Concept for an actuated variable tool electrode for use in sinking EDM
Typically, a large number of individual tool electrodes has to be used in sinking electrical discharge machining (sinking EDM) to successfully machine a single workpiece. Due to non-uniform wear and insufficient flushing of the working gap electrode geometries have a significant effect on the process efficiency. This paper discusses the use of an actuated variable tool electrode for sinking EDM to reduce the number of required tool electrodes and to increase the overall process efficiency. A miniaturised linear actuator was developed to individually move electrode segments to form the target shape for the tool electrode. The coordinated actuation of bundled electrode segments introduces new methods for the active flushing within the working gap, which cannot be implemented in conventional sinking EDM. Intelligent sinking strategies can further improve process efficiency by creating and sinking sub-geometries into the workpiece offering improved flushing conditions compa red to the original geometry.