Ter Hoek
Ter Hoek

What is PECM?

PECM (Precision Electro-Chemical Machining) is a highly advanced machining technique with a high degree of reproducibility, allowing products to be machined to high precision (with an accuracy of up to 0.002 mm). Electrical tension causes the material to dissolve in a controlled manner and form an electrolyte, which conducts the electrical current. This makes the technique suitable for many electrically conductive materials. Unlike machining techniques such as wire EDM, no heat is released during the PECM process. As a result, no mechanical or thermal stress is exerted on the material. In addition, no contamination of the material occurs because the workpiece and the electrode do not come into contact. PECM is thus very suitable for mechanically highly-stressed workpieces whose end result must not contain microcracks or contamination from foreign materials in the surface.

The video below demonstrates how PECM works.

The electrode used during PECM is a negative form of the desired product and moves toward the workpiece in a pulsating motion. The electrolyte, a chemical compound that includes a saline solution in water, is pressure-pumped through the opening between the workpiece and the electrode. The parts of the workpiece that have dissolved are thus safely washed away and no longer come into contact with the workpiece.

The tremendous accuracy of PECM allows for an extremely low roughness value (0.03 Ra). Surfaces with such a low roughness value have a smooth surface, making them easy to clean, among other things. This is essential for products used for medical technology, for example. The closed structure of the surface means that medicine residues are not left behind, preventing cross-contamination of different medicines.

The advantages of PECM

In addition to the excellent surface finish, the PECM technique has more advantages. The extreme precision of PECM allows for incredible design freedom. Complex shapes and contours can be realized, even for fragile workpieces. Furthermore, the extreme accuracy is essential for parts subject to high-quality requirements.

Another advantage of PECM is its high process stability. The electrodes used do not wear out as quickly as in the die-sinking process, so a large series of products can be manufactured with one piece of electrode – with exactly the same precision. This results in lower tooling costs. Furthermore, multiple parts can be manufactured per manufacturing cycle. Thus, you can manufacture multiple parts in the same time as manufacturing one part.

As mentioned previously, another advantage of the PECM technique is that it can be produced tension-free. During the process, the workpiece and the electrode do not come into contact, so there is no mechanical or thermal stress on the workpiece. Also, no heat is released, and the material is dissolved rather than melted away. Thus, the end result will not contain microcracks or foreign materials from the electrode.

Why PECM by Ter Hoek?

In addition to deploying this machining method for customers, Ter Hoek, as previously mentioned, develops test tools for PECM machines, with which prototypes of a product are made. If it is successfully established that the product can be manufactured using this method, Ter Hoek will supply the final tool for series manufacturing.

PEMTec is a global organization that develops machines for this form of electrochemical precision machining. Ter Hoek has been the exclusive PEM Application Center (PAC) for the Benelux for PEMTec since autumn 2016. In short, as an AS9100-certified specialist, we can realize any customer’s wish in the field of tooling and series manufacturing.

What are the costs for PECM?

Ter Hoek manufactures precision components for a varied (international) customer base. As a specialist in PECM technology, we offer high-quality custom solutions, also for series manufacturing orders.

The PECM technique thus fits in perfectly with our character as an innovative problem solver. We lead the way by always going the extra mile, even with a technique such as PECM. This requires additional custom work because a test piece or prototype has to be made first. By optimally combining all our techniques, we can distinguish ourselves from competitors. This will help you take the next step. We will be happy to advise you on PECM applications.

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What are the costs for PECM?

Working with Ter Hoek means, in addition to custom work, a high-quality end result. The costs of PECM depend on a variety of factors, such as the desired precision, shape, and material used. There may be additional costs associated with the PECM technique because a test tool must first be made. Nevertheless, PECM can be more economical than other machining techniques, especially for the series manufacturing of large numbers of parts that must meet high-quality requirements. With our extensive knowledge of precision components, we are guaranteed to offer you the best custom solution.

Would you like to know more about PECM or the costs involved? The specialists at Ter Hoek will be happy to think along with you to find the best custom solution for your problem, free from any obligation! Contact us and call us now on 0548 – 54 08 07 or e-mail us at info@terhoek.com.

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