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Indian Journal of Engineering & Materials Science

Vol. 20, December 2013, pp. 471-475

Taguchi-grey relational based multi response optimization of electrical process


parameters in electrical discharge machining
T Muthuramalingama* & B Mohanb
a

Department of Production Technology, M I T Campus, Anna University, Chennai 600 025, India
Department of Mechanical Engineering, C E G Campus, Anna University, Chennai 600 025, India

Received 28 September 2012; accepted 3 May 2013


In modern machining process, optimization technique is used to find the optimal values of input parameters and the
effect of those parameters on response variables. If response parameters are more than one, Taguchi method of optimization
may give different set of optimal levels for each response. In the present study, Taguchi-grey relational approach based
multi response optimization has been used to maximize material removal rate and to minimize surface roughness in
electrical discharge machining. Electrical process parameters such as gap voltage, peak current and duty factor have been
used as input parameters. It has been found that peak current has most influent nature in electrical discharge machining
process. Optimal combination of input parameter to acquire better responses has been found with multi response
optimization using Taguchi-grey relational analysis.
Keywords: EDM, Taguchi, Current, MRR, Surface roughness

Electrical discharge machining (EDM) is a thermal


erosion process, in which the material removal from
the work piece is obtained by high thermal energy due
to the ionization of dielectric medium between tool
and electrode. Ho and Newman1 explained about
basic working mechanism involved in thermal erosion
process. Figure 1 shows the setup of electrical
discharge machining. Since electrical parameters are
mainly contributed factor to produce thermal energy,
it is needed to find optimal combination of electrical
parameters on machinability. Mohan et al.2described
about the importance of electrical parameters in EDM
process. Son et al.3 explained about need of
optimizing the electrical parameters. Fuzhu et al.4
proved the effects of electrical parameters on
machining characteristics in thermal erosion process.

Table 1Selection of the process variables


Process variables
Pulse generator type
Work piece
Tool
Dielectric medium
Flushing
Depth of cut (mm)
Gap voltage (V)
Peak current (A)
Duty factor
Flushing pressure (bar)

Description
Iso energy pulse
AISI 202 Stainless Steel
Brass
kerosene
Normally submerged
5
40, 60,80
9,12,15
0.4,0.6,0.8
1

Experimental Procedure
Since the discharge energy is mainly determined by
gap voltage, peak current and duty factor, these
factors have been taken as the input parameters. Duty
factor is defined as ratio of pulse duration to total
pulse cycle. Table 1 shows the process variables used
in the present study. 40 V, 60 V and 70 V have been
considered as gap voltage variables. 0.4, 0.6 and 0.8
have been chosen as duty factor with the discharge

*Corresponding author(E-mail: muthu1060@gmail.com)

Fig 1Electrical discharge machining setup

INDIAN J ENG MATER SCI., DECEMBER 2013

472

current values of 9 A, 12 A and 15 A. AISI 202


stainless steel has been selected as work piece
material, whereas brass has been introduced as tool
electrode with kerosene as the dielectric medium.
Table 2 shows the selected process parameters in
EDM process. Lin et al.5 discussed about Taguchi
based optimization of electrical parameters in EDM
process. Lin et al.6 reported about detailed
investigation of thermal erosion process to optimize
the process variables in EDM process. Meena and
Azad7 explained about grey relational based approach
of optimization approach. Siddhi et al.8 applied
Taguchi-grey scale approach for optimizing sintering
process parameters to fabricate metal matrix
composites. Tsao9 applied the same approach to
optimize the milling parameters of aluminium alloy.
Noorul Haq et al.10 used the Taguchi-grey approach to
optimize drilling process parameters. These studies
explained about importance and need of multi
response optimization on process parameters in EDM
process. From the literature, it has been understood
that only few attempt has been made to optimize
electrical parameters with multi response level
approach. Hence in the present study, Taguchi-grey
multi level optimization approach has been introduced
for obtaining optimal level of response parameters
such as material removal rate and surface roughness.
Figure 2 shows the surface topography of machined
surface in EDM process.

Taguchi Method
Taguchi method is systematic and efficacy
approach to find the optimal combination of input
parameters. This method utilizes the orthogonal array
of experiments to reduce the number of experiments
in any machining process. Since three input
parameters have been selected, L9 orthogonal array
has been selected for this study. Using the orthogonal
array nine experiments have been conducted. Material
removal rate has been calculated by weight difference
of workpiece before and after the machining process
with 0.01 mm high precision balance. The surface
roughness has been computed using surfcoder surface
roughness tested with 0.8 mm as cutoff length.
Table 3 shows the combinations of input factors with
their corresponding responses. It is also used to study
the effects of input parameters on response variables.
This quality analysis tool analyzes the obtained results
by using signal-to-noise (S / N) ratio. This ratio is
determined by characteristics of the machining
process. The categories of this ratio are larger the

Table 2Selected process parameters in EDM process.


Factor
notation
A
B
C

Factor

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Gap voltage (V)


Peak current (A)
Duty factor

40
9
0.4

60
12
0.6

70
15
0.8

Fig. 2Microstructure topography of machined surface

Table 3Orthogonal L9 Table for responses


A

Material removal rate


(mm3/min)

Surface roughness
(m)

40

0.4

4.74

3.26

40

12

0.6

8.6

6.98

40

15

0.8

9.51

11.78

60

0.6

7.46

4.58

60

12

0.8

12.8

9.62

60

15

0.4

8.384

6.99

70

0.8

15.51

6.53

70

12

0.4

10.9

4.82

70

15

0.6

13.36

8.98

Trial number

MUTHURAMALINGAM & MOHAN: OPTIMIZATION OF PROCESS PRAMETERS IN EDM

better, smaller the better and nominal the better. In


EDM process, the main aim is to reduce surface
roughness and to increase material removal rate.
Hence, Larger the better has been applied for material
removal rate (MRR) whereas the smaller the better
has been applied for surface roughness (SR).
For Larger the better,
S/N ratio = - 10 log (1/n) ( 1 / Yij2 )

(1)

For smaller the better,

473

Where Xij is normalized S/N ratio, Yij is the S/N ratio


obtained from the Taguchi analysis, min(Yij) and
max(Yij) are respectively minimum and maximum
values of S/N ratio.
Stage 2
Grey relational grade in this analysis indicates the
relational degree between every sequences of
obtained values. The grey relational coefficient can be
calculated as
GCij =( min + max ) / (ij + max )

S/N ratio = - 10 log (1/n) (

Yij2 )

(2)

Where n is the number of replications for each


experiment and Yij is the response values. Table 4
shows the S/N ratio of obtained response from each
experiment.
Grey Relational Approach
In the present study, the multiple performance
characteristics have been investigated with grey
relational approach. In this method, the multiple
performance characteristics can be converted into
single grey relational grade. The following stages are
done for this approach:
Stage 1
The S/N ratios obtained from the Taguchi analysis
have to be normalized in the range of 0 to 1.
For larger the better,
Xij = (Yij min (Yij)) / ( max (Yij) min (Yij ) ) (3)
For smaller the better,
Xij = (max(Yij) Yij) / ( max (Yij) min (Yij ) ) (4)

(5)

Where GCij is the grey relational grade. Since multi


response characteristics consist of both larger the
better and smaller the better, is assumed to 0.5 in
this case. min and max are the minimum and
maximum absolute difference which is a deviation
from target value and can be treated as quality loss.
Stage 3
After averaging the grey relational coefficients,
grey relational grade (Gi) can be calculated as
Gi = (1/m) GCij

(6)

Where m is the number of response variables. The


high value of grey relational grade indicates the
stronger relational degree between ideal sequence and
present sequence. Ideal sequence is the best response
in the machining process. Higher grey grade indicates
closer to the optimal response in the process.
Results and Discussion
Table 4 shows the S/N ratio with its corresponding
normalized S/N ratio for material removal rate and
surface roughness. These values have been converted

Table 4S/N ratio and normalized S/N ratio for conducted experiments
Material removal rate
Trial number

Surface roughness

S/N ratio

Normalized S/N ratio

S/N ratio

Normalized S/N ratio

13.51557

-10.2644

18.68997

0.50253131

-16.8771

0.40844403

19.56361

0.58737828

-21.4229

17.45478

0.38257092

-13.2173

0.73584027

22.1442

0.83800194

-19.6635

0.15918044

18.46903

0.48107353

-16.8895

0.40733162

23.81224

-16.2983

0.460226

20.74853

0.70245623

-13.6609

0.69615416

22.51613

0.8741233

-19.0655

0.21267373

INDIAN J ENG MATER SCI., DECEMBER 2013

474

Table 5Grey relational coefficients with grey relational grade


Trial number
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

Grey relational coefficient


3

MRR (mm /min)

Ra (m)

0.333333
0.501269
0.547872
0.447456
0.755289
0.490713
1
0.626925
0.798879

1
0.458062
0.333333
0.654313
0.372906
0.457595
0.480874
0.62201
0.388402

Grey relational grade

Rank

0.666667
0.479665
0.440603
0.550885
0.564098
0.474154
0.740437
0.624467
0.593641

2
7
9
6
5
8
1
3
4

Table 6Response table of the average grey relational grade


Input factors

Average grey relational grade by factor level

max-min

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Gap voltage (V)


0.5290
Discharge current (A)
0.6527
Duty factor
0.5884
Total mean grey relational grade = 0.5705

0.5297
0.5561
0.5414

0.6528
0.5028
0.5817

Fig. 3Grey relational grade for multi response

into grey scale co-efficients as per stages involved in


grey relational analysis. As already indicated,
distinguishing coefficient have been taken as 0.5.
After getting grey relational coefficients, grey scale
grade has been found as illustrated earlier. The rank
of each trial has been tabulated based on grey scale
grade as shown in Table 5. The higher grey
relational grade will have better multi response
characteristics. Figure 3 shows the grey relational
grade for all experiments. Hence it is proved that
experiment 7 has the optimal parameters setting for
best multi response characteristics such as material
removal rate and surface roughness. The average grey
relational grade value for every level of the input
parameters is shown in Table 6. These have been
calculated by taking the average for each level group

0.1238
0.1499
0.0470

in all the levels of process parameters. Since it


denotes the level of correlation between reference
sequence and obtained sequence, the higher value of
average grey grade indicates stronger correlation
between them. It indicates optimal level of process
parameters. The higher max-min value indicates the
most important nature on determining response in the
process. Hence it is proved that discharge current is
most significant factor among electrical input
parameters in EDM process. The optimal setting
process parameters combination has been obtained
from Table 6, i.e., optimal gap voltage level 3;
optimal discharge current level 1; optimal duty factor
level 1; and the optimal combination of A3 B1 C1.
The values of optimum process parameters are gap
voltage 70 V, peak current 9 A and duty factor 0.4.
Confirmation test

After identifying the optimal process parameters,


the confirmation test is to be conducted to validate the
analysis. In the confirmation test, an experiment has
been conducted with optimal process parameters
settings. The predicted grey relational analysis using
optimal process parameters is given as
= m + (n - m)

(7)

Where m is the total mean grey relational grade; n is


the mean grey relational at optimum level; The
predicted value obtained from Eq. (7) is 0.7529. At
the optimal setting, the response values from the

MUTHURAMALINGAM & MOHAN: OPTIMIZATION OF PROCESS PRAMETERS IN EDM

confirmation experiments are material removal rate is


15.78 and surface roughness is 6.42, and the grey
relational grade value is 0.7404. The grey relational
grade value of confirmation experiment is improved
by 1.7% from the predicted mean value.
Conclusions
In this study, Taguchi L9 array with grey relational
analysis has been used to optimize the multiple
performance characteristics such as material removal
rate and surface roughness. The largest max-min value
has been found from response table. It is found that
peak current is most significant factor among process
parameters involved in EDM process. The values of
optimum process parameters are gap voltage
Confirmation test proved that the determined optimum
combination has satisfied the real requirement of input
process parameters in thermal erosion process.
Acknowledgement
The authors wish to express their sincere thanks to
Department of Production Technology and Centre for

475

Rresearch, Anna University, Chennai, for funding this


research.
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