Spark erosion grinding (SEG), also called or spark machining, is a controlled machining process that removes excess material from delicate and complex work materials. The method is unique because, unlike other machining processes, this EDM technology doesn’t use cutting tools. Instead, it removes metal stock using AC current to arc-grind a profile on metal parts.
Spark erosion grinding is ideal for tight diameters parts and metals that are challenging to grind using standard mechanical tools like honeycomb. Although the process is advantageous for a variety of applications, the following industries in particular are likely to benefit from spark erosion grinding because of its precision and ability to cut hard materials with a low machinability rating:
- Gas and oil
- Industrial manufacturing
- Nuclear energy
The Spark Erosion Process
Spark erosion is a precise metal disintegration process. Spark erosion machines produce an electrical charge with a low voltage level and a high current. Properly directed through the machine’s electrode, this charge can cut through or disintegrate metal in a controlled fashion. Many machining processes combine the charge’s cutting capabilities with cold water or dielectric fluid, which shocks the resulting molten metal to break it down further and makes the component easier to clean. The process does not require direct contact between the electrode and the workpiece surface, so operators can direct the spark to small, hard-to-reach surfaces without disturbing any of the adjacent planes.
Companies use spark erosion grinding during production to machine workpieces that require fine detailing and complex modifications.
Advantages & Capabilities of Spark Erosion Grinding
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Spark erosion grinding doesn’t require direct contact or mechanical cutting tools, but it can create intricate parts. This is extremely beneficial for applications that involve pieces with tight tolerances.
Some key advantages of spark erosion grinding include:
- Accuracy: Electrical discharge machining can remove trace amounts of excess material to keep the workpiece within tight tolerances and adhere to complex designs. It works well for processing components that need to interlock or fit closely together within very tight margins. The no-contact nature of this “electrical machining” process also reduces cutting force strain on the part
- Detail and Complexity: Spark erosion grinding machines can create various shapes, including and honeycomb patterns. Contour shapes can be machine with tracer control or shaping electrodes.
- Machine Honeycomb down to 1/50″ of cell size
- Machine foil down to 0.002″ thickness
- Cost Savings: Spark erosion processes are a cost-effective alternative to repairs or metal removal projects that might otherwise require expensive disassembly and reassembly. It can also process intricate designs without the need for purchasing additional bits or equipment.
- Speed: This machining process is fast for one-off projects and small- or large-scale production runs.
- Smooth Finish: This EDM processes electrically burn away and disintegrate excess surface material, leaving behind a smooth, burr-free surface. This makes the workpieces safer to handle and reduces the need for additional finishing.
Our Spark Erosion Grinding Services
At Union Machine, we specialize in professional spark erosion grinding services for every stage of machining and finishing. We invest in high-quality machinery, process control equipment, and inspection tools to ensure we complete every job to high standards.