Graphite is a material that presents both challenges and opportunities to manufacturers due to its unique combination of high strength, thermal conductivity, resistance to high heat and corrosion, and machinability.

Coupled with the precision achievable through advanced machining techniques, the use of machined graphite components is diverse and span across critical industries. Graphite components contribute to the efficiency, reliability, and performance of systems and products ranging from aerospace, healthcare to mold & die and beyond.

Here are some applications of machined graphite components:

  • EDM Electrodes used in manufacturing of molds and dies.
  • Aerospace components such as turbines, complex brackets, fixtures, and special structural components.
  • Semiconductor components particularly in wafer systems and chip manufacturing.
  • Heat Exchangers components such as intricate tubes and headers.
  • Automotive components such as gasket and seals.
  • Medical device components such as implants, electrodes, and surgical tools.
  • Electronic components such as electrodes and connectors.
  • Complex and challenging Mold and Die designs across various industries.

Understanding CNC Machining for Graphite

Graphite material is soft, abrasive, brittle and machining may seem specialised and intensive due to these properties. However, technological developments have rendered the machining processes manageable, and even exciting for business growth.

While understanding the material properties, a good knowledge on selecting the right CNC Machining Center and machining techniques for graphite machining is crucial to ensure successful results.

Besides using the right CNC Machining Center and machining techniques, suitable toolings contribute significantly to achieving cost effective graphite machining.

It is imperative to note that graphite machining does not produce chips, as such, avoid using coolant as it may react with the graphite dust, leading to machine issues and machining complications.

Graphite machining produces extensive dust which are harmful to the CNC machine, the operators, and the environment. The conductive graphite dust can cause damages to circuits and electrical issues inside the CNC machine. It can also affect the guideway systems, ball screws as well as other mechanical parts. Overall, the machine must be sealed and protected against this rather damaging dust.

A high-performance dust extraction vacuum system is essential for effectively removing graphite dust during machining. This should ensure and prevent accumulation of dust inside the machine, avoiding the risk of serious problems to the key interior components of the CNC machine and the accuracy of the graphite workpieces.
Operators must wear protective masks to prevent inhalation of graphite dust if the machine does not have a proper dust extraction system in use. Ensuring proper ventilation and maintaining high air quality in the machine shop are also crucial for safeguarding the operators during graphite machining.

Hwacheon Vertical Machining Center for Graphite

Hwacheon has been manufacturing and supplying Vertical Machining Centers for Graphite globally since 1985.

Hi-M G1 Pro, a Vertical Machining Center for Graphite is an optional upgraded and improved version of the Hi-M G1 fuelled by users’ feedback. Hi-M G1 Pro incorporates essential features tailored to address the unique challenges posed by the material and advanced functions for modern manufacturing of graphite components.

The high efficiency dust extraction system boasts a specialized baffle, ensuring even dispersion and collection of dust across the entire filter area. With its compact size, user-friendly digital operation panel, and easy maintenance, it offers convenient operation and management for enhanced efficiency.

The accuracy and performance of the machine are made possible by applying strict standards in the individual machine components and parts manufacturing processes.

High precision main frames (X-, Y-, Z-Axis), bed, table, guide ways and a double column structure provides superior technology in terms of overall machine design and built.

C3 class ball screw and the use of linear glass scales in all 3 linear axis are the guarantee for the machines standard 5㎛ positioning precision.

Hi-M G1 Pro provides positioning accuracy within 0.005mm and repeatability within ±0.003mm. Developed by Hwacheon software HTDC (Hwacheon Thermal Displacement Control) is applied as standard to ensure high surface quality during prolonged machining.

HSK-E50 spindle with 25,000 rpm with built-in motor minimize vibration and noise in high speed cutting and minimize power loss, at the same time maximize cutting efficiency.

The high speed machining capabilities of the modern Vertical Machining Center for Graphite Hi-M G1 Pro is increasingly being used in machine shops serving a spectrum of industries.

Summary

Due to its unique combination of properties in high strength, thermal conductivity, chemical resistance, and machinability, graphite components are useful in critical industries such as aerospace parts, spacecraft parts, semiconductor equipment, and medical devices.

Graphite can be difficult to machine, however, with the right CNC machines and techniques, suitable cutting tools, proper speeds and feeds, CNC graphite machining can be rewarding, especially for manufacturers that focus on meeting the specific needs of industries requiring high precision components with unique material properties.

Keen to explore or expand CNC machining for graphite? Contact us for a discussion enquiry@hwacheon.com.sg