What Applications are Right for Wire EDM?

As technology in wire EDM expands, so does the popularity of the service. During “electrical discharge machining,” a single strand of metal wire acts as the tool-electrode. An electrical spark erodes material at a fraction of an inch away from the material, with no physical contact with the workpiece. If a material can conduct electricity, then it can be easily machined with wire. In cases where metal is difficult to cut with conventional machining, wire EDM excels.

KLH Industries continues to invest in up-to-date EDM technologies. Our newest machines have power generators allowing them to cut 30% faster than machines made just a few years ago. 

KLH and Wire EDM

KLH Industries, founded in 1987, understands the intricacies of wire EDM, as this process capability has been our strategic focus since day one. While wire EDM was still an underused and unique technology at that time, Heins saw the potential and knew the “spark machining” process would change the tool and die industry. Today, KLH Industries is a precision machine shop that continues to innovate with the latest wire EDM technology while providing one-stop EDM machining, precision CNC machining, water jet cutting and dimensional CMM inspection services

Once a niche service, wire EDM is now a critical process and is vital to safety in the aerospace and medical machining industries. As a small or large percentage of the machining process, in many cases, it’s the only way to finish a precision project without burrs, foreign objects or stress to the workpiece. 

Wire EDM in Aerospace Machining

With stringent industry specifications, high security and applications requiring difficult-to-machine, non-corrosive materials and small intricate components, the aerospace industry has a unique set of needs. 

As an AS9100 certified, Nadcap certified, and ITAR registered machining supplier, KLH excels in this space. While most industries utilize EDM cutting as a complementary service for their applications after rough conventional machining, the aerospace industry requires a more precise finish. Using new technology in wire EDM, KLH Industries can create a Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) that is almost non-existent, making the process increasingly popular. 

Aerospace components require finishing with wire EDM, which easily machines challenging materials and parts with complex geometries and tight tolerance features. By implementing automation, selecting cutting-edge tooling and building qualified fixtures to assist precision machinery, KLH meets weekly delivery requirements of more than 600 parts while consistently producing features with tolerances within .00025”.

Customers in the aerospace and defense industry expect production quantities parts to include serialization and tracking and inspection traceability. The knowledgeable team at KLH industries is very comfortable providing this service, which allows us to provide this for other industries if required. When it comes to precision aerospace machining and wire EDM services, NASA chooses KLH as a machining supplier – so can you. 

Medical Instrument Machining

The medical industry, similar to the aerospace industry, requires small, intricate parts and non-corrosive materials. The difference is instead of being part of an airplane or spaceship, these precision machining applications are inside the human body. To meet the life-or-death nature of medical manufacturing, wired EDM is selected often, as it provides accurate metal machining, consistent components free of burrs and foreign objects, a requirement in the medical industry.

All components in the medical industry, even those manufactured by stamping presses, have to be free of any burrs, oil, chips or debris. To meet these safety requirements, customers often choose wire EDM services for machining medical parts, eliminating the need for secondary de-burring machining operations. KLH can achieve profile tolerances of .0002” out of carbide material, eliminating the cost of a stamping die. This application is most impactful for cost savings across shorter runs or prototyping of components.

Wire EDM can also bring cost savings to higher volume orders or parts requiring highly repetitive micro-holes and fine cuts. For a job requiring over ¼ million micro-holes to be placed at a tolerance of +.0003”/-0”, adjustments were made to thread the wire while submerged and capabilities optimized to allow for lights out production. Wire EDM provides accuracy while KLH matches the level of productivity expected from industries dependent on life-saving devices.

KLH Industries excels at precision and accuracy – it’s our biggest advantage. Our precision capabilities allow us to use wire sizes down to 0.0012” diameter, giving us the ability to cut a slot in material just a quarter of the width of a human hair. Not only does KLH trust our precision equipment, but we actively invest in adjustments to enhance results. Special guides and electrodes are among the tools that have allowed KLH to achieve holes that finish at less than 0.015” through carbide. With the precision to deliver wire EDM parts to that size and accuracy to manufacture parts as close to print as possible, KLH offers repeatable results and an innovative approach that is tough to match.

Prototyping in aerospace, medical industries and beyond

As a complete one-stop shop, KLH houses a variety of capabilities in one facility. This advantage eliminates the time and money required to send out to a different facility for each machining process when creating a prototype. Another way KLH provides value is by partnering with your prototype engineer. Working with your form, fit and function, we help you design an easier-to-machine part for more efficient machining

From there, KLH can take that prototype into production, all in our facility. With KLH Industries, there is no need to go to a separate prototype house to start a project or a requirement and then send it to a production house. We can walk through the whole process with the customer.  

Why KLH?

KLH Industries can take your difficult to machine project from prototype to production – CNC turning, milling and wire cut EDM applications, all in one stop. It’s a better fit for our customers and the reason why our customers return for future machining needs. Sometimes wire EDM is the best solution for a critical feature or a full line of your machined parts, and KLH is a leader in the industry with 24/7 EDM automation. 

Ready to experience the KLH advantage for your precision machining needs? Submit an online request for a quote or contact a sales associate to learn how much time and money you can save with KLH Industries.