Graphite is perhaps the most important material in electrode production, and we at Saturn agree! In fact, over 70% of the world and 95% of the United States use graphite electrodes for electrical discharge machining (EDM).
Graphite is the element carbon in crystalline form. It is found in both metamorphic and igneous rock, but also in meteorites! (Now you know you want to click the following link to learn more about that! ‘Meteorite Yields Carbon Crystals Harder Than Diamond’) The largest graphite exporting countries in order of abundance are: China, India, Brazil, Turkey, and North Korea. Graphite is not mined in the United States, but the US-of-A does have a billion dollar a year synthetic graphite industry.
Graphite is most commonly used in electrode production because of its electrical conductivity. This conductivity is due to graphite’s atomic structure. When graphite atoms bond only three of four potential bonding sites are utilized allowing for a fourth electron to move freely within the unit. The fourth electron allows graphite to conduct electricity, as well as heat (thermal conductivity).
Graphite’s electrical and thermal conductivity make it perfect for use in batteries, solar panels, and electrodes, but you may be asking what advantages graphite have over the other well-known conductor, copper?
- Graphite is able to achieve electrode wear of less than 1% in relation to the depth of cut, while working to more aggressive machine parameters. This means, unlike copper, the high amperage and longer on-times actually preserve the graphite electrode.
- Fine grain graphite electrodes are able to deliver similar surface finishes to that of copper, while offering much faster speeds and vastly reduced electrode wear.
- Graphite is produced with a wide range of material characteristics, enabling you to match the electrode material properties to the EDM application.
- Significant cost savings can be made choosing graphite over copper, generated through reduced machining times and speed of cut, less production time to create electrodes, faster EDM times and better throughput from EDM machines.
Saturn graphite electrodes are carefully crafted to meet highly specific parameters. These include level of detail, material strength, wear resistance, processing speed, surface finish and cost. We produce the finest quality electrodes, here are just a few: Graphite Airfoil Electrodes, Graphite Seal Slot Electrodes, Graphite Vane Electrodes, Graphite Hexagon and Octagon Electrodes. Find more examples of graphite electrodes on our website. Interested in a specific machined part? Saturn can provide custom CNC machining to meet your needs!
In addition to machined electrodes, Saturn is also a major industry source of both graphite and metal electrode materials. Our extensive inventory of raw EDM materials means that we are able to fill and ship 80% of received raw material orders the same day! We can provide the full lines of POCO, Ibiden, Mersen USA, Toyo Tanso, and SGL Carbon Group. We carry standard electrodes such as tubes, rods, sheets, plates, squares, blocks, and tapping electrodes. We also produce graphite blanks in any of the above mentioned brands. We can manufacture your graphite blank to any specific size you might need in both ground and saw cut finishes. Check out our Graphite Material Selection Guide on our website.
Graphite is a true star in the world of electrodes. Saturn can help you harness its power! Contact us today! Call us for a quote: 800-775-1651.