murugsslm6@gmail.com
*2
#3
drkbalamurugan@yahoo.co.in
csathiya@nitt.edu
Abstract In this paper, robust design is applied to the blind hole drilling of Al15% SiC Metal Matrix
Composite (MMC) in Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM). A multichannel copper rod is used as the
electrode. Material removal rate (MRR), one of the important responses is considered for the analysis.
Electrode polarity (P), discharge current (I p), pulse on time (Ton), pulse off time (Toff), and flushing
pressure (Pf) are considered as independent parameters. Taguchis L 18 orthogonal array is used to conduct
the experiments with various levels of P, Ip, Ton, Toff and Pf. Optimisation of MRR is carried out using
signaltonoise ratio(S/N ratio). Investigation of the influence of each machining parameter on the
response is carried out using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA).
Key words AlSiC, EDM, Multichannel electrode, S/N ratio, ANOVA
I. INTRODUCTION
Taguchis robust design offers a systematic approach for the analysis, evaluation and optimisation of various
parameters with regard to performance, cost and quality. This method involves conducting experiments based on
orthogonal array, using S/N ratio to find the optimum values of process parameters and using ANOVA to find
the significance of the each input parameter on the response [1][3].
Aluminium metal matrix composites (AMMC) refer to the class of lightweight highperformance aluminium
centric material systems. The properties of AMMCs can be tailored to the demands of different industrial
application by suitable combinations of matrix, reinforcement and processing route. The major advantages of
AMMCs compared to unreinforced materials are greater strength, improved stiffness, reduced density, improved
high temperature properties, controlled thermal expansion coefficient, enhanced electrical performance,
improved abrasion and wear resistance and improved damping capabilities. Particle reinforced aluminium
matrix composites (PAMC) constitute the largest quantity of composites produced and utilized on volume and
weight basis. They are produced by PM/stircast/melt infiltration/spraying/insitu processing techniques at
industrial level. Particulates of SiC, Al 2O3, TiC, TiB2, B4C have been used as reinforcements. PAMCs have been
successfully used as components in automotive, aerospace, optomechanical assemblies and thermal management
[4].
Machining aluminium metal matrix using EDM is one of the most extensively used nonconventional
material removal processes. Its uniqueness, that is, the use of thermal energy to machine electrically conductive
parts regardless of hardness has been its distinctive advantage. Another characteristic of EDM is the lack of
direct contact between the electrode and the workpiece, thus eliminating mechanical stress, chatter and vibration
during machining.
The introduction of EDM to the metal cutting has been a viable machining option for producing highly
complex parts, independent of the mechanical properties of the work piece material. Controlling the EDM
process mostly relies on empirical methods largely due to the stochastic nature of the sparking phenomenon
involving both electrical and nonelectrical process parameters. The EDM process needs to be constantly
revitalized to remain competitive in providing an essential and valuable role in the tool room manufacturing of
part with difficulttomachine materials and geometries [5].
For effective EDM of SiC/Al, large electrical current and short on time were recommended. Single pulse is
better because in the continuous pulse, the discharge of SiC/Al is more irregular, and the material removal rate is
faster only at the beginning followed by being retarded due to existence of SiC particles in the gap [6].
Feasibility of using the nonconventional EDM process for cast aluminium MMCs was confirmed, and
models based on twolevel factorial experiments were developed. The power level greatly affected the material
removal rate (MRR) and the recast layer. The current alone controlled the surface finish [7].
Use of a rotating disk electrode was proposed as a more productive and accurate technique than use of a
conventional electrode. Material removal rate, tool wear rate, relative electrode wear, corner reproduction
accuracy, and surface finish aspects of a rotary electrode were compared with those of a stationary one. The
effective flushing of the working gap brought about by the rotation of the electrode remarkably improved
material removal rate and machines surfaces with a better finish [8].
The combination of ultrasonic vibration and rotation of electrode leads to increases in MRR, TWR and SR.
Thus, for optimum parameter settings, a compromise should be made between SR and MRR or TWR [9].
Investigation was carried out using various input variables on electric discharge machining of AlSiC MMCs
to assess the machinability, using rotary tube electrode. Peak currents were confirmed to have positive effects
on the MRR, EWR and SR. The MRR, EWR and SR were more with positive polarity of the electrode than at
negative. The electrode hole diameter and rotational speed had major effect on MRR, EWR and SR. Genetic
algorithm was used to find optimum machining parameters [10].
Taguchi method was applied to find optimum process parameters for end milling while hard machining of
hardened steel. A L18 array, signaltonoise ratio and analysis of variance to study the performance characteristics
of machining parameters (cutting speed, feed, depth of cut and width of cut) with consideration of surface finish
and tool life. Results obtained by Taguchi method matched closely with ANOVA and cutting speed was the most
influencing parameter [11].
The goal of present study is to maximize MRR, thereby reducing the machining cost, in the formation of a
blind hole of 12mm diameter and 5mm depth under the given machining conditions. Analysis of the response is
carried out using signaltonoise ratio to meet this objective. The Taguchi method of orthogonal array is
employed to conduct a set of experiments. The ANOVA is employed to determine the effect of the machining
parameters
on
the Conditions
characteristics of the
Description
EDM process.
Polarity of workpiece
Positive and Negative
Discharge current
412 A
EXPERIMENTAL
Pulse on time
200600 s
Pulse off time
2060 s
Pressure of Dielectric fluid
0.250.75 kgf/cm2
A. Equipment
Suction
In order to obtain the Method of flushing
data for modeling, a
series of experiments were performed on a diesinking electrical discharge machine SPARKONIX, which has
servo controlled feed drive in the vertical direction, shown in Figure I. The electrical discharge machining
conditions are given in Table I.
II.
DETAILS
Fig 1 EDM
Table I
Electrical discharge machining conditions
Workpiece material
Al (%)
Si (%)
Mg (%)
Reinforcement
Particle size
6061 AlMMC
92.7
7.0
0.3
15%SiC particles (by volume)
22 (m)
The tool used is electrolytic copper multichannel electrode, with an array of 48 holes, each of 1mm diameter
having 5 mm depth, as shown in Figure 1.
The dielectric fluid used is kerosene and the suction method is used for effective flushing of machining debris
from the working gap region.
C. Experimental Procedure
Prior to experimentation, the top and bottom surfaces of the workpiece were ground to make it flat and good
quality surface finish. The bottom of the electrode was turned and polished by a fine grade emery sheet prior to
every experimental run. Each experiment was run till a blind hole of diameter 12mm to a depth 5mm drilled.
The machining time is measured with a stopwatch of accuracy 0.01s. The work piece as well as the tool are
detached from the machine, cleaned and dried up, to make it free from the dirt, debris and dielectric. They are
weighed, before and after machining, on a SHIMADZU precision electronic balance (maximum capacity 220 g,
precision 0.001g),shown in Fig 3. The surface roughness of the machined hole is measured using MITUTOYO
SURFTEST surface roughness tester (range 200 to 150 microns, precision 0.02 microns),shown in Fig 4. The
average surface roughness Ra values are used to quantify the surface roughness. The cutoff length for each
measurement was taken as 0.8mm.
(2)
Machining parameter
Polarity
Discharge current
Pulse on time
Pulse off time
Dielectric pressure
Symbol
A
B
C
D
E
Level 1
4
200
20
0.25
Level 2
+
8
400
40
0.50
Level 3
12
600
60
0.75
Table IV
Experiment results for multichannel electrode with 1mm array holes
Trial
No
Polarity
Current
amps
Pulse on
time s
Pulse off
time s
Pressure
Kg/cm2
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+

4
4
4
8
8
8
12
12
12
4
4
4
8
8
8
12
12
12
200
400
600
200
400
600
200
400
600
200
400
600
200
400
600
200
400
600
20
40
60
20
40
60
40
60
20
60
20
40
40
60
20
60
20
40
0.25
0.5
0.75
0.5
0.75
0.25
0.25
0.5
0.75
0.75
0.25
0.5
0.75
0.25
0.5
0.5
0.75
0.25
MRR
Trial 1 Trial 2
19.24
40.86
43.55
18.12
95.26
108.66
36.92
97.50
176.42
15.44
56.20
86.60
37.94
76.42
174.22
36.34
197.32
238.86
18.14
39.61
46.40
19.62
92.38
104.20
38.66
95.08
172.92
16.13
52.50
85.18
39.58
74.12
171.45
35.27
191.80
241.73
S/N
Ratio
25.42
32.09
33.05
25.50
39.44
40.54
31.54
39.67
44.84
23.96
34.69
38.68
31.76
37.53
44.75
31.08
45.78
47.61
(3)
ANOVA is useful for determining the influence of an input parameter from a series of experimental results
by design of experiments for machining process and it can be used to interpret experimental data. In the
ANOVA calculations, total variation may be decomposed into (1) variation due to factors (2) variation due to
error [1].
The total variation (also termed as total sum of squares) is obtained by
N
SS T = ( y iT ) (4)
i=1
The variation due to factors i.e., variation of the average of observations under each factor level around
the average of all observations (also called mean sum of squares) is calculated using the formula
[ ( )]
kA
SS A =
i=1
A 2i
T2
(5)
nA
N
i
The variation due to error i.e., variation of the individual observations around the average of
observations under each factor level is calculated using the formula
kA
nA
SS e = ( y i A j) (6)
j=1 i=1
Also,
T/N =
While performing ANOVA, degrees of freedom are also considered together with total sum of squares
and mean sum of squares. In ANOVA studies with certain test error, error variance determination is vital.
Experimentally obtained data are used to estimate Fvalue. Variation observed in an experiment attributed to
each significant factor is reflected in percent contribution, which shows relative power of each factor to reduce
the variation. Factors with higher values of percent contribution play an important role in the machining
performance [3].
Level
101.51
43.32
27.62
105.66
88.80
70.20
84.33
92.42
89.46
74.99
129.90
137.52
62.43
93.76
140
120
100
80
60
40
20

12
200
400
600
20
40
60
0.25
0.50
0.75
The pulse off time variation marginally influences the MRR. When the pulse off time is varied from 20
s to 60 s, the MRR decreases from 105.66 mg/min to 62.43 mg/min. Increased pulse off time means that the
interval between the discharges is longer to recharge the circuit. As a result, MRR varies inversely with respect
to pulse off time.
5) Analysis of the result according to the dielectric pressure
As the dielectric pressure is increased from 0.25 kg f/cm2 to 0.75 kgf/cm2, the MRR is increased from
88.81mg/min to 93.76 mg/min. The increased pressure results in improved debris removal and thus resulting in
improved MRR. However, the increase in MRR is marginal.
Table VIII illustrates the analysis of variance (ANOVA) of MRR, the columns of the table describing the
degrees of freedom (DF), the F statistics and its percentage contribution. By comparing F statistic with tabulated
values (for 95% CI), it is concluded that the treatments have a statistically significant effect.
Table VIII
Analysis of Variance for Means
Source
A
B
C
D
E
Residual
Error
Total
DF
Seq SS
Adj SS
Adj MS
1
2
2
2
2
4411
22509
36622
5726
1136
4411
22509
36622
5726
1136
4411.0
11254.6
18311.2
2863.0
567.9
4.96
12.66
20.60
3.22
0.64
0.057
0.003
0.001
0.094
0.553
7111
7111
888.9
17
77516
%
contribution
5.69%
29.04%
47.25%
7.39%
1.47%
9.17%
100.00%
It is evident from the ANOVA table that pulse on time chiefly contributes to the variation in MRR followed
by the discharge current. The percentage contribution of pulse on time and discharge current are 47.25% and
29.04% respectively. This is also evident from pvalues of 0.001 and 0.003 for the pulse on time and discharge
current respectively (p should be less than 0.005). Although it can be inferred from the means plot that pulse on
time and discharge current are main contributors to the variation of MRR, the quantitative significance of these
two factors can only be obtained from ANOVA.
VI. OPTIMIZATION
The Taguchi method provides a way to obtain an optimised value of a response variable by means of S/N
ratio. The main effects plot for S/N ratios obtained using Minitab software is shown in figure 6. As the objective
of this experimental analysis is to maximise MRR, largerthebetter condition is chosen. The maximum value of
S/N ratio of each input parameter gives an input combination that corresponds to optimum value of the response
variable MRR.
Main Effects Plot for SN ratios
Data Means
A
Mean of SN ratios
42
39
36
33
30
12
200
400
600
20
40
60
0.25
0.50
0.75
The response table for Signal to Noise Ratios is shown in table IX. The response table provides:
The average response characteristics for each level of each factor in a design , Rank and delta values
that can help in assessing which factors have the greatest effect on the response characteristic of interest. The
delta values and ranks are interpreted as follows:
Delta measures the size of the effect by taking the difference between the highest and lowest value for each
response characteristic.
Rank orders the factors from the greatest effect (based in the delta values) to the least effect on the response
characteristic.
The response table is used to select the best level for each factor. Usually, the objective is to minimize
the standard deviation, maximize the S/N ratio, and meet some target with the slope. The delta and rank values
are used to identify the factors that have the greatest effect on each response characteristic. Then, levels of these
factors meet the objective are determined. Sometimes, the best level of a factor for one response characteristic is
different from the best level for another response characteristic. To resolve this issue, it may help to predict the
results for several combinations of factors levels to see which one produces the best result.
Table IX
Response Table for Signal to Noise Ratios
Level
1
2
A
37.32
34.68
3
Delta
Rank
2.64
3
31.32
28.22
36.84
36.23
36.59
38.20
36.86
35.30
40.09
41.58
34.31
36.48
8.77
13.36
1
2.55
1.18
5
Therefore the optimum machining conditions are A1B3C3D2E3 i.e. A, negative; B, 12 amps; C,
600s; D, 40s and E, 0.75kgf/cm2.
VII. CONFIRMATION EXPERIMENT
Once the optimum level of the machining parameters is selected, the final step is to predict and verify the
improvement of the response.
The optimum value of S/N ratio is predicted using the equation
opt = m + (mim)
(8)
Where m  mean of S/N ratio
mi  S/N ratio value corresponding to optimum condition of each factor
From the equation (8), the optimum predicted value of S/N ratio is opt =48.33
Substituting this value in equation (3), the value of MRR is obtained as 260.92 mg/min
A confirmation experiment using the optimum machining parameters is conducted. The MRR obtained from
the experiment is 246.89 mg/min. This MRR value is compared with the predicted value and the percentage
error obtained is 5.82%. Thus, the predicted result by Taguchi method is within the acceptable limit and is found
satisfactory for the EDM process.
VIII. CONCLUSIONS
Taguchi method of robust design has been applied for optimizing response process parameter for EDM of AlSiC MMC using multichannel electrode. Results obtained from Taguchi methods closely match with ANOVA.
1] ANOVA indicates that pulse on time is the most influencing parameter corresponding to quality
characteristics of MRR. The current also plays a substantial role on variation of MRR.
2] The percentage contribution of pulse on time and current for MRR is 47.25% and 29.04% respectively.
3] The electrical parameters more significantly affect the EDM machining process than the nonelectrical
parameter (i.e., dielectric pressure).
4] Best parameters found for MRR are polarity, negative; current, 12 amps; pulse on time, 600 s; pulse
off time, 40 s and dielectric pressure, 0.75kgf/cm2.
5] The predicted optimum value of MRR is 260.92 mg/min and experimentally obtained optimum value
of MRR is 246.89 mg/min. A comparison between these two values gives a percentage error of 5.82%.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
AUTHOR PROFILE
S.Murugesan is working as Senior Grade Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Government Polytechnic College, Trichy. He completed B.E., (Mechanical Engineering) with First class and
M.E., (Computer Aided Design) with First class with Distinction. He has been involved in the field of
Engineering Education for 26 years. He has organised 5 national conferences. He has published 2 papers in
International journals and presented paper in one International conference and two national conferences. He is a
life member of Indian Society of Technical Education. His main interest field is machinability of composite
materials, Taguchi techniques and ANN modelling.
Dr. K.Balamurugan is currently working as Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical
Engineering of Institute of Road and Transport Technology, Erode. He obtained his Bachelor's & Masters
degree in the years 1998 and 2001 respectively. He obtained his PhD from Anna University, Chennai for his
research work on Manufacturing System Design and Optimization in the year 2006. He has carried out Four
R&D projects funded by DST, DSIR, TNSCST and DRDO. He has published 48 research articles in ASME,
Elsevier, Springer, Degruyter and CSIR journals. He has made 34 National and International conference
presentations. He has reviewed articles for International Journal of Production Research and Editorial Member
of International Journal of Recent Patents in Mechanical Engineering, USA. He has supervised 06 PhD scholars
and currently guiding 06 PhD scholars and 02 MTech by Research scholars in Anna University. His areas of
research interest include Machine Layout Design and Optimization, Biofuels and BioLubricants, Composite
Materials and Nano Materials.
Dr. C. SathiyaNarayanan is currently working as Assistant Professor in the Department of Production
Engineering, National Institute of Technology (NIT), Trichy. He obtained his Bachelor's degree from
Bharathidasan University in 1994 and Masters degree from NIT, Trichy. He obtained his Ph.D., in formability
of sheet metals from Bharathidasan University, Trichy in the year 2007. He has 20 years of Teaching Experience
and 13 years of Research experience. He has been involved in research projects on the formability of sheet
metals sponsored by M/s. TATA steels India Limited and Salem Steel Plant, Salem. He has published 42
research articles in international journals. He has made 50 National and International conference presentations.
He has been a reviewer for few International Journals. He has organized 3 short term courses/ seminars
sponsored by AICTE, ISTE, & TEQIP. He is a Life member of Indian Society for Technical Education and
Institution of Engineering of India. He has Guided 01 Ph.D. scholar and currently guiding 04 Ph.D. scholars, 2
M.S. Scholars and 20 M. Tech. by Research scholars. His areas of research interest include Metal Forming,
EDM, ECM, Composite Materials and Nano Materials.