Introduction

NONABRASIVE FINISHING METHODS are processes in which the surface generation occurs with a very little or insignificant amount of mechanical interaction between the processing tool and the workpiece surfaces. These processes are classified in general as the nontraditional or unconventional machining processes. In these processes, chemical, electrical, or thermal actions, or a combination, are used for metal removal. Nontraditional processes include electrochemical machining (ECM), electrodischarge machining (EDM), and laser beam machining (LBM). The inherent nature of ECM and EDM makes them ideal for stock removal as well as finishing operations. The same is not true of LBM at the present time. Therefore, this article provides a brief review of ECM and EDM and their role in finishing operations. More detailed discussions of equipment and process characteristics appear in Machining, Volume 16 of the ASM Handbook.

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