Kennametal How PECM redefines machining capabilities
USA - Precision Electrochemical Machining (PECM) is a non-conventional machining process that can help deliver high-quality components productively. We have asked Kennametal Precision Surface Solutions product manager Patrick Matt to explain more about the process.
ETMM: What is PECM?
Patrick Matt: Precision electrochemical machining (PECM) is an electrochemical cavity-sinking erosion process with oscillating electrodes and a regulated working gap. It applies a pulsed direct current between the electrode and the workpiece. The workpiece dissolves anodically in accordance with the geometry of the subsequent electrode. This gives rise to complex geometrical shapes in practically all electrically conductive metals, e.g. in highly-tempered steel, rolling bearing steel, powder-metallurgy steel and super-alloys. PECM thereby also taps applications which could not be manufactured feasibly or at all in the past. Shaping, drilling, or micro structuring on external or internal areas are typical applications PECM can achieve efficiently. Regarding tolerances, the process is able of achieving quality in a 2 to 5 µm range. Roughing, finishing, polishing are combined into one operation.
ETMM: What is the background with this technology?
Matt: Historically speaking, PECM technology first emerged in the 1990’s, exclusively associated with adding fine details to razor blade manufacturing. Machines appeared on the market in 2006, and for the past three years, Kennametal Precision Surface Solutions and PEMTEC became partners to provide PECM Centers to global regions, including China.