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Materials Today: Proceedings 5 (2018) 6313–6320

ICMPC 2017

Effects of process parameters on the performance of electrical

discharge machining of AISI M42 high speed tool steel alloy

Rajesh Choudhary. a*, Gagandeep Singh. b

Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIMIT Malout, Punjab, 152107, India
Lecturer, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIMIT, Malout, Punjab, 152107, India


High strength temperature resistant alloys used in sophisticated applications in the industries are hard to machine
owning to their high strength and improved mechanical properties. They are preferably machined by non-
conventional machining methods due to their better control and automation. Among these non-conventional
machining methods Electrical discharge machining (EDM) is one of the versatile machining process used by the
manufacturing and automotive industries. In this study, such alloy AISI M42 tool steel used in aero-space and
thermal applications is machined with EDM. The effect of specific machining parameters on MRR (Metal Removal
Rate) was investigated during machining.During EDM commercial grade EDM-50 oil was used as di-electric fluid
in this study.The present study reveals that maximum MRR was observed at -ve tool polarity. The most influential
parameter effecting this process was found to be tool polarity followed by current.

© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Selection and/or Peer-review under responsibility of 7th International Conference of Materials Processing and Characterization.

Keywords:Electric Discharge Machining (EDM); Pulse on-time; Voltage gap; Metal removal rate (MRR); Tool Polarity; AISI M42 tool steel
alloy; Di-electric fluid.

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +91-8427752536; fax: +91-01637-264511.


2214-7853© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Selection and/or Peer-review under responsibility of 7th International Conference of Materials Processing and Characterization.
6314 Rajesh Choudhary et al./ Materials Today: Proceedings 5 (2018) 6313–6320

EDM Electric discharge machine
EDD Electric discharge drilling
MRR Material removal rate
τ Duty cycle
TON Pulse on-time
ULS Maximum upward lift of quill
OT Over temperature interlock

1. Introduction

EDM (Electrical discharge machining) is a non-traditional machining process in which erosion of material takes
place due to thermal energy released on a metal surface for a small duration on an electrically conductive workpiece.
EDM is mainly used because of its potency to machine low machinability materials, high strength temperature
resistant alloys, such as heat treated tool steels, composites, super alloys, ceramics, carbides, heat resistant steels etc.
being widely used in die and mold making industries, aerospace, aeronautics and nuclear industries. No mechanical
force exists between workpiece and tool because there is no contact between them. The electrical sparks generated
during process causes evaporation of material from workpiece and electrode. The function of di-electric fluid is to
insulate the workpiece from the tool electrode after machining and clear the debris between machining gap. Di-
electric fluid used to insulate the workpiece and to do the cleaning of eroded metal is EDM-50 grade oil. The
objective of the study was to determine the effect of machining parameters on MRR like Current, Tool polarity,
Pulse on-time, and Gap voltage for AISI M42 alloy. This study also discloses the optimized conditions for this alloy
for apposite MRR.

1.1. Electric Discharge Machining (EDM) Setup

EDM setup comprises of Tool electrode, Di-electric fluid reservoir, Workpiece (electrically conductive), Servo
system for tool control, Pulse generator. Experiments were performed on EDM Die-sinking (make: Sparkonix) with
servo-head mechanism.

Fig. 1. (a) Schematic of EDM. [1]; (b) Sparkonix EDM m/c setup.

Both electrode and work-piece are immersed in dielectric fluid and separated by a minute distance called
machining gap. This gap is maintained by the servo system mechanism. Di-electric acts as a good insulator and
provides sufficient cooling to take care of the redundant heat. The metal evaporated from the surface is removed
with high pressure flushing di-electric fluid between machining gap as shown in above Fig 1 (a) (b).
Rajesh Choudhary et al./ Materials Today: Proceedings 5 (2018) 6313–6320 6315

2. Experimental Details

Experiments were conducted on ZNC/ENC35 EDM machine manufactured by Sparkonix (India) Pvt. Ltd. The
machine works at maximum spark ratings of 35A and supply of 415V, 3Phase, 4.5KVA. High speed AISI M42 tool
steel alloy was machined on the aforementioned setup.

2.1. Selection of Workpiece

Steel tool alloy AISI M42 was chosen as workpiece because of its diverse applications in industry ranging from
power generation to aero-space industries. Major alloying elements are cobalt and molybdenum. Table 1 shows the
chemical composition of the alloy steel.

Table 1. Chemical composition of alloy AISI M42. [2]

Element Composition (%age)

Carbon 1.05-1.15
Chromium 3.5-4.25
Tungsten 1.15-1.85
Molybdenum 9-10
Cobalt 7.75-8.75
Manganese 0.15-0.40
Vanadium 0.15-0.4
Phosphorus 0.03 max
Silicon 0.15-0.65
Sulphur 0.03 max
Iron Balance

The workpiece material was machined to thin slabs of 5mm thickness and the experiments were performed on these
slab as per the design of experiment (DOE) plan shown in Fig 2 & Fig 3.

Fig. 2. Workpiece slabs and tool electrode

2.2 Tool electrode

Tool used for the EDM should be electrically conductive, so copper tool electrode was used for the Electric
Discharge Machining (EDM) of Steel Alloy AISI M42. It is a quotidian tool used for the EDM process in the
Industries, due to its low cost, good electrical conductivity, good surface finish.
6316 Rajesh Choudhary et al./ Materials Today: Proceedings 5 (2018) 6313–6320

Fig. 3. Copper tool electrode.

2.3 Design of Experiments

Taguchi method is used in this study for optimization of machining parameters in EDM process. The Taguchi
method involves reducing the variation in a process through robust design of experiments. In taguchi results are
analyzed to achieve following objectives:
• To analyze importance of individual variables.
• Analyze response under optimum condition.
• Minimum no of experiments for desired output.

L18 orthogonal array was chosen

based upon specific parameters
considered and their sub-levels;
D.O.F. Parameters chosen in this
study were Tool polarity, Current,
Pulse on-time, Voltage.

Fig. 4. Taguchi’s DOE flow chart.

Table 2. DOE based on taguchi method.

S. No. Tool Current Pulse on- Voltage S. No. Tool Current Pulse on- Voltage
polarity (A) time (V) polarity (A) time (V)
(µs) (µs)
1 + 4 50 50 10 - 4 50 60
2 + 4 100 55 11 - 4 100 50
3 + 4 150 60 12 - 4 150 55
4 + 8 50 50 13 - 8 50 55
5 + 8 100 55 14 - 8 100 60
6 + 8 150 60 15 - 8 150 50
7 + 12 50 55 16 - 12 50 60
8 + 12 100 60 17 - 12 100 50
9 + 12 150 50 18 - 12 150 55
Rajesh Choudhary et al./ Materials Today: Proceedings 5 (2018) 6313–6320 6317

2.4 Machining Parameters

Pulse on time, Voltage, Current, Tool polarity are the process parameters which are considered in this study.
Generally as shown in Above Fig 4 and Table 2, parameters are categorized in to two categories:
• Electrical parameters.
• Non-Electrical Parameters

Fig. 5. Ishikawa cause and effects diagram for EDM process. [3]

In this study machining parameters like pulse on time, Current, Voltage, Tool Polarity are considered. Based on
D.O.F of the process and the sub-levels of the parameters as per Taguchi’s Robust design of experiments machining
parameters were categorized. Table 3 shows the various levels of selected machining parameters.

Table 3. Machining parameters.

Parameters Units Level 1 Level 2 Level 3

Tool polarity + -
Current A 4 8 12
Pulse on time µs 50 100 150
Voltage V 50 55 60

3. Results and Discussions

Experiments were conducted based on Taguchi’s DOE approach. 18 experiments were conducted on the AISI
M42 alloy. Highest MRR was noticed at +ve tool polarity and 150µs pulse on time.

Fig. 6. Machined workpiece after EDM.

6318 Rajesh Choudhary et al./ Materials Today: Proceedings 5 (2018) 6313–6320

Machining time taken was10 minutes for the machining. MINITAB V.17 was used for analysis ofexperimental
results as shown in above Fig 5 Fig 6 and Table 3 ,.

Table 4. Experimental results for MRR.

S.No. Tool Pulse Voltage Current MRR S.No. Tool Pulse Voltage Current MRR
Polarity on time (V) (A) (g/min) Polarity on time (V) (A) (g/min)
(µs) (µs)
1 + 50 50 4 0.0026 10 - 50 50 4 0.0017
2 + 100 55 4 0.0053 11 - 100 55 4 0.0022
3 + 150 60 4 0.0116 12 - 150 60 4 0.0051
4 + 50 50 8 0.0526 13 - 50 50 8 0.067
5 + 100 55 8 0.0672 14 - 100 55 8 0.077
6 + 150 60 8 0.0684 15 - 150 60 8 0.084
7 + 50 50 12 0.0942 16 - 50 50 12 0.112
8 + 100 55 12 0.1041 17 - 100 55 12 0.162
9 + 150 60 12 0.1055 18 - 150 60 12 0.191

Fig. 7. Main effect plot for SN ratio for MRR.

In Fig 7. the curve with highest slope influences machining the most. It is apparent that current at specific tool
polarity is dominating among machining parameters.Higher the current higher the MRR due to higher thermal
energy discharged on workpiece above Table 4.

Surface Plot of MRR (g/min) vs Pulse on time and Current


Pulse on time (µs)



50 0 .1
M R R (g/min)
7.5 0.0
Current (A)

Fig. 8. MRR vs Current and Pulse on time graph.

Rajesh Choudhary et al./ Materials Today: Proceedings 5 (2018) 6313–6320 6319

In fig 8, This plot shows increased MRR at negativetool polarity due to high density high velocity striking of
electrons that cause the instantaneous melting and evaporation of material on workpiece. Higher current yield higher
MRR notwithstanding to it higher is the tool wear rate (TWR).Signal to noise ratios are predicted with MINITAB
V.17 based on taguchi DOE with Larger is Better mode as shown in below Table 5 and Table 6.

Table 5. ANNOVA table for means.

Source DF Seq.SS Adj.SS F P Adj.MS

Polarity 1 0.014094 0.014094 20.90 0.001 0.014094
Current 2 0.006990 0.006990 5.18 0.029 0.003495
Pulse 2 0.000126 0.000126 0.09 0.912 0.000063
Voltage 2 0.000046 0.000046 0.03 0.967 0.000023
Residual 10 0.006742 0.006742 0.000674
Total 17 0.027997

S=0.2597; R-Sq=75.9 %; R-sq (Adj)= 59.1 %.

The first column of the table enlists the variable source such as Tool Polarity, Current, Pulse ON time. The other
column represents the Degree of freedom (DF), Sum of Squares (Seq. SS), adjusted means of Square (Adj. MS), F
distribution and probability. The Standard deviation of error in modelling S=0.2597 and R2 = 75.9%, which
indicates that the model is acceptable for predicting the response.P value of tool polarity is minimum in table
suggesting has highest impact on the MRR.

Table 6. Response table for signal to means.

Level Tool Polarity Current Pulse On Time Pulse Off Time

(µs) (µs)
1 0.002977 0.005839 0.004928 0.004788
2 0.006343 0.004327 0.004664 0.004553
3 0.003815 0.004388 0.004639
Delta 0.003366 0.002024 0.000540 0.000149
Rank 1 2 3 4

From above table, it is easily reported that tool polarity has largest impact on MRR, followed by current, Pulse on
time and voltage. Delta denotes the difference between the highest average value of each parameter and the lowest
average value of same parameter.

4. Conclusions

In this report effect of current, pulse on time, voltage, and tool polarity on material removal rate of AISI M42
alloy is concluded. Taguchi’s L18 orthogonal array is used for design of experiments. ANOVA analysis was carried
out to study the experiments results.

Following conclusions were drawn from the study:

• Among all the selected parameters tool polarity influences MRR most followed by the current during the
Electrical discharge machining of AISI M42 tool steel alloy.

• Material removal rate was found to increase with increase in gap current and pulse on-time.

• Maximum material removal rate was observed at negative tool polarity (0.191 g/min) ,12 amperes, 150µs
pulse on time and 55 volts’ gap voltage.
6320 Rajesh Choudhary et al./ Materials Today: Proceedings 5 (2018) 6313–6320


The authors of the research work deeply acknowledge the funding given by the All India Council for Technical
Education (AICTE) New Delhi for providing the EDM setup under MODROBS scheme in the Department of
Mechanical Engineering at MIMIT, Malout.


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