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  • Writer's pictureKirk Abolafia

What is "Voxel" Anyway?

To learn more about what we do, read An Introduction to Electrochemical Machining.

Curious for more? Contact us to learn more about what we do.

Voxel Innovations is a leader in advanced manufacturing, using pulsed electrochemical machining (PECM) to quickly and accurately create complex features on a range of challenging materials. Educating our industry on our unique process is a top priority at Voxel Innovations.

There's a lot we have explained, except for two important things--

What is a "voxel" anyway and what does it have to do with electrochemical machining?

The term “voxel” is a combination of the words “volume” and “element.” In that way, it is similar to a pixel (“picture” + “element”) but instead of being a tiny piece of a flat image, a voxel is a tiny piece of a 3-dimensional space. The idea of a quantifiable, digitally rendered small element is particularly appropriate to Voxel Innovations and our company philosophy. It's also our logo!

Voxel CEO, Daniel Herrington, explained that Voxel strives to be more data-driven in the electrochemical machining process. A challenge in the ECM industry is the iterative, trial-and-error nature of the process. Voxel wants to build technology that can simplify the process and optimally determine how ECM runs by turning Voxel’s knowhow and intuition into a data driven approach to selecting process parameters and designing tools and fixtures. A voxel is a 3D pixel which represents the push towards digitization of the ECM process prior to the physical application, making the process easier and more predictable and ultimately saving our customers time and money.

Electrochemical machining also removes material by dissolution. For each amp of current that is applied to the process, a specific number of atoms of the metal are dissolved. In this way, ECM removes material atom-by-atom or “voxel-by-voxel.”

Voxel focuses on industries with high engineering content parts and where the component performance matters as much as its cost. By developing innovations to electrochemical machining, we expect to help enable a better cost-performance value to aerospace, medical, energy, and industrial customers. Like our name suggests, Voxel Innovations focuses on the small details and we know that in our business – and yours! – sweating the small stuff can sometimes really matter.

To recap, In PECM, there is no contact between the tool and the part being machined-- rather, a tiny gap through which flows an electrolyte solution that both shapes the tool and carries away waste. PECM is also non-thermal, meaning only the tiniest bit of heat is created. Temperatures range from 50 to 90* C, causing no thermal damage to the part-- no heat affected zone and no recast layer or other surface deposits. We create super-smooth finishes on parts by removing miniscule particles that are washed away rather than depositing on the surface. Because of this precision, we can also correct geometries of already-formed parts to fit your parameters.

This precision extends to thin walls and delicate geometries. You might think that this level of detail would be a lengthy process, but machining these small parts also takes a tiny amount of time!

Contact us to discuss your application-- or if you have any questions about our unique technology.


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