16 September 2018

Advantages and disadvantages electrochemical machining

A method of removing metal by an electrochemical process is called electrochemical machining in short ECM. This process is usually used for mass production and working with extremely hard materials that are difficult to machine using other processes but its use is limited to electrically conductive materials. Let us have a deep insight into the advantages and disadvantages of electrochemical machining in this article. 

Advantages of Electrochemical Machining :

  • The metal removal rate is quite high for high-strength-temperature-resistant (HSTR) materials as compared to the conventional process.
  • Accurate machining.
  • Residual stress is low.
  • The surface finish is in the order of 0.2 to 0.8 microns.
  • No direct contact between tool and workpiece.
  • Negligible wear and tear of tool material.
  • Environmental friendly.
  • Possible to machine non-rigid and open workpieces.
  • It can be a machine configuration that is beyond the capability of the conventional machining process.
  • Extremely thin sheets of metal can be worked easily without distortion.
  • A job with complex shapes can be machined easily and accurately.
  • Several holes can be done at once during drilling.
  • ECM is a time-saving machining process as compared to conventional machining.
  • Deburring can be done in hard to access areas.
  • Fragile and brittle materials can be machined easily by ECM without cracking or breaking.
  • The metallic workpiece is not damaged due to thermal stresses.

Disadvantages of Electrochemical Machining :

  • Power consumption is more.
  • Initial tooling can be timely and costly.
  • Non-conducting materials can not be machined.
  • The process is costly because of expensive equipment.
  • A continuous supply of electrolytes is necessary.
  • Steady voltage should be maintained during the whole process.
  • Corrosion and rust of the ECM machine can be a hazard.
  • If hydrogen is liberated at the tool surface then it is possible to suffer from hydrogen-embitterment of the surface.
  • There may be a possibility of damages because of sparks.
  • Conventional machining produced more improved fatigue properties than ECM.