such as aerospace, formula one, automotive, electronics industries and because of its versatility manufacturers use WEDM operation for an extensive range of applications. It is often an ideal choice to produce small highly detailed items that would normally be too delicate for other machining options.’

David:Wire Electrical Discharge Machining can cut anything that is electrically conductive regardless of the hardness, from relatively common materials such as tool steel, aluminium, copper, graphite to exotic space age alloys including hastaloy, waspaloy, inconel, titanium, carbide, polycrystalline diamond compacts and conductive ceramics. Instead of cutting the material, WEDM melts or vaporizes it, producing comparatively small chips and providing a very accurate cut line.’

Wire EDMWire EDM sample

What are the benefits of Wire EDM?

Tony: ‘Wire EDM gives designers more latitude in designing dies and management more control of manufacturing, since the machining is completed automatically. The accuracy, surface finish and time required to complete a job is extremely predictable, making it much easier to quote. Additionally, the process is cost effective for low quantity projects and can prove beneficial in prototype manufacturing, even if the actual project is carried out by different means.

The wire (normally brass 0.3mm diameter) does not touch the workpiece, so there is no physical pressure impacted on the workpiece compared to grinding wheels and milling cutters. The amount of clamping pressure required to hold small, thin & fragile parts is minimal, preventing damage or distortion to the workpiece. Parts that have complex geometry and tolerances don’t rely on different skill levels or multiple equipment.’

What does Wire EDM bring to CBE+

David:The existing facilities at CBE+ with AS9100 approvals in precision engineering and electroless nickel plating paired with the reality of an integrated supply chain from a single location, means we have the opportunity for growth and to develop our relationship with our existing customer base, to offer a broader portfolio of services we haven’t had in the past. A real opportunity.’

Tony: ‘The Wire EDM capabilities offer more diversity to CBE+’s service offering. Wire EDM capabilities enables the Company to produce highly accurate machining of complex parts in a wide range of material, including hardened steels.

Coupled with extensive expertise and many years of serving a diverse range of markets and challenging applications used around the world.

The company’s expertise together with this latest technology enables them to produce the very best in quality at a competitive price.

We are excited to be part of a dynamic team with an exceptional level of expertise and reputation. It is a very exciting time to be part of the journey.’