Makino Changing EDM with New Coated Wire Technology
Jeffrey Heimgartner posted on June 25, 2019 |

For more than 40 years, wire electrical discharge machining (EDM) has been a reliable staple of metal machining, albeit with a few disadvantages. Makino, an industry leader in machinery design and digital innovation, hopes to bring EDM to the future and eliminate a few associated issues with its new U6 H.E.A.T. Extreme.

Makino’s new technology introduces the use of the first-ever .016-inch coated wire to increase machining speeds. According to the company, the technology is capable of more than doubling rough machining rates over traditional 0.010-inch brass wire without increasing manufacturing costs by maintaining comparable consumption rates of 0.6-0.7lbs per hour.

The new U6 H.E.A.T. Extreme is expected to increase speeds by more than 300% without raising manufacturing costs. It uses a .016-inch coated wire from bedra and has settings for two-pass machining to optimize productivity. (Image courtesy of Makino.)
The new U6 H.E.A.T. Extreme is expected to increase speeds by more than 300% without raising manufacturing costs. It uses a .016-inch coated wire from bedra and has settings for two-pass machining to optimize productivity. (Image courtesy of Makino.)

Wire EDM typically uses a brass wire as the electrode, which is fed through a guide via a CNC-controlled path and discarded after use. This method has proven to be an efficient way to cut a range of metals with varying degrees of hardness without leaving burrs or requiring polishing. It is well-suited for complex shapes and small pieces that could easily be damaged by other methods.

With all its benefits, the method is not without its side effects, the most notable of which are that it is slow and more costly due to creating the electrodes and its power and material consumption. Depending on the metal, wire EDM also can leave an oxide layer on a cut surface that requires additional cleaning.

The U6 H.E.A.T Extreme machine was designed with those issues in mind. Developed based on Makino’s U-Series Wire EDM machines, the new machines uses a .016in bedra topas H.E.A.T. coated wire that features controlled zinc donation. It allows for increased cutting speed while reducing wire speed. In regards to productivity, the U6 H.E.A.T Extreme is capable of two-pass machining and features a threading system with modes for jet or jetless threading. The system has dual digital flushing pumps designed for high pressure and volume flushing, enabling a reduction in cycle time.

Incorporating the latest technology is a must for new machinery. Makino’s new machine features a Hyper-i control to assist operators. It has a common interface with advanced functions, including a library for optimizing speed, accuracy, surface finish, and low wire consumption for both sealed and poor flush applications; and an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) network connectivity function.

For more insight into the types and uses of EDM, check out EDM 101: Electrical Discharge Machining Basics.


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