How Fully Automatic Filter Presses Support ECM Processes


Electrochemical Machining (ECM) finds its application in various industries, including aerospace, medical technology, automotive, and energy generation. ECM enables companies to machine components with high precision and excellent surface finish, making it ideal for the manufacture of engine components, medical devices, vehicle parts and energy systems. 



ECM – What Is It Exactly? 


Electrochemical Machining (ECM) is a special manufacturing process based on electrochemical reactions aimed at precisely machining metallic workpieces. Unlike conventional mechanical machining processes such as milling or grinding, ECM removes material not through mechanical forces but through targeted electrochemical reactions.[1] The advantage of ECM lies in its ability to produce highly precise and complex shapes with excellent surface quality without leaving behind mechanical stresses or deformations in the workpiece. 



What Exactly Happens, and What Role Do Filter Presses Play? 


The basic principle of ECM involves an electric current flowing between the workpiece to be processed(anode) and a special electrode serving as a tool (cathode). The charge transport in the machining gap is facilitated by an electrolyte solution, an aqueous solution of sodium chloride (NaCl, saline solution) or sodium nitrate (NaNO3). The resulting flow of electrons dissolves metal ions from the workpiece. The dissolved metal ions then undergo reactions with parts of the split electrolyte at the anode, while at the cathode, the electrolyte residue reacts with water. The electrolyte can be processed by filter presses to separate the metal hydroxides from the electrolyte solution. The end product is metal hydroxide, which settles as sludge and must be removed. The resulting sludge is further dewatered with filter presses before being disposed of as hazardous waste.[2] 



What Advantages Do Fully Automatic Filter Presses Offer? 


Fully automatic filter presses offer several advantages compared to conventional filter presses, making them an ideal choice for use in ECM. Their completely sealed design prevents the leakage of the suspension, thereby minimizing the risk of contamination or undesired crystallization on the filter cloths. This is crucial, as even the smallest impurities can affect the quality of the electrolyte and thus the precision of ECM processing. 



Application Examples for Filter Presses in ECM 


Over the years, we have collaborated with many companies where our filter presses have found application in ECM. One such example is this project in the aerospace industry, where precision is crucial in the manufacturing of individual aircraft components. Our filter presses enable manufacturers to meet the highest quality standards while ensuring efficient and sustainable production processes, particularly for exotic materials with high requirements in terms of crack-free and surface quality. 



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1. Manufacturing Processes 3. VDI Book. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg 


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