The global market for Electrical Discharge Machines is projected to reach US$7.5 billion by 2024, driven by continuous technology innovations, rising plant capacity utilization rates against the backdrop of improving manufacturing outlook.
Metal shaping and forming processes, comprising casting, molding, forging, extrusion, particulate processing and metal removal; represent the most basic processing activity widely common in virtually all manufacturing processes. Metal removal is a machining process whereby layers of metal are removed from the workpiece to improve the basic shape and ensure conformance to the original prototype workpiece. Growing demand for complex geometric shapes and sizes of components in various end-use sectors is spurring the importance of modern metal removal technologies based on chemical, electrical, or thermal energy. In this regard newer machining technologies like Electrical Discharge Machines (EDM) have made a significant impact on the machine tools industry. Defined as tooling equipment that utilizes electrical discharges or sparks that remove metal by melting, EDM are widely popular in machining complex shapes. Key advantages of EDM that have helped establish their use as a standard in machining hard material include high levels of dimensional accuracy and good surface finish, elimination of costs associated with tool wear, and compatibility with all electrically conductive materials.
The cautious and tempered optimism in global production output and capacity utilization rates provide a fertile ground for short-term increase in new orders for tooling and workholding equipment including EDM. Technology developments in micro & nano EDM are also spurring opportunities for the use of EDM in the microelectronics sector. The development of compact micro EDM machine is helping expand applications in machining of both semiconductor and non-semiconductor materials. Stringent regulations and tougher compliance norms, technology advancements, quality improvements and demand for low cost, value added products, are exerting increased pressure on manufacturing excellence and quality. Technology developments in medical prosthetic devices are creating machining and manufacturing challenges, which are poised to benefit the EDM market. Continued advancements in material science and engineering are opening new opportunities for the use of EDM, as new materials like titanium and carbon fiber are increasingly being used to make prosthetics lighter and aesthetically closer to natural limbs and organs.
Mass production of automobiles and automation of assembly line operations have over the last decades expanded the use of electrical discharge machines, especially CNC EDM in auto production plants for fabrication applications. The stable outlook for the automotive industry is poised to spur gains for EDM in fabrication of automotive parts and components. While EDM is currently the machining technology of choice for modern generation of smaller parts and components made from smarter materials, the disruptive evolution of ultrafast laser micro machining is now emerging as a threat to EDM in industrial applications. The need for flexible, reliable, high throughput technologies for moldmaking and diecasting is also throwing the spotlight on high speed milling (HSM) as an effective substitute for EDM.
Asia-Pacific represents largest and the fastest growing market worldwide, exhibiting a CAGR of 8.3% over the analysis period. The Chinese EDM industry, the largest individual market in the world, registered significant growth in recent years due to the advancements in wire and RAM EDM equipment. Recent developments in CNC RAM EDM in China led to remarkable capital as well labor cost savings. Despite the tough competitive threat from newly emerging high-performance milling and rapid tooling processes, EDM has managed to maintain a dominant position in the Chinese mold making industry.
Major players in the market include AAEDM Corp., AccuteX Technologies Co., Ltd., Beaumont Machine, CHMER EDM, Excetek Technologies Co., Ltd., GF Machining Solutions Management SA, Kent Industrial USA, Inc., KNUTH Machine Tools, Makino Milling Machine Co. Ltd., MC Machinery Systems, Inc., ONA Electroerosion S.A., and Sodick, Inc., among others.