VSEP filters mixed metal hydroxides and improves efficiency at an Electrochemical Machining facility

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Courtesy of New Logic Research, Inc.

Electro-chemical machining (ECM) technology is a relatively new process that is utilized by aviation engine parts manufacturers. The parts manufactured include: forged cases for turbine engines, gas turbine fan and compressor blades, and machined turbine vanes, blades, disks, seals and shrouds. This technology is used to produce turbine engine components primarily from nickel-based and titanium-based alloys. With the increasing use of computers to design turbine engines, the shape of components has become much more complex. The ECM technology allows precise machining of these complex shapes, which are often nearly impossible to achieve through conventional methods.

In the ECM process, a workpiece (either bar stock or oversized forging) is positively charged. An inverse of the shape that is to be produced (called the cathode) is negatively charged. The cathode and part to be machined are then brought together with a high-pressure circulation of a salt solution electrolyte in a DC electrolytic cell. The end result is a finished component that has close tolerances and a very good surface finish. Compared to conventional milling operations that require a series of passes to create a full contoured shape, ECM technology machines the entire contoured shape with one pass, regardless of the hardness of the metal.

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