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Media post: 4 Reasons the Auto Industry is Using Wire EDM (Electrical Discharge Machining)

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Many methods of manufacturing are used in the production of cars, and as with any major industry there are changes, evolutions and trends that influence which approaches are adopted over time.

Electrical discharge machining (EDM) is gaining traction in this field at the moment, and there are many reasons behind its use in the creation of car parts. So what is EDM and why is it preferable to other techniques?

EDM explained

There are various names used to describe the EDM process, including wire erosion and spark machining. The simplest explanation is that instead of using mechanical force to remove material from a work piece, thermal energy is deployed instead.

In this case, the energy is generated by immersing the material being machined in a dielectric fluid, then sending a voltage through the fluid, with a tool electrode generating a spark which erodes the material, allowing it to be manipulated into the desired shape.

In the case of wire EDM, the tool electrode is made from, you guessed it, a slender strip of wire. Equivalents, such as hole EDM and sinker EDM, are also available, although are not used as frequently in the auto industry.

Buying wire EDM and other EDM machinery

While major automakers tend to procure EDM equipment new, it’s possible for smaller firms to pick up reconditioned EDM gear at more affordable price points.

That way, it’s easier and more affordable to machine spare components, even for older models which may not have any official parts in production any longer.

Benefits of wire EDM

There are a number of motivations for car manufacturers to pick wired EDM in place of solutions they might have used in the past, such as:


Many auto parts are incredibly complicated; from engine components to exhaust systems, intricacy is everywhere. This fits in well with the accuracy and precision afforded by wire EDM machinery. Even entirely custom designs can be brought to life with little fuss using this technique.


Building cars needs to be done at scale, as mass production is the only way to make it affordable and keep up with demand from customers.

Wire EDM has the ability to fulfill the capacity requirements of modern auto production lines, all while being able to get consistent results even when interacting with fragile materials which would not be suitable for mechanical machining.


Because of the aforementioned precision and no-contact nature of wire EDM, there’s less waste when workpieces are processed at speed.

This allows automakers to save money and also ensure that there’s less likelihood of production being disrupted or delayed unnecessarily. When deadlines are tight, this can make a big difference from a cost perspective.


Machining through EDM can be largely automated, with computer aided manufacturing making light work of tasks that would take humans significantly longer to complete. It can even outpace older methods of mass production, not only in the car industry but elsewhere as well.

Additional aspects to consider

While we have discussed how wire EDM is being implemented in the production of modern cars when the design is finalized and the green light has been given to ramp up lines ahead of a launch, this isn’t the only area where the tech comes into play.

Most notably, EDM is an ally for automakers during the prototyping phase, as it means they can more easily create components from designs cooked up by engineers, and can thus justify pursuing innovations rather than having to play it safe because of concerns over cost.

So in short, one of the reasons that cars have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years is down to the influence of EDM.

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