Electro Chemical Cutting
MicroGroup, now a part of TE Connectivity, maintains an entire electrochemical cutting (ECC) department that handles most of the company’s extensive cutting volume, due to the exceptional quality and economy offered by the process.
The electrochemical cut off saw uses a copper abrasive blade in conjunction with a DC power supply and special salt solution. The combination produces a completely burr-free part with a zero defect level.
Electrochemical cutting has many advantages over other methods. Fixtures are designed to hold multiple tubes or wires to be cut, limited only by their diameters. For stock diameters of .012″ (30Ga), fixtures will hold 121 lengths. For diameters of .203″ (6Ga), fixtures will hold nine lengths. The computerized automatic feed mechanism, combined with high volume fixturing capability, makes this a production-friendly process. Due to the electrolytic action, the finish of the cut faces is excellent with all sharp edges typically removed, leaving a small radius of approximately .001″ to .003″.
The tightest length tolerance that can be held on the electrochemical saw is approximately ±.002″. However, combined with a secondary electrochemical grind operation, it is possible to achieve a cut length to ±.001″ on some stock. Unlike EDM and laser, which produce a localized heat-affected recast layer, electrochemical cutting will not induce heat or affect the metallurgy of the work piece. Both thin and thick materials can be electro chemically cut with similarly good results, unlike other forms of cutting, and they do not require a subsequent deburring step.