Impressive Technology from EMAG: Precise Electro-Chemical Machining (PECM) Replaces Engraving and Eroding

01/26/2016 - Markus Isgro

The packaging industry is a key example of the prevalent use of embossing and stamping dies. However, creating such embossing tools, with their delicate structure, to be durable against wearing during production is complex. It is easy to see how the traditional processes for manufacturing such dies can be costly. EMAG ECM offers a viable alternative, in the form of PECM, for the packaging and other industries using such dies.

With the PECM process on the PTS Series from EMAG ECM even the most complex 3-D contours can be created with minimal tool wear. Tooling costs are greatly reduced while the process stability is increased. But how does PECM accomplish this? PECM is an advancement of the analog electro-chemical machining (ECM) process through EMAG engineers.  Top Quality SurfacesEven exotic metals, such as nickel-based alloys, can be machined with the electro-chemical process without difficulties while achieving precise results. The basic principal remains the same whether ECM or PECM is used: the workpiece becomes the positive anode and the tool the negative cathode. An electrolyte solution flows between the two and causes the molecular erosion of the metal workpiece. Since the cathode (the tool) reflects a negative image of the desired die, material is only removed in the desired areas. PECM reduces the space between the cathode and anode through which the electrolyte solution flows while adding a mechanical oscillation to the tool, creating a more precise process.PECM is a Cost KillerThe advantages of PECM are clear when compared to the alternatives: there is little to no tool wear such as with milling or erosion, yet even the hardest of materials can be processed with maximum quality. Not only do the process costs sink, but the lifespan of the stamping die is increased when such hard metals are used. While processing the entire surface at once, PECM can achieve removal rates of 0.15-0.2 mm per minute. In contrast, milling removes material one line at a time, making PECM an interesting alternative to traditional chucking processes, especially when high-tensile materials are in use. 


Markus Isgro

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