Electro chemical and discharge machining

Electro chemical machining (ECM) and Electro discharge machining (EDM) are two processes that are now widely used in industry to machine specialist shapes and profiles in materials that would otherwise be difficult to machine using more traditional processes such as turning, milling, drilling and grinding.

In the Innovative Manufacturing group we have two state of the art EDM machines from AgieCharmilles in our Manufacturing Technology Research Laboratory (MTRL). Our die-sinking EDM form 20 is a very versatile machine and allows us to machine a wide range of features in components. We have machined fine slots that are 70μm wide with this machine, larger 3-dimensional shapes and profiles can also be machined with this machine and a mirror like surface finish can also be achieved.

The AgieCharmilles F440 wire-EDM machine sits next to the sinking machine in the MTRL lab. This machine has been used extensively since its installation to cut intricate profiles in components for function or for further analysis. The wire-EDM machine has been used to carry out cuts for the contour cut method to analyse residual stresses in welded sections. The machine has also been used to cut Polycrystaline diamond cutting tools, profiles in tubes for medical device applications and for many other components requiring complex profiles to be cut or sections to be cut for detailed analysis. The machine can use wires as small as 100μm diameter, and a range of coated and un-coated wires have been tested on this machine.

A dedicated technician with a wealth of experience of EDM is working on this machine and is heavily involved in the design and development of fixturing and tooling to ensure that the desired outcome can be achieved when using the EDM equipment in the MTRL laboratory.

From an ECM perspective we have a wealth of experience of developing process solutions for industry and very specifically for the automotive sector in the area of fuel injection equipment. We are currently in the process of developing a nano-second pulsed ECM solution for micro machining applications following on from an EU funded project in this area. 

Research Focus

Our research looks at:

  • Process development for a wide range of applications across medical devices, automotive and aerospace
  • EDM machining of Polycrystaline Diamond
  • Process development for Hypotubes and catheters
  • EDM and ECM process development for automotive applications
  • Wire-EDM development for the Contour cut method


The group has strong links with some of the leading companies in the Automotive, Aerospace, Medical Devices and Nuclear sectors as well as carrying out research for SMEs in various sectors. 


Carl Driver

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