Advancements in the aerospace industry increased the need for precision machining that can handle complex part designs. Critical aerospace applications require safe, uniform, and high-performance components. Traditional computer numerical control (CNC) milling, turning, and other machining techniques can be inadequate for generating the necessary accuracy and complexity in parts ranging from housings with square corners to hexagon bolts or other parts with unusual configurations.

Wire electrical discharge machining (EDM), however, is an ideal solution for metal fabrication in the aerospace industry. EDM is a subtractive manufacturing technique that uses a thin, electrically conductive metal wire to create electrothermal energy. The resulting heat produces an electrical spark that’s sufficient for quickly creating high-precision cuts through a metal workpiece without requiring any pressure application.

Unlike traditional machining processes, there’s no physical contact between the cutting tool and the workpiece, and wire EDM doesn’t typically require secondary finishing services. It’s compatible with a variety of metals that are common in aerospace industry components. This cost-effective machining method works well on aluminum, steel, copper, bronze, brass, titanium, and Inconel, as well as other hard, exotic, and electrically conductive metals. 

Wire EDM has consistent accuracy capable of meeting the aerospace industry’s high standards. This blog will explore the advantages of wire EDM and why it’s a valuable choice for machining rugged aerospace components.

Why Choose Wire EDM Machining for Aerospace Components?

Wire EDM delivers several advantages to the aerospace market over traditional machining methods. It provides the capabilities for:

  • Greater part complexity. Wire EDM can accurately cut sharp corners, hollow-out sections, and produce intricate or small parts. It’s also well-suited to the thick materials and hard metals that aerospace applications often require. The fine brass or copper wire that EDM equipment utilizes enables better precision and more complex cuts than traditional turning centers and milling machines.
  • Precision. Wire EDM is capable of generating uniform, repeatable parts with very tight tolerances, making it an ideal solution for complex designs, shapes, and geometric angles. It can meet the dimensional accuracy and consistency needs that components for critical aerospace applications require.
  • Lights-out production. Employees work during their shifts and then go home when the machine shop closes for the day. Wire EDM machines, however, do not need breaks as humans do. While the process is slower than traditional precision machining, wire EDM machines require less time to set up and they can run overnight without an operator. This automation substantially increases productivity and decreases production costs, all while allowing for fast turn times in high-volume production runs.
  • Higher accessibility. Wire EDM is a more accessible option for certain fabrication processes than traditional machining. Using broaching as an example, fewer machine shops are offering broaching services today. This old-fashioned but highly accurate machining method uses a special toothed tool for producing components with complex configurations. However, wire EDM engineering can achieve similar results.

Choose Us for Your Precise Aerospace Manufacturing Needs

The aerospace industry relies on the accuracy, tight tolerances, intricate cutting capabilities, and material versatility that wire EDM has to offer. At South Shore Manufacturing, we have over thirty years of experience in creating complex or intricate parts with tolerances of ±0.0001 inches for the aerospace industry. We’re an AS9100D, ISO 9001:2015, and ISO 13485 certified business, and our wide selection of in-house services, from multi-axis wire EDM and CNC machining to laser cutting and engraving, allows us to deliver reliable, seamless solutions with on-time delivery and competitive pricing.

Contact us to learn more about our capabilities for producing precision wire EDM parts, or request a quote today to begin your aerospace project.