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Conventional EDM Machines vs Wire EDM Machines

Nov. 05, 2021

In general, EDM makes sense as a machining technique when the material in question is electrically conductive - basically any type of metal, even very hard ones. And EDM allows complex shapes - such as sharp corners and fine slits - and depths that cannot be reached by conventional cutting tools.

EDM is also ideal in many applications because it requires only minimal force. It is therefore suitable for even delicate shapes and fragile materials because it does not damage them by excessive mechanical energy during machining.

The choice between conventional EDM or wire EDM is sometimes more complex. The following are some of the features and applications of the two main EDM machines.

Capabilities and applications of conventional EDM machines

Due to the use of forming electrodes, conventional EDM is particularly suitable for the manufacture of moulds. It is also beneficial for small series production, especially for prototypes. It has a wide range of applications in industries such as automotive and aerospace, as it allows the precise production of complex engine parts. It is also commonly used in injection moulding processes in a range of industries.

Servo Control Wire-cutting EDM Machine

Servo Control Wire-cutting EDM  Machine

Capabilities and Applications of Wire EDM Machines

Wire EDM features offer a number of unique advantages. They offer powerful, reliable, cutting-edge performance while remaining user-friendly. The following are some of the advantages of wire cutting over conventional EDM.

Ease of production


Low maintenance

With conventional EDM, the electrodes are susceptible to erosion and must be replaced regularly when they wear down to the point where they do not work properly. Conventional EDM also requires the machining of a specific shape of electrode and this additional pre-processing is very time consuming.

On the other hand, the EDM wire machine can be put into operation as soon as the wire is in place and does not require the time and material expenditure associated with preparation for machining. It is suitable for time-sensitive applications and shapes where the machining of matched electrodes can present a challenge. It is also commonly used for extrusion dies.

Components of an EDM machine

The following are some of the components used in the two main types of EDM machines.

Components and construction of a conventional EDM machine

Conventional EDM machines use forming electrodes, a power supply and a propeller. These machines usually contain a computer numerical control (CNC) which helps to automate the process.

The electrodes used in conventional EDM machining are usually made of copper or graphite. The choice between the two usually depends on the ideal conductivity and erosion resistance of the electrode. Graphite is more ductile, so it has the advantage of making electrodes for EDM machines easier to fabricate. Copper, on the other hand, is more durable and has better electrical conductivity, so it can be used to machine stronger metals.

Components and construction of Wire EDM Machines

The EDM wire cutter consists of a bobbin, diamond guide and automatic wire feeder.

The electrode wire used in EDM wire cutting is usually made of copper, sometimes brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc. Brass is also used to make the tubular electrodes required for drilling EDM machines.

However, unlike the components of conventional EDM machines, the wire used in EDM wire cutting machines does not necessarily need to have strong resistive properties. The reason for this is that the automatic wire feeder is constantly releasing new wire for machining, so that when the old wire becomes dull, new wire can be used to replace it.

Contact Litong Machinery Automation for all your EDM processing needs

To see the benefits of EDM in your operation, let Machinery Automation be your trusted partner for wire EDM machining services.

Litong Machinery Automation(Shanghai) Co., Ltd. is certified by ISO9001:2015 Standard Quality Management System, with a professional R&D, Manufacturing, Marketing and Service team, number of senior engineers and technicians have over more than 30 years experiences of specialized in precision EDM machine tool, machining center and CNC equipment R&D, Manufacturing and management. Contact us today to find out more.