International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology vol:47 issue:1-4 pages:11-19
The micro-electrical discharge machining (micro-
EDM) process has proved to be an appropriate non-conventional
machining method for manufacturing accurate and
complex three-dimensional structural micro-features which
are difficult to be produced by conventional processes.
However, the miniaturisation of the EDM process requests
special requirements on the machining equipment. Pulse
generators which can produce small input energy pulses
and high precision systems are the two major requirements.
In this paper, newly developed technologies regarding these
aspects are explored with the aid of a commercial micro-
EDM machine. By examining the pulses, innovative
strategies implemented in the pulse generator are studied.
Pulse measurements reveal the correlation between the
discharge pulses and the machine parameters in order to
provide an overview of process capability. Conclusions are
applied on machining of a ceramic composite Si3N4-TiN
and optimised machining settings for different machining
conditions are achieved. Accordingly, applications of two- and three-dimensional micro-structures on different types of
materials such as a stainless steel micro-compressor and a
ceramic miniature gas turbine are demonstrated. By
inspecting the machining geometry and surface integrity,
process characteristics of micro-EDM are discussed.