Micro-wire electrodischarge machining (μWEDM) has been developed since few years. μWEDM is now being used to machine a wide variety of miniature and micro parts from metals, alloys, sintered materials, cemented carbides, ceramics and silicon. Efforts are always running to improve the micro-machining removal rates, without loss of accuracy and to improve the excellent surface finish and dimensional control already associated with normal WEDM.
μWEDM allowed success in the production of newer materials, especially for the aerospace and medical industries. μWEDM is being used for the machining of micro-electrodes, micro-pipes, micro-shafts which are being assembled in miniature devices. μWEDM is also used for the manufacture of precise blanking, drawing and injection dies. The development of miniature electromagnetic motors has led to a demand for miniature gearboxes with micro-gears. Micro-orifices for paint spray nozzles and inkjet printers could be made by μWEDM. Micro-forceps and micro-scissors for miniature neurosurgical instruments are recently fabricated by μWEDM.
The objective of the present paper is to highlight the state-of-the-art of μWEDM. Emphasis is localized on the newer beneficial techniques encountered with such a process in the industrial and medical fields. The paper also discusses the user-faced problems of such a new technique. Moreover, the paper explores the recent hybridization technologies with the goal of achieving increased performance efficiency and surface roughness improvement in an era of component miniaturization.