/// Frequently Asked Questions

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▾    Why opting for pECM instead of conventional machining techniques?

Depending on the particular product application, pECM can result being cheaper in the long run, faster, and even the only possible solution. For instance, pECM can be the only option available when sophisticated internal shaping or very high precision is needed.

▾    What materials is pECM most suitable for?

PECM can machine any kind of electro-conductive material. The process is especially suitable for new, tough to machine alloys, which cannot be machined through conventional machining techniques.

▾    Is pECM an environmentally unfriendly process?

PECM used to be an environmentally unfriendly process! Nowadays, a closed loop system, namely the Electrolyte Handling System, is used which makes the indefinite reuse of the electrolyte possible. ECM Technologies offers the production of this type of filtration system (read more about the Electrolyte Handling System)

▾    Does pECM entail any work health hazard?

PECM itself is not dangerous. However, in the process of dissolving materials containing Chromium, the carcinogenic Cr(VI) could be eventually released into the electrolyte. By adding Cr(VI) reduction agent those levels can be reduced to the non-toxic Cr(III) and be filtered out of the electrolyte. Therefore, in order to prevent any exposure of pECM operators to Cr(VI) and to prevent overdosing of reduction agent, it is important to measure the Cr(VI) level in the electrolyte. That is why ECM Technologies has developed and is using a Cr(VI) sensor for measuring the Chromium levels on a regular basis. For more information and inquiries feel free to contact us.

▾    Is it possible to skip the Research & Development and go directly to Production?

No. Every specific product order needs to go through R&D first in order to assess the product feasibility and the specific material requirements. Only in this way the specific parameters needed for producing the product can be outlined. This highly customized process results in very accurate and high quality products.

▾    Can pECM substitute conventional machining techniques?

PECM can substitute many of the conventional machining techniques (read more at Process Application). What is more, it can be the only feasible solution, e.g., in processes where high precision and sophisticated shaping and contouring is needed.

▾    Which industries would benefit the most from using pECM?

The pECM process has very broad cross-industries application. The process can be especially beneficial for industries which explore new and tough to machine materials, and require high precision. ECM Technologies has developed machining solutions for most of the high industries: Space & Aerospace, Automotive, Bio-Medical, Energy and Offshore, and Chemical. (read more at Process Application)

▾    Is machining with pECM expensive?

Using pECM can result more cost sustainable on the long run, especially for high volume production due to the fact that once produced the machining tool can be used almost endlessly. Other than that, using new and exotic alloys, which can be machined only by pECM, can make a huge difference in the overall performance and fuel consumption of the product (e.g., using lighter and stronger materials could greatly affect the fuel consumption in the Space & Aerospace industry).

▾    Why haven’t I heard of the pECM technology before?

PECM has first been introduced in the 1920s, but has ever since undergone considerable improvement and transformations. Nowadays, it is a very accurate and advanced technique, specifically suitable for tough to machine alloys. (read more at Process History)

▾    How can I learn more about the pECM process?

Extensive information on what the pECM process entails can be found on our Process Overview webpage. In addition, ECM Technologies hosts online seminars, namely Webinars, 4 times a year on the topics of how companies can benefit from using the pECM technology. Should you be interested in attending our Webinar sessions you can request more information via E-mail, as well as checking our News & Events portal on a regular basis, or following us on LinkedIn.

▾    Can I request more information on what the pECM technology can do?

Of course. Should you have any doubts or would like to request additional information on a specific topic, please feel free to contact us

/// Process Advantages

The advantages of pECM can be categorized by product, material and machine advantages.

  1. Product advantages:
  2. Excellent burr-free surface finish
  3. No mechanical or thermal load on the workpiece
  4. No upper layer deformation
  5. Full-form shaping (incl. 3D products) in a single step
  6. Generating complicated shapes and complex contours
  7. High machining speed at relatively low cost
  1. Material advantages:
  2. The material removal rate (MRR) is not influenced by the hardness, toughness, or thermal resistance of the material, and is in most cases independent on the type of material
  3. High material removal rate (MRR): approx. 1,5 cm³/min at 1000A DC
  4. The machining speed is independent on the type of material
  5. Material is dissolved and not cut
  1. Machine advantages:
  2. Cheaper on the long run thanks to the low recurring costs (as opposed to the higher initial investment)
  3. Almost no electrode wear
  4. Capable of creating micro structures
  5. High machining accuracy due to the superior process stability

/// Process Considerations

  • PECM was previously known as harmful to the environment. However, the solution to this problem was introduced by including an Electrolyte Handling System in the electrolyte treatment process. Not only the process has become less harmful, but the produced sludge can nowadays be used as raw material with or without follow-up treatment. In addition, the electrolyte can be used almost indefinitely. 
  • Each product and material require new R&D to be conducted. This can eventually extend the overall project time in its initial phase. However, through this highly customized procedure very accurate results can be expected.
  • The design of the electrode is a complex process and requires high initial investment. That is why the pECM technique is especially suitable for high volume production. The electrode can however be used nearly indefinitely, which makes the process more economically sustainable on the long run.
  • The power consumption necessary for the pECM process is relatively high. However, it remains much lower in comparison with other non-conventional machining techniques due to the fact that the pECM process operates at high current but relatively low voltage (5-15V).
  • The pECM process requires specialized technology skills and know-how, as well as extensive staff experience. Due to the innovative nature of the process, know-how can be acquired only through extensive working experience with the technology. Should you be interested in testing the pECM technology feasibility for your company products, here at ECM Technologies we offer the service of Consultancy & Training, where in-house professionals can share their expertise.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or take a look at our frequently asked questions.


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