Anda di halaman 1dari 4


Mrcel Sabin Popa: Str. B-dul Muncii, nr. 103-105, Cluj Napoca, Romania, code 400641, telephone: 0040-264 401635,


Marcel Sabin Popa
, Glad Contiu
, Grigore Pop
, Preja Dan

Technical University of Cluj Napoca
Ghring Romania, Cluj Napoca

ABSTRACT: Within the Faculty of Machine Building from the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania
unconventional technologies researches were performed for 20 years. The team focused on national research projects
referring to micro machining and special applications. EDM process (Electric Discharge Machining) has a great
importance to the industry. Even if it never be able to compete with the metal cutting manufacturing process in terms of
material removal rate, today it is the main manufacturing process of complex die and mould, due to the major
advantages presented in this paper. Today, also the precision of the process competes with the milling process in terms
of quality of the surface, which can arrive at values that, in some cases, are better than the values for grinded surfaces.
The article presents the importance of the process in the industry of stamps, which can not be processed with other
methods, due to special materials and forms that are wished to be obtained. The article presents comparatively the
values of the roughness obtained by EDM process on different types of materials and by different process parameters.
Concerning the optimisation of the EDM technological parameters, the research has been done on different types of
EDM machines. The final scope is to elaborate a technological data base with the purpose of optimising the EDM
process on different machines.
KEYWORDS: EDM, SEDM, machining, manufacturing.

In 1942 the Lazarenko couple discovered the EDM
process. At the beginning it was used only in the military
industry. EDM performed a long way till to its present
high performances. EDM has appeared as a necessity to
manufacture materials with better mechanic and thermal
characteristics. The major advantage of EDM in
comparison with other manufacturing processes is
represented by the fact that the hardness of material is
not important, the only condition being that the
processed material must be electro conductive [1].
Today, the world is participating at an extraordinary
growth of electronic and automatic, aeronautic and
special industry, nuclear or micro technologies. All this
domains have made the unconventional technologies to
arrive in the top of manufacturing processes. This was
possible by discovering new materials that are hard and
sometimes impossible to be processed with other
technologies. The new dimensions in the electronic and
automation opened also, the gates for the unconventional
technologies to take position in the research departments.
Even if the unconventional technologies are for long
time studied, some aspects are not yet perfectly known.
For the industry that is using those technologies (for
example EDM) is important to know every detail that
could influent the quality of the workpiece that is wanted
to be manufactured.

One of the most known and studied unconventional
process is EDM (Electrical Discharge Machining). The
main principle of processing the material, is to copy the
form of the work tool into the work piece. Apparently it
is a very simple process but it involves many phenomena
during the process.
Electric discharge machining process is complex and
stochastic in nature. The process involves a combination
of several disciplines such as electrodynamics,
electromagnetic, thermodynamic, and hydrodynamic
making it difficult to present the process in a
comprehensive model [2].
In EDM, conductive work piece materials are removed
for the purpose of machining in a dielectric by electrical
discharge. The material removal results from the erosive
effect of subsequent, time wise separated, no stationary
or quasistationary discharges between electrodes, i.e.,
between tool and work piece. Each discharge generates a
microscopic removal on the two electrode surface. In
principle, the process is based on thermal erosion.
Hence, an efficient EDM process can only be realized by
a purposefully uneven material removal on the two
DOI 10.1007/s12289-009-0648-9
Springer/ESAFORM 2009
Int J Mater Form (2009) Vol. 2 Suppl 1:633636
electrodes. Wire EDM as kinematical variant of EDM
allows hereby the machining or respectively, production
of complex geometrical contours.
The properties of diatomic plasma were taken as a
constant and the fluid dynamic equation was included in
the model. Eubank [3] reported variable mass cylindrical
plasma which expands with time. For an EDM process
with a current of 2,34 A, the temperature and pressure
of the plasma channel were approximated to be 11,210K
and 54 bar after 6 s. Another approximation of plasma
channel for micro-EDM process was reported by Dhanik
and Joshi (2005) where the temperature and pressure
were found to be in the range of 81001750K and 68
bar, respectively [2,3,4].
One of the parameters that depend on these phenomena
is the roughness of the surface obtained by processing a
work piece with EDM process [5].

The Wire EDM process can be compared with the
classic process of sawing or cutting with diamond wire,
but the particular characteristic of not stressing the work
piece and the wire that dont get in contact with.
Comparing with the classic machines, the work piece
flows forward and the wire rolls only.
One of the parameters that are followed to be obtained
after machining is the roughness of the surface. By
machining with this method can be obtained very good
surfaces with roughness that can arrive till 0, 2 m, but
only in finishing mode. In the industry is not always
necessarily such a good surface. So in the industry, it is
important to know the roughness of the surface to be
obtained in order to prepare a technology as economic as
possible. Obtaining a roughness that is wanted by the
client, it avoids an additional machining which would
require additional time and cost. The authors realised
some experiments trying to obtain some results
regarding the time of machining and the quality of the
processed surface.
The main materials that are followed to be processed are
the hart metals. Processing them with conventional
technologies makes the life of a work tool to drastically
reduce. In some cases the price of a work tool that could
process such a work peace would be too high. Another
criterion would be the possibility to obtain a form that is
impossible to be made with any other methods.
By EDM can be also processed materials like copper,
graphite, aluminium, special ceramic etc. The main
property that the material needs to have is the electrical

The experiments were performed on different work
pieces with the aim to observe the variation of the
roughness of the surface and the speed of machining

Figure 1: Crater dimension [6]

concerning the thickness of the material.
The figure 1 represents a theoretical section of a crater
that is formed by a spark during the process. The radius r
and the height h depends directly on the machining
parameters I (current), T (voltage), Te (Puls time) [6].
i H
E C h =
[m] (1)

Where: C
=190 for steel and steel alloys with Cr;
=67 for hard alloys;

Expressing the E
m m

[W] (2)
It obtains:
m m
C h

[m] (3)

As from the relation can be seen the roughness will
increase when the intensity of the current grows and
when the frequency decreases. By modifying the
parameters of the machine can be obtained different
qualities of the surface but modifying the time also,
which is very important in a process [6].
In other cases, due to the aspect that must be obtained on
the surface, the work pieces are processed with very high
Ra value, over 12, 5 m. The productivity that is
obtained in this case is very high due to the very high
energy that is used. For the very high precision
processes, it can be obtained in special conditions a
roughness Ra of 0, 05 0, 1 m [7].
Because usually, the process is used in industry after a
thermal treatment of the work piece, we used hard steel.
OLC 45
The experiments for this work were made on a
Wire Electric Discharge Machine model MAKIO EE3.
For a higher hardness, the test pieces were thermal
treated. (Table 1.)

Table 1: Values of the hardness of the metal

Material OLC45 42MoCr11 OSC7
241 HB
(21,2 HRC)
263 HB
(24,7 HRC)
640 HB
(61,9 HRC)

The dimensions of the test pieces are:
- length L= 80mm;
- width l= 20mm;
- height h= 1050mm;
The roughness of the surface was measured on the
middle of the height. For the same thickness of the work
pieces the value of the roughness are oscillating between
1, 85 m and 2, 70 m as it can be seen in the figure 2.
For the work pieces that have thicknesses over 70 mm, it
can be observed the difference between the roughness
from the bottom and the middle of the work piece.
On a work piece with a thickness of 110 mm, the
measurements were made from the bottom to the middle
of the work piece and the roughness grows from 2, 7 m
up to 5, 5 m as it can be seen in fig. 3
This phenomenon takes place because the nozzles for
dielectric are placed at the top and at the bottom of the
work piece and the pressure is not big enough to be able
to wash all the particles.
In the industry the roughness that is obtained is very
important. On this parameter depends the quality and the
aspect of the product.
Today the new machines with the command and control
system that assist the process make the work of the
operator easier. Some of the machines have the
capability to estimate the time that remains for the
process, material removal rate and the roughness.
Usually these parameters are not real. The roughness can
modify concerning dielectric and the washing possibility
of the machine.

Figure 2: Roughness variations depending on the

Figure 3: The diagram of roughness variation depending
on the thickness of the work piece


In these chapter will be analyzed the roughness of other
materials like steel or alloy of steel. As materials will be
used Copper, Aluminium and Graphite. The thickness of
these workpece is of 20 mm and 60 mm.
The roughness of the work piece changes with the
material as is shown in the figures 4 and 5. The graphite
work piece, by using the same parameters of process, has
the finest surface roughness.
These obvious differences of the quality of the work
piece are due to the thermodynamically process that take
place in the plasma channel.
All the researches were made on the same machine, a
wire cutting machine with water dielectric.
Theoretically the conditions of EDM process would be
the same for the three materials. But all these
thermodynamic, electrodynamics, electromagnetic
phenomena are also influenced by the properties of the
In the figure 4 and 5 can be observed also, that the
roughness of the work piece is not considerable modified
by the thickness. For the same material, R
remains in a
small domain of values. For example, in case of graphite
work pieces, R
has values between 1 and 1,25 m. This
confers to an engineer the possibility to provide a precise
technology of machining.

Figure 4: Roughness (Ra [m]) measured on the different
materials (h=60mm).


Figure 5: Roughness (Ra [m]) measured on the different
materials (h=20 mm)

In the industry, this technological method of machining
is expanding more and more and it begins to be used in
micromachining, also. Its important to be able to
establish a technological itinerary and after this a price
for a work piece or for a large series of production.
The operator is using the CAM programs in order to
write the CNC program, but the parameters of the
machine must be set concerning the material, the
thickness of the work piece, the roughness that must be
obtained and the tool material. For a better planning of
the technology, its necessary to build a bibliotheca with
most common materials that are to be used in a factory.
Although the parameters are optimized, the quality of
surface is different for each machining because external
conditions are deferent for each machining process [5].
One of the most important problems to be solved is a
mathematical model like one of DiBitonto or Jilani,
which should provide a precise approximation of the one
spark crater. These could solve the problem that industry
still has.
For the industry it would be important to prepare a
bibliotheca with specified parameters for machining
different materials. For example for the same kind of
machining (roughing or finishing), in the tables of the
machine-tools, the parameters are optimized but it is not
specified the quality of the surface that can be obtained.
Some machines have these bibliotheca incorporated in
the CNC soft but these values seems not to be real for
the intensive processes.
Our researches have shown the knowledge importance of
all parameters that can influence the quality of the
process and in the future we will prepare a bibliotheca
that will complete the CAM programs by having a larger
table of materials and machining parameters. By
generating a mathematical model will be possible to
build for every machine type a bibliotheca of parameters.

[1] Popa M, et. al..: Unconventional Technologies and
Competitive Engineering in the 21
Proceedings of the TMCE 2008, April 2125, 2008,
Kusadasi, Turkey.
[2] S.H. Yeo, W. Kurnia, P.C. Tan Critical assessment
and numerical comparison of electro-thermal
models in EDM. Journal of materials processing
technology 2 0 3 ( 2 0 0 8 ) 241251.
[3] Eubank, P.T., Patel, M.R., Burrufet, M.A., Bozkurt,
B., 1993.Theoretical models of the electrical
discharge machining process. III. The variable
mass, cylindrical plasma model. J. Appl. Phys. 73
(11), 79007909.
[4] Dhanik, S., Joshi, S.S., 2005. Modeling of a single
resistance capacitance pulse discharge in micro-
electro discharge machining. Trans. ASME J.
Manufact. Sci. Eng. 127 (4), 759767.
[5] Popa M. S., et. al., New Trends in Non
Conventional technologies and Electric Discharge
Machining, The 2nd European DAAAM
International Young Researchers and Scientists
Conference22-25th October 2008, Slovak
University of Technology, Trnava, Slovakia.
[6] Ceausescu, N, Popescu, I., 1982 Tehnologii
neconventionale, Unconventional Technlogies
Ed. Scrisul Romanesc, Craiova.
[7] Dodun, Oana, Tehnologii neconventionale.
Prelucrari cu scule materializate. Unconventional
Technologies. Machining with materialized tools.
Editura Tehnica Info Chisinau 2001.