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Electrodes for spark erosion

SPARKAL® EDM electrodes for spark erosion

Spark erosion (EDM/electrical discharge machining) can be used to machine even extremely hard materials such as hardened steel, titanium, and carbide. This is a thermal, erosive procedure: electrical discharges occur between an electrode and the conductive workpiece that is to be machined. The flying sparks detach small particles from the workpiece and this can be controlled precisely to give it the required geometry and surface.

Our tungsten-based EDM electrodes guarantee unparalleled performance thanks to their composition and microstructure. And they have done so for the past 60 years. We have developed special WCu materials for spark erosion – our SPARKAL® EDM electrodes.

Your advantages at a glance:

  • Low wear 

  • Optimal edge sharpness

  • Excellent machinability

  • High level of efficiency

  • Without graphite, no endangerment to health

Advantages when machining steel and carbides

We have a committed team of tungsten heavy metal alloy researchers and developers who ensure the high quality of our Sparkal® electrodes. We are continually optimizing our products in close cooperation with our customers. The results are impressive:

High wear resistance
Due to the high melting point of tungsten (3420°C), WCu electrodes have a considerably longer service life than copper or graphite electrodes, in particular, for small electrodes which have undergone complex machining. As the production costs of complex electrodes often far exceed the pure material costs, the use of Sparkal® represents a considerable cost saving due to the extended electrode service life.

Extremely sharp contours
The low wear levels of SPARKAL® EDM electrodes make it possible to focus the arc precisely and achieve greater geometrical accuracy in the workpiece than is possible when using pure Cu or graphite electrodes. You can machine your products to a high level of precision and achieve low machining tolerances.

High surface quality
The use of Sparkal® during the finishing process results in outstanding surface quality and, in particular, eliminates the need for circular electrode movements. This is possible thanks to the fine, uniform grain and freedom from pores offered by Sparkal®.

Very good machinability
The considerably greater modulus of elasticity and greater hardness offered by Sparkal® lead to exceptionally good machinability. Compared to copper, there is practically no material deformation and the level of burr formation is negligible. Unlike graphite, there is no material chipping and the geometrical accuracy of the electrodes is improved. Thanks to these material properties, it is possible to manufacture Sparkal® rods and tubes in extremely small diameters and particularly long lengths.

Improved environmental and working conditions
Machining with graphite electrodes requires the use of special extraction systems to remove dust, prevent graphite-smeared floors, and keep the air clean. In contrast, machining with Sparkal® does not require any additional equipment.

From the powder to the finished electrode

From the powder to the finished electrode

Plansee erosion electrodes are made using powder metallurgy. All the production steps, from powder to the final product, are performed in-house and are subject to ISO 9001:2000 and AS/EN/JISQ 9100 as well as Plansee's own strict quality standards. The key step in the manufacturing of SPARKAL® EDM electrodes is infiltration. After the porous tungsten blank has been compacted, it is infiltrated with copper, sintered, and then machined to produce the geometry required by the customer. SPARKAL® EDM electrodes produced using our WCu composite exhibit high wear resistance combined with excellent electrical conductivity.

    Mixing alloys
    Heat treatment
    Mechanical processing
    Quality assurance
OxideMolymet (Chile) is the world's largest processor of molybdenum ore concentrates and our main supplier of molybdenum trioxide. The Plansee Group holds a 21.15% share in Molymet. Global Tungsten & Powders (USA) is a division of the Plansee Group and our main supplier of tungsten metal powder.

For more details about the range of materials and the special properties of Sparkal®, please see our W-based Metal Matrix Composites page. Would you like personal support in selecting the right Sparkal® material for your application? Our sales team would be happy to help. 

To the W-MMC material page

Plansee offers a wide range of electrode materials.  You can order SPARKAL® EDM electrodes from stock in our Plansee online shop.

Order erosion electrodes in the Plansee online shop