Sustainable Micro-Manufacturing of Micro-Components via Micro Electrical Discharge Machining
Micro-manufacturing emerged in the last years as a new engineering area with the potential of increasing peoples’ quality of life through the production of innovative micro-devices to be used, for example, in the biomedical, micro-electronics or telecommunication sectors. The possibility to decrease the energy consumption makes the micro-manufacturing extremely appealing in terms of environmental protection. However, despite this common belief that the micro-scale implies a higher sustainability compared to traditional manufacturing processes, recent research shows that some factors can make micro-manufacturing processes not as sustainable as expected. In particular, the use of rare raw materials and the need of higher purity of processes, to preserve product quality and manufacturing equipment, can be a source for additional environmental burden and process costs. Consequently, research is needed to optimize micro-manufacturing processes in order to guarantee the minimum consumption of raw materials, consumables and energy. In this paper, the experimental results obtained by the micro-electrical discharge machining (micro-EDM) of micro-channels made on Ni–Cr–Mo steel is reported. The aim of such investigation is to shed a light on the relation and dependence between the material removal process, identified in the evaluation of material removal rate (MRR) and tool wear ratio (TWR), and some of the most important technological parameters ( i.e. , open voltage, discharge current, pulse width and frequency), in order to experimentally quantify the material waste produced and optimize the technological process in order to decrease it.
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