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Electrochemical Machining (ECM)

Synonyms

Definition

Electrochemical machining is a metal removal-based manufacturing process that depends upon electrochemical dissolution for metal removal mechanism. It is one of the advanced manufacturing processes for producing parts with complex shapes using metals and alloys with low machinability.

Overview

Though electrochemical machining process is of relatively recent origin, the reverse process - electroplating - has been in use since a long time. The basic process is indicated in Fig. 1.
Electrochemical Machining (ECM), Fig. 1 Basic scheme of electrochemical machining

A metallic tool is fed at a constant rate toward the work, and the gap between the tool face and the work surface (in the machining area) is supplied with copious flow of an electrolyte (often brine) at a reasonably high rate. A large direct current at a low voltage (typically 10-15 V) is supplied