The ECM-Process - a Short Profile
In the course of the ECM-process, metal is removed by way of electrolytic dissolution until the workpiece has acquired its specified form.
The workpiece to be machined is connected to a positive pole (anode), while the tool electrode is connected to the negative pole of an external direct-current voltage source. The tool electrode possesses the form of the required workpiece contour.
An aqueous electrolyte solution in the gap between anode and cathode closes the electrical circuit. The electrolyte carries the ions needed for the process, dissipating the generated heat and discharging the dissolved material. The workpiece contour is created through the guided movement of the tool. The process-related continuous flow of the electrolyte solution between the tool electrode and the workpiece ensures that the components do not come into contact with each other, so that neither the electrode nor the machining process itself are impaired by wear.
Pulsed ECM-technology allows pulsed voltage to be used instead of continuous voltage (direct current) to close the electrical circuit – just like turning a light switch on and off, but in cycles of around 10 milliseconds. In connection with the conventional direct-current ECM- process, this feature provides significant benefits such as
- greater precision
- better surface quality
- shorter machining times
when compared with the classic PECM-process, e.g. in connection with an oscillating electrode.