Manufacturers in industry segments across the board are being challenged to improve the efficiency and performance of their products. Rising emission standards and other manufacturing requirements are driving the need to improve the quality and efficient operation of every component. The effects of component stress as a result of the manufacturing process are also a concern for components that will be functioning under extreme operating conditions.
Electrochemical machining is a method that finishes the workpiece surfaces by means of anodic metal dissolution. The fixture including the tool (cathode) (-) acts under DC current and in the presence of an electrolyte fluid to create the anodic reaction that removes workpiece (+) surface material in a precise manner. Dynamic ECM is a modified ECM process in which the cathode moves with constant speed into the part, providing finishing results for components with complex shapes that are difficult if not impossible to achieve with conventional machining methods.
How the Dynamic ECM Process Works:
- Dynamic ECM consists of a drive axis and customized (part-specific) tooling.
- The tool (cathode) is connected to the drive unit (axis) located on the upper part of the tooling.
- Parameter input is controlled through the Operator interface, and is stored under a part-specific file for repeatability.
- The drive unit moves the cathode with constant, controlled speed into the part.
- Process control (parameter and short circuit control) ensures dimensional accuracy.
Our Dynamic ECM Tooling Provides the Edge.
The tool (cathode) is a critical element of the Dynamic ECM process because its properties and shape determine where and how much material is removed from the workpiece. The tool material provides the electrical resistance that maintains the constant gap between the cathode and workpiece surface. Because the cathode never comes into contact with the workpiece, the tooling has no process-related wear.
Our team of manufacturing professionals will work with you to determine the best possible tooling design for your project.
Trust our experts to manage these key process considerations:
- Ensuring that the design of the cathode fits the workpiece area to be machined using insulation to protect the workpiece from the ECM process in other areas.
- Controlling the gap by designing the appropriate fixtures including cathodes.
- Providing short circuit detection at the DC source.
- Ensuring the cathode is made out of electrically conductive materials.
- Defining the best electrolyte for the application including use of NaCl, NaNO3.
The Extrude Hone® Dynamic ECM Process provides a high level of precision on components that are difficult to manufacture by conventional methods. This makes ECM ideal for the following surface machining applications:
Contouring / Shaping: Creates a pre-defined 3D surface profile. This is accomplished through mapping of the cathode geometry into the workpiece.
Radiusing: Creates a defined edge rounding.
Polishing: Optimizes the surface characteristics of the workpiece.
Flow Tuning: Creates a defined flow resistance through an orifice.
The Dynamic ECM process is a revolutionary way to manufacture high precision components. Instead of cutting metal using hardened tooling, material is removed more efficiently by an electrochemical process. Advantages of this process include:
Design accuracy. Workpiece material is removed only at precisely defined locations.
Specialized application capabilities. Suitable for shaping and drilling of components that are difficult to machine using other methods. Ideal for components with trumpet, elliptical or other intricate shapes and tapered or deeper holes.
Longer component life. Dynamic ECM does not create mechanical loads or thermal loads on the part. This eliminates the challenges of surface oxidation, mechanical stresses, and micro-fissures caused by heat transfer.
Longer tool life. Material properties (such as hardness) do not affect the feed rate or tool consumption, making Dynamic ECM a cost-effective choice for tougher materials.
Process efficiency. Both workpiece roughing and finishing can be completed in a single pass.
No deburring requirements. As a dissolution based process, no burrs are generated.
Increased productivity. The process time for the Dynamic ECM process is fast as compared to conventional methods (feed rate up to 7mm/min). Additionally, multiple parts per axis as well as multiple holes per axis can be machined resulting in a lower unit cost of production.
Quality and repeatability. The ECM process is highly stable with very good process control which ensures accuracy, quality, consistency and the highest repeatability. As ECM follows Faraday’s Law, material removal is controlled by monitoring the applied current over the course of the ECM process time.