Machining of micro/miniature dies and moulds by electrical discharge machining - Recent development
Mass production of micro or miniature parts is increasingly based on replication technologies, such as hot embossing, micro-injection moulding, and bulk forming. These technologies rely on the applications of high thermal and mechanical loads on the forming tools and especially on the integrated microstructures. To achieve sufficient tool life, functional tool materials like hardened steel or cemented carbide are used. The mechanical properties of these materials are a limitation to the variety of structuring technologies which can be applied. Due to their non-contact thermal material removal mechanism electrical discharge machining technologies offer a suitable alternative, in terms of obtainable structure dimensions and accuracy. This paper presents an overview on the state of the art of applicable micro-electrical discharge machining technologies for applications in the field of micro/miniature die and mould making.