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CASE: W-EDM vs Finecut FAW300

The Finecut process is a suitable complement to Wire EDM. The Finecut can provide tolerances down to ±10 microns depending on the part geometry and material. It is versatile and easy to setup. It pierces starting holes and cuts contours in the same setup. Cutting speeds may be up to 5 or 10 times faster, decreasing with material thickness.

Its ability to machine virtually all materials makes it the perfect complement to the W-EDM shop.

Aluminum part for microwave application

Toolpath

The image shows the tool path created from our CAD cam software (IGEMS).
• Pink = Slow cutting speed
• Green = Fast cutting speed
• Blue = Medium cutting speed
• Dotted Lines = Rapid positions

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Wire EDM

Feed Rate 4mm/min
Approximate run time per part 128 mins
Approximate setup time per plate Unknown
Component measured to within ±0.030mm
Material thickness 6 mm
Surface Finish Ra 3.5μm Average

Finecut Micro Abrasive Water Jet Cutting

Feed Rate Between 35mm/min & 138mm/min depending where cutting.
Approximate run time per part 9 minutes 33 seconds
Approximate setup time per plate 15-20mins (Includes fixturing, guide pin holes & clamping arrangement)
Component measured to within ±0.030mm
Material thickness 6 mm
Surface Finish Ra 2.3μm Average
Nozzle Diameter Ø 0.3mm with Ø 0.12mm Orifice, #230 Mesh Garnet Abrasive

 

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Finished Component

The image shows the finished component cut by micro abrasive water jet cutting. The plate had pockets milled by conventional milling and contours were then cut with micro abrasive waterjet.

Conclusions

Better surface finish

Quicker and much better surface finish compared to the Wire EDM, with no thermal wear or distortion

No additional operations

No pre-operations - the water jet cutter can pierce straight through

Higher output

Higher cutting speed the gives higher throughput and consequently lower cost per part

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A versatile machine tool to complement the W-EDM machine shop

The ability to cut non-conductive parts makes the Finecut machine a good complement to consider for any Wire-EDM shop to expand its machine tool inventory. Besides widening the scope of business opportunities, the moderate running costs and the ability to pierce and cut precise parts in the same setup with higher cutting speeds can offer economic benefits over the W-EDM, especially for thin parts. Aluminum and precious metals are easily cut, and so are also advanced engineered metals like Nitinol, alloys from magnesium or titanium without the hassle of recast layers or heat affected zones.

Benefits include:

• Much quicker than W-EDM at virtually the same hourly cost
• Less handling with piercing and cutting in one set-up
• No wire breakage
• No heat generated during the process – no recast layers
• Cutting of thin segments with retained material properties
• Ability to cut non-conductive materials
• Combined materials / composite material can be cut
• Fine surface finish
• Recycling of precious metal possible