ANCA’s EDG Decreases Cycle Time for PCD Tools Up to 50%


Global tier 1 supplier of CNC tool and cutter grinders, ANCA wanted to create a high-performance Rotary Electro Discharge Machining (EDM) platform that was not only able to produce best-in-class tool geometries but also have market leading cycle times. Hence was the development of ANCA EDG (Electro Discharge Grinding) machine. The key drivers behind the ANCA EDG machines were that it needed to be simple enough for all types of brazed shear-fluted tools, but complex enough to enable the creation of the infinite variety of helical solid-tipped, veined and chevron tools.

 Intelligent Adaptative Control (IAC)

To allow the feedrate to remain high and maintain the optimum spark erosion gap, the concept of Intelligent Adaptative Control (IAC) was conceived. It is an in-time, servo-controlled feature that automatically monitors and controls the erosion gap distance, in-process. It synchronizes the machine moves with the generator performance, as well as adjusts and maintains the optimum spark gap which is vital while eroding 3D geometries such as PCD flutes and gashes on drills and endmills. Furthermore, it maintains the fastest possible feedrate along the length of any changeable path resulting in increased feedrates, minimum thermal damage, superior surface finish, increased MRR, and decreased cycle time. A further advantage of IAC is the ease in which PCD, and carbide micro-tools can be manufactured, as it retains the optimal distance, the chance of wheel collisions and hence tool breakage is limited which is critical when eroding tools under 0.5mm.

Adaptive Spark Control (ASC)

To avoid brittle border (along the cutting edge) and premature tooling wear as well as to optimize the erosion process and lowering tool costs, Adaptive Spark Control (ASC) was created. It uses the DSP (Digital Signal Processors) and FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) on the generator itself. The EDG erosion generator can monitor and process every spark, in real time. Each spark waveform is automatically monitored and categorized based on material being eroded, erosion gap distance and other factors essential to optimal erosion process. The generator can then dynamically change the energy level of each-and-every spark (current, voltage, duration and time-off) to suit the material being eroded. Testing on tooling suited to the machining of CFRP (Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic) showed a tool life increase of up to 100 %.

ANCA Motion SparX Erosion Generator


The ANCA Motion SparX Erosion Generator exhibits superior performance across the spectrum of Extra-Heavy Roughing to Ultra-Fine Finishing operations, utilizing Pico-pulse technology for high energy-density ablation. This enables vastly superior controllability, providing customers with optimized feedrates, superior surface quality and significantly reduced cycle times. This pulse precision enables erosion that ranges from ultra-low energy pulses for exceptional ultra-fine finishing, through to high energy pulses for fast material removal. The ANCA Motion SparX Erosion Generator delivers unrivalled increases in MRR and a 50% decrease in cycle time compared to competitor machines. Additionally, erosion surface quality improves across all power modes. Through Pico-pulse technology, polished surface finishes of Ra < 0.1µm and Rz < 0.5µm can be easily achieved. These operations enable the production of superior cutting edges needed for the most demanding of cutting tool applications.

The Approach


Combining intelligence in a domain once dominated by brute force electronics, not only gives ANCA customers an edge over the competition but enables a smarter approach to tool making. The difference between its approach and the approach of its competitors is that the company focuses on what the customers want to achieve with their erosion process. The company has worked to design its erosion generator to suit not only shear tooling but the infinite array of highly complex geometries, rather than re-using generator technology originally created for Wire Electro Discharge Machining (Wire-EDM).

Realizing that to outperform the incumbents, brains were needed over brawn, Pat Boland, ANCA Founder and Managing Director, said, “The erosion process is simple in its complexity. The basis of the process uses positive and negative electrodes with electrolyte to create sparks along a material. ANCA has a 45-year history in making the world’s best carbide and HSS tools and we wanted to use that skill set in PCD tooling.”