There are almost always EDM jobs available for a qualified person, which is especially true if he has been trained as an apprentice in injection mold making or tool and die making. This background gives a great advantage over somebody who is merely an operator, read on…
How To Get One Of The Good EDM Jobs
In the US, there are a few outstanding schools that offer any training specifically for electrical discharge machining. It is usually a part of an overall tool and die course, along with blueprint reading, CAD/CAM programming, surface grinding, CNC milling machine operation and lathe work.
Here are several schools with electrical discharge machining/injection mold making/tool design programs:
- Ridgewater College
- UMass Lowell
- Waukesha County Technical College
Some of the traits that are advantageous to work in this precision trade are: attention to detail, good understanding of numbers and math, ability to multi-task, interest in programming, willingness to be interrupted and later resume work where you left off, ability to work with other team members.
EDM Is Stressful
Because the workpieces that end up in the EDM are often nearly completed, there is a high level of stress. One wrong set up and the job can be scrapped. This can run into the $1,000’s. Most employers are quite understanding, up to a point.
Everyone makes mistakes, but if they continue for long, you will have to find a different type of work, hopefully within the same company!
It can be quite interesting to work in this department. There are always new things to learn, and you never really master everything. You might be able to take programming classes from a company such as Esprit, which offers Esprit SolidWire CAM Software. This is a very popular wire EDM program.
CAD Programs For EDM
The CimatronE Electrode and GibbsCAM Wire-EDM programs are highly recommended. These are expressly made for the process, unlike many other CAD/CAM programs that are more or less adapted to fit.
You also will be involved with some of the most sophisticated machine tooling in the world. This industry is always advancing and developing new products and methods, and technology is global, so you will learn a great deal on the job.
Learn From EDM Suppliers
Some of the leading companies for electrical discharge machining are Charmilles-Agie, Sodick, Makino, Brother, Japax, Mitsubishi, and Hitachi. Many companies will send you to the training programs offered by these companies, which is a great way to learn and become exposed to the industry.
As an EDM operator, you must have a mastery of precision inspection and set-ups. You will need to know all about the granite surface plate, drop indicator, test indicator, optical comparator, surface gage, gage block set, pin gage set, as well as many other common tool room tools.
This is also a great way to enter a plastics company and start a career path that can lead in many exciting directions.