Achieving Consistent Surface Finishes on Vertical Side Walls with Sinker EDMs


Achieving consistent side wall surface finishes is an operational need that becomes more critical when machining to finer finishes. Producing consistent vertical side wall surface quality increases in difficulty with deeper cavity depths and/or smaller and thinner electrode details. Due to a hydraulic effect that is created with the di-electric oil during orbiting routines, some electrodes can exhibit flexing or vibration using standard orbiting speeds, which can degrade the final produced surface quality.

There are some process and programming techniques that can be utilized to improve the consistency of the side wall surface finish. Makino machines with the MGH and Hyper-i control system allow for program control of the orbiting speeds using the G132 special settings command.

Using the G132 program line, an input value for Item-D will control the overall machine speed during orbiting. Item-D has a 5-digit number value, and setting this to a 20,000 or 30,000 value will slow the orbiting speed down. This method may increase cycle time slightly, but it will help to ensure proper finishing and will produce a more even and consistent side wall surface finish. Please reference the Machining Techniques manual (Section 5-6) or contact Makino Technical Support at 888-MAKINO4 for more information.


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A Q&A on Outputting EDM Machine Pick-Up Cycles


Q: Is it possible to output and save the measurement values that are determined by the wire or sinker EDM machine’s pick-up cycles?

A: In short, yes. The Hyper-i control for both wire and sinker EDM machines have a provision to save and export out the pick-up cycle measurement values. Each of the canned pick-up cycles on the machines have a [REPORT] function that can be accessed by pressing the clipboard icon located within each pick-up cycle.

Once the [REPORT] tab is opened, the operator can see the recorded values for the particular pick-up cycle’s measurement results, and data on the feature size, location, program number, machine coordinate value, and time/date stamp are recorded. The data that is captured and reported can also be customized from within the [REPORT] tab.

All of the data and values that are recorded by the [REPORT] function can be exported from the control in a Microsoft Excel file format (*.csv file). The ability to review and record the pick-up cycle measurement results provides an operator with part data that can be used to verify and potentially minimize post-machine inspection requirements.

During unattended operation, each pick-up cycle can be programmed directly into the NC G-Code so that basic dimensions of the machined detail can be measured. In operation, the pick-up cycle would be executed within the program upon completion of each machined detail, and the measurement result data would automatically be recorded. Once the operation is complete, the operator can review and export the measurement data for all machined features, and can inspect any features that report a less than desired measurement result before removing the work piece from the machine.

The measurement result reporting data is a great tool for a shop to verify detail size. The ability to save and export this data provides an excellent means and metric for statistical process tracking.



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Increasing EDM Output with Engineering Services


With increasing customer demands for faster lead times with lower manufacturing costs, we’ve seen an increase in requests from EDM shop owners seeking application engineering support.

In many cases, customers ask us to perform a full Turnkey where Makino takes full responsibility for all of the work holding/fixturing methods, NC programming, process optimization, and also the inspection process. Customers can also opt for a Sharekey process wherein they choose which particular engineering services they would like to have Makino provide. The end result is that customers receive a complete EDM process solution that is optimized for greatest productivity, highest achievable quality, and maximum profitability.

To meet demanding customer requirements, shop owners need application engineering services that guarantee cycle times, accuracy, quality, process capability and part cost. In today’s competitive environment, every step matters. That’s why, when you invest in high-performance EDM to boost your wire, sinker or hole-drilling capabilities, you should consider Turnkey or Sharekey engineering services to ensure the highest level of performance and efficiency.

Advantages of Having One Engineering Provider

Turnkey or Sharekey engineering solutions should demystify and simplify your EDM operations by serving as a single resource for:

  • Application engineering
  • Process design
  • Tooling design and building
  • Cost and cycle time guarantees
  • Inspection methods
  • Part inspection with statistical quality control
  • Project management
  • Runoffs and acceptance
  • Technology and process transfer
  • Process restart/recovery procedures
  • Robot automation integration
  • 3rd party equipment integration
  • Full documentation

These engineering solutions can guarantee cycle time, production and throughput rates that help grow your bottom line. Having one provider to work with can be a huge advantage by saving shop owners time and money otherwise spent in coordinating work among several suppliers.

Turnkey and Sharekey engineering services can also provide you with targeted, customized support that helps your shop realize the most value from your own engineering resources. So if your shop only requires one or a handful of the services listed, a turnkey can be developed with the exact resources your shop needs to help increase overall efficiency by enhancing underperforming areas of your shop floor.

What’s the Benefit for Your Shop?

To establish a reputation for making the parts that matter, your business needs to stay on top of changing market conditions. Working with an engineering services provider gives you the instant expertise and flexibility to adapt quickly to changing production volumes, lead time requirements and design engineering changes, while benefiting from improved efficiency and profitability.

When considering engineering services for your EDM applications, determine whether the provider offers:

  1. Single-Source Responsibility: Does the engineering services provider take full responsibility for every solution engagement? As a single source, the provider should apply R&D technology, applications experience and machine manufacturing experience to maximize performance. Does the provider also function as a single-source supplier for tooling or fixture vendors? Look for a provider with a vertically integrated, in-house application engineering service, which often includes fixture design and building.
  1. Access to “soft” resources: Soft EDM machining technologies include valuable knowledge of manufacturing techniques and experience in areas such as just-in-time production processes, total quality management and statistical quality control. Look for an application engineering services provider to deliver effective resources such as ongoing process design, statistical control, programming and continual process optimization.
  1. Freedom to focus on core competencies: You should be able to relax knowing your project will achieve guaranteed cycle times, production rates and throughput. Look for application engineering services that include comprehensive project management to monitor deadlines as well as track and handle all issues to guarantee a more reliable, robust EDM operation.

Be sure to seek out an engineering services provider that has a proven track record and strategic partnerships with leading companies in material handling, tooling and fixtures.

With decades of experience and hundreds of customers served globally, Makino is a leader in providing advanced engineering solutions for EDM applications and beyond. When bidding on your next project, find out how our engineering services can help you optimize processes and win. Visit www.makino.com/engineering-services to learn more.

Has your EDM shop used engineering services to support your business? Share your story with us in comments below!

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Reducing Sinker and Wire EDM Consumable Costs


A key area for improvement in EDM operations is the reduction of consumables. New technologies and machine settings limit ram or sinker EDM electrode wear to 0.1% while maintaining productive machining speeds. For wire EDM, new low-consumption technologies reduce the biggest expense—the wire itself—by as much as 50 percent.

Makino is an industry leader in low wire-consumption technologies for wire EDM. There are no special settings required to experience savings. Settings have been established and optimized for all wire sizes, materials and cutting conditions, including sealed and poor flush applications, to deliver the best combination of machining speed and low wire consumption.


In sinker EDM processes, wear on the electrode starts as soon as the erosion process begins. As metal is burned away on the workpiece, the electrode too gradually experiences wear and loses its fine details and is dimensionally changed, so minimizing electrode wear is not only critical to reducing costs and lead times, but also improving part accuracy.

From a general sinker EDM perspective, graphite electrode materials provide the most productive machining speed. The wear rate of a graphite electrode depends largely on the size of the detail, the electrode reduction amount, and the power settings used. Positive polarity power settings typically provide low electrode wear, but produce slower machining speeds. Negative polarity power settings provide faster machining speeds, but at the expense of additional electrode wear.


HyperCut technology for sinker EDM is a new generator function from Makino that increases power levels without requiring additional reduction on the electrode. The technology also minimizes electrode wear while providing the fastest possible machining speed. HyperCut improves roughing speeds by up to 30 percent without affecting workpiece accuracy or surface quality. Learn more about sinker EDM techniques for high speed, low electrode wear and fine finish machining in this free webinar.

How much are you spending each month on EDM consumables, and what are you doing to reduce consumption? Share with us in the comment field below!


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At IMTS, Visit Makino for Demos of Advanced EDM, Automation Solutions


How can the latest advancements in EDM technologies help you solve complex manufacturing challenges? How can you keep up with demand for increased volume and greater accuracy? Our answer: With innovative machining and automation technologies that enable you to produce more parts at a lower cost.

At IMTS 2016, Sept. 12-16 in Chicago, Makino plans to demonstrate wire, sinker and EDM hole-drilling solutions that equip manufacturers to meet today’s demand and realize greater opportunity. Attendees can learn about Makino’s unique capabilities for automation, combining creative problem solving and engineering expertise with best-in-class manufacturing technology. Visit the Makino booth S-8700 and explore ways to reduce costs and improve productivity through superior engineering expertise and technology.

While you’re at the show, meet with a Makino EDM engineer. In your one-on-one session, you can share challenges and discuss customized solutions for your manufacturing operations.

Book Your Lunch and Learn Session

Our popular Lunch and Learn seminars are returning for IMTS 2016. Seminars are hosted daily from 12:00 – 1:00pm in room S104 in the South Hall, and feature a wide range of topics for all shop environments. Oh and did we mention that lunch is on us?

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, Tyler Burke, president of Turbine Technologies in Farmington, Conn., will discuss the journey that led his company to make critical investments in new EDM hole-drilling machines. Hear how Burke’s past military experience provided valuable lessons in weighing investment decisions, and the process used to identify a machine platform purpose-built to match Turbine Technologies’ core competencies in the development of blade and vane components.

Be sure to reserve your spot for this informative Lunch and Learn session. Sign up today!

See Live Demos of EDM Machines

Makino is set to demonstrate three different EDM machines, Hyper-I control and automated EDM systems in Booth S-8700 in the McCormick Place South Hall. The technology displayed includes:

  1. EDAF3 — Sinker EDM

For manufacturers facing long hours of unattended burning, Makino’s EDAF3 has ArcFree technology for a worry-free process with high accuracy. Its fast servo response speeds reduce cycle time in multi-axis machining applications. The EDAF3 will be configured with the fine-hole, high-accuracy EDM drilling option to demonstrate an automated production application that uses an integrated Hirschmann rotary table and Fanuc robot. Closed-loop manufacturing will be demonstrated with an Alicona measuring system to create on-machine feedback to ensure final part accuracy in a single setup. The system is designed to cut, measure, make adjustments to the program and cut again autonomously, resulting in higher accuracy parts while reducing workpiece setup time and final workpiece inspection.

  1. EDBV8 — Hole-drilling EDM

As the aerospace and power-generation industries grow, so does demand to create large-part details. The EDBV8 (electrical discharge blade and vane) machine is a production-based EDM drilling platform that has been purpose-built for larger machine travels and greater workpiece payloads. It can accommodate fast-hole drilling in the production of cooling and shaped diffuser holes for gas turbine engines. A unique tooling system that integrates automatic tool change and guide changing in one assembly adds to the machine’s efficiency. EDBV8 is set up to demonstrate the production of a turbine engine component, and will highlight the machines fully submerged operations with fast and reliable break-thru detection.

  1. U6 H.E.A.T. — Wire EDM

Makino’s U6 H.E.A.T. (High-Energy Applied Technology) and Hypercut technologies combine for an ideal mix of speed, accuracy and surface-finish capability with large travels to tackle the most demanding wire EDM applications with new levels of user friendliness, efficiency and low wire consumption. The machine demonstration will feature processing of die/mold and Aerospace production details, and will access multiple sides of a workpiece using an integrated Hirschmann rotary table. The H.E.A.T. configuration dramatically increases cutting speed, especially in parts with poor or difficult flushing conditions as a result of the dual flush pump configuration, all while maintaining part straightness and accuracy. The addition of Makino’s new HyperCut three-pass machining technology enables the U6 to produce a 3 µmRz (16µinRa) surface finish with a 20 percent reduction in cycle time compared to previous technologies.

  1. Hyper-I — EDM Control Simulator

To showcase the new streamlined and universal Hyper-i control system for wire and sinker EDM, Makino has a freestanding simulator unit designed for greater user interaction. Using the most current interface technologies on smartphones and tablets, Makino’s graphical Hyper-i control has pinch, swipe and spread functions that give the operator a simple, efficient and natural feel. The user-friendliness is further enhanced with the integration of on-board digital manuals, intelligent E-Tech Doctor help functions, and e-learning training system, which empower the operator with practical support tools to boost machine productivity.

  1. Automated Die/Mold Machining Cell — with EROWA Robot

Automation of die and mold processes enables manufacturers to improve quality, increase utilization and reduce labor. Makino offers the machine technologies and engineering services necessary to implement various types of machine automation for die-mold applications, including hard milling, graphite milling, 5-axis machining, and sinker and wire EDMing. Working closely with third-party suppliers, such as EROWA, Makino creates complex and sophisticated material-handling cells to eliminate setups and prevent stack-up error, guaranteeing the highest levels of efficiency and precision. At IMTS, the EROWA ERC80 robot will shuttle workpieces and electrodes between an EDNC6 sinker EDM and V33i 5-axis graphite vertical machining center. This equipment is ideal for the low-volume, high-mix nature of die-mold applications, where automation helps shops achieve utilization rates approaching 85 percent.

Makino will display additional EDM machines in the SST booth located in the East Hall at E-5041. SST will also showcase their full line of EDM consumables such as wire, filters, di-resin systems, di-electric oil, cleaners and work holding tooling. Demonstrations in this booth include:

  1. U3 – Wire EDM

Makino’s U3 Wire EDM provides an ideal mix of speed, accuracy, and surface finish capability to tackle the most demanding applications. From superior machine construction to the revolutionary and intuitive Hyper-i control, the U3 offers many unique features that help to reduce manufacturing costs by improving productivity. The U3’s unique PICO Round Guide wire system dramatically reduces machine maintenance, and also features a tool-less Energizer Indexing system that provides fast and convenient indexing. The machine demonstration will show automatic small-hole wire threading, and Makino’s unique HyperCut technology that provides excellent accuracy and fine surface finishes of 16uinRa with just 3-pass machining (1 rough, 2 skim cuts). The machine will also feature a new coated wire called HyperCut from bedra that has been optimized to provide improved machining speed, accuracy, and surface finish in a super-clean precision wire.

  1. EDAF2 – Sinker EDM

The EDAF2 machine offers an ideal mix of high-speed machining, high accuracy and surface finish capability to efficiently tackle any job. Makino’s proprietary generator and adaptive power control technologies ensure efficient machining while achieving the highest level of accuracy and surface integrity. Dedicated settings such as HyperCut, SuperSpark™ IV and ArcFree empower the operator with practical tools to accomplish a wide variety of work. The powerful yet user-friendly Hyper-i control system complements and elevates the capability of the EDAF2 into a streamlined package that delivers a paradigm shift in efficiency and productivity to all operations. The machine demonstrations will focus on the processing of common die/mold components, such as support ribs, sub-gates, and cavity machining. The demonstration will highlight the ease of programming and productivity using the Hyper-i control.

Get a Sneak Preview of Makino at IMTS 2016

What’s the one thing you’re most interested in seeing or learning more about at IMTS 2016? Share with us in the comments below! For more information on Makino highlights at IMTS, check out the special IMTS 2016 Preview webinar.


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