ECM is often characterized as « reverse electroplating », in that it removes material instead of adding usinage PDF. The pressurized electrolyte is injected at a set temperature to the area being cut.
The feed rate is the same as the rate of « liquefication » of the material. As far back as 1929, an experimental ECM process was developed by W. Gussef, although it was 1959 before a commercial process was established by the Anocut Engineering Company. Lazarenko are also credited with proposing the use of electrolysis for metal removal. Much research was done in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly in the gas turbine industry. The rise of EDM in the same period slowed ECM research in the west, although work continued behind the Iron Curtain.
The original problems of poor dimensional accuracy and environmentally polluting waste have largely been overcome, although the process remains a niche technique. The ECM process is most widely used to produce complicated shapes such as turbine blades with good surface finish in difficult to machine materials. It is also widely and effectively used as a deburring process. In deburring, ECM removes metal projections left from the machining process, and so dulls sharp edges. This process is fast and often more convenient than the conventional methods of deburring by hand or nontraditional machining processes. ECM process can be more economical if a conductive wire is used as a tool since it helps to prevent tool profiling. Using wire-tool allows cutting complex shapes with no need for large amount of power supplies.
Complex, concave curvature components can be produced easily by using convex and concave tools. Tool wear is zero, same tool can be used for producing infinite number of components. No direct contact between tool and work material so there are no forces and residual stresses. The surface finish produced is excellent.
Only electrically conductive materials can be machined. It can not be used for soft material. 1 amp per square mm to 5 amps per square mm. Thus, for a small plunge cut of a 1 by 1 mm tool with a slow cut, only 0. However, for a higher feed rate over a larger area, more current would be used, just like any machining process—removing more material faster takes more power.