4 Reasons to Use EDM Services for Space Components
Once considered a niche capability, EDM, or Electrical Discharge Machining, is now a mainstay in the aerospace and space industries manufacturing world.
EDM is a highly precise technique that uses an electrical discharge from an electrode to quickly and accurately remove material from any electrically conductive material (the workpiece).
In recent years, Micro-Tronics has expanded into the space industry to work with a variety of customers. We’ve used our EDM services to manufacture small parts that fit on the tip of your finger to large thrust chambers for rocket engines.
When producing critical components like those used in space applications, manufacturing must be repeatable, controlled, and precise. No one understands this better than Micro-Tronics—that’s why we put our EDM services to use for space components.
Why Use EDM Services for Space Components?
Many factors come into play when determining if EDM is the best choice for a part. Here are four reasons you might choose EDM manufacturing for space components:
1. Low-volume, high-precision
Compared to commercial flights, which take off about 45,000 times per day, space missions are much less frequent, so space customers typically request low-volume orders. Like all aerospace applications, components must be exceptionally precise. It can be expensive to produce low volumes of precise components using traditional machining—but that isn’t always the case with EDM services.
Unlike CNC machining, EDM manufacturing can be cost-effective for small orders because tooling can be minimal and set up times are typically less. We can achieve the necessary precision for space components at low volumes while maintaining reasonable customer costs.
EDM services are well-suited for machining complex geometries because of the unique nature of the machining process. Virtually any contour and varying tapers can be machined precisely via either Wire EDM or Sinker EDM. Extremely thin sections can also be machined because the electrode never contacts the workpiece. Non-contact material removal eliminates cutting stress and mechanical distortion.
We can easily cut precision keyways, hexes, internal splines, shaft pockets and slots, and other special shapes without the need to make custom (expensive and long lead time) broaches.
The cuts are also burr-free because of the non-contact process.
3. Material versatility
Space components often require exotic, unusual alloys to withstand the extreme demands of space. Machining Inconel, a common material for space applications, using traditional CNC machining is especially difficult due to the material’s high work hardening rate, high cutting forces, and tendency to generate a lot of heat during machining.
Fortunately, those factors are irrelevant when using EDM because the process removes material using electrical sparks instead of cutting tools. There is no need to worry about tool wear, chatter, work hardening, or other issues that can compromise the accuracy and precision of a component during traditional machining operations.
4. Safety and precision
In the high-stakes world of space travel, safety is the first priority. Precise components are essential to ensuring everything from rocket engines to control surfaces function properly.
EDM manufacturing is an excellent choice for space components due to its extreme precision. We can reliably achieve tolerances of feature accuracies up to +/- .0001” using our EDM services.
Harness the Power of EDM Manufacturing with Micro-Tronics
As EDM manufacturing remains a critical manufacturing technology in the space industry, choose Micro-Tronics for your manufacturing needs. We’ve been perfecting our EDM services since 1968, so trust us when we say we’re ahead of the curve.