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GF AgieCharmilles

GF AgieCharmilles (16)

GF AgieCharmilles will host a special anniversary open house event commemorating the company’s 60 years of Electrical Discharge Machine (EDM) technology development. Scheduled for June 27 – 28 at its North American headquarters in Lincolnshire, Illinois. The two-day 60th Anniversary Event will include educational seminars, training sessions and technology demonstrations along with special celebration activities.

Sixty years ago, GF AgieCharmilles began its research and development of EDM. The upcoming event will highlight the results of that extensive experience with demonstrations of the company’s latest wire and sinker EDM technology from automatic wire changing capability to the industry’s most advanced EDM Human Machine Interface (HMI). The event will also showcase the company’s high-speed and high-performance milling machines, 3D laser surface texturing machines and automation solutions.

Attendees of the 60th Anniversary Open House Event will be able to participate in presentations covering a wide range of topics related to milling, EDM and laser technology. Some of the topics covered will touch upon EDM cutting performance and part surface finish improvements, 5-axis machining and laser surface texturing.

Presentations will include:

  • Common CNC Platforms: A New Era of EDM User Interface
  • How to Cut Accurate Parts on High-Speed 5-Axis Milling Machines
  • 3 + 2-Axis Milling: The New Game Changer in Manufacturing
  • EDM Hole Drilling – Fast, Easy and Accurate
  • Increased Machine Uptime Through Optimized Service and Support
  • Automation: The New Paradigm in Manufacturing

GF AgieCharmilles partner companies will also be on hand demonstrating their latest technologies, offering applications support and participating in presentations. Those partners in attendance at the event will be Seco Tools, REGO-FIX, Hirschmann, System 3R, Poco Graphite, Fraisa, 5-th Axis and Nikon.

The wide range of machines on display will demonstrate applications specific to the key industries as well, such as aerospace, mold and die, medical and e-manufacturing. Machines featured at the 60th Anniversary Open House will include:

  • Mikron HSM 200U LP 5-Axis High Speed Milling Machine
  • New Form 20 CNC Diesinking EDM
  • Mikron HEM 500U 5-Axis High Efficiency Milling Machine
  • New CUT 300SP Wire EDM US Premiere
  • New CUT 200MS Wire EDM US Premiere
  • Mikron HPM 1350U 5-Axis High Performance Milling Machine with a Siemens Control
  • CUT 2000 AWC OilTech Wire EDM with an Automatic Wire Changer
  • CUT 1000+F OilTech Wire EDM
  • LASER 1000 5Ax Laser Texturing System with a Pallet Changer
  • DRILL 300D EDM Drilling Machine with an Auto Tool Changer US Premiere
  • CUT 20P Wire EDM
  • DRILL 20 EDM Drilling Machine
  • Mikron HSM 400U LP 5-Axis High Speed Milling Machine with Linear Motor Technology
  • Mikron HPM 450U Milling Machine 5-Axis High Performance Milling Machine
  • FORM 200MS High Precision Sinker EDM

For more information or to register, visit: go.us.gfac.com/OpenHouse2013

Ideal for machining aluminum, alloy and steel parts, the 5-axis HEM 500U features a highly dynamic 12,000-rpm spindle and 30-tool magazine that provides a 2-second chip-to-chip time for high-speed continuous milling operations and increased spindle uptime. Additionally, a 20,000-rpm spindle and 60-tool changer are available.

The machine’s trunnion table measures 19.7” (500 mm) in diameter and accommodates workpiece weights up to 440 lbs. (200 kg). It tilts +50 mm/-110 mm in the B-axis and rotates 360 degrees in C for 3 + 2 machining as well as 5-side positioning. Axis travels in X, Y and Z measure 19.7” (500 mm), 17.7” (450 mm) and 15.7” (400 mm), respectively, while a distance of 5.9” (150 mm) between the machine spindle nose and rotary table surface allows for ample maneuverability around workpieces.

The HEM 500U relies on a new Heidenhain iTNC 530 control for quick and reliable machining. This versatile, workshop-oriented control for 5 (3+2) axis machining features an integrated digital drive control with integrated inverter, enabling it to produce a highly accurate workpiece contour while machining at high velocity. The HEM 500U also comes equipped with smart machining modules that provide advanced levels of monitoring critical to part production.

For more information, visit: us.gfac.com/products/details.cfm?prodID=454

The new high-tech, high-speed MIKRON HSM 200U LP milling machine from GF AgieCharmilles will make its North American debut at the 2013 Medical Design and Manufacturing (MD&M) West Show. The show takes place Feb. 12-14 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California.  

Available in 3- and 5-axis versions, the MIKRON HSM 200U LP (linear performance) brings speed, efficiency and precision to the machining of small, highly complex components, such as medical implants, electrodes and watch components. With a compact footprint, the machine easily fits into most facilities, which is key for dental labs, watchmaking shops and other locations where floor space is often extremely limited.

According to Gisbert Ledvon, director of business development for GF AgieCharmilles in North America, the MIKRON HSM 200U LP accommodates the medical industry’s increased need for lean manufacturing via small-footprint, high-speed machines that bring amazing accuracy and supreme surface finishes to small parts production.   

The MIKRON HSM 200U LP can produce workpieces via true 5-axis simultaneous high-speed machining. Linear motor technology in the main machine axes and optimized direct-drive motors for the B and C axes result in high precision and superior part surface finishes as fine as Ra 0.05 µm. Furthermore, the machine’s powerful 50,000-rpm, 11.4-hp Step-Tec spindle also assists in providing excellent surface finish and part detail.

To counteract the high levels of heat that can develop over prolonged periods of high axis feedrates, the MIKRON HSM 200U LP employs a sophisticated thermal management system. Each of the linear axes features a cooling unit to systematically draw the heat out of the machine, creating geometric stability and high repeatability of movement guidance.

A Heidenhain iTNC 530 control system and smart machining modules on the HSM 200U LP provide advanced levels of monitoring critical to the production of high-value precision medical parts. The system allows the machine to automatically check and evaluate tools and workpieces, inspect tools for breakage and perform measurements of the workpiece. Additionally, the smart machine modules automatically monitor spindle vibration, calibrate machine geometry and transmit process status messages to an operator’s cell phone.

To avoid inconsistent loading of small tools and 3D geometry errors due to the inaccurate measurement of those tools, the MIKRON HSM 200U LP features Intelligent Tool Measurement (ITM). ITM records the complete tool tip up to a diameter of 0.47” on image sensors. Special software cleans and measures the recorded tool geometry for repeatability in the micrometer range.

The MIKRON HSM 200U LP's robust polymer concrete machine base provides increased performance in the areas of vibration dampening and thermal stability, extending tool life and reducing operating cost. Also, attention to the ergonomics of the machine’s design allows for uncharacteristically easy access to workpieces.

Lastly, the MIKRON HSM 200U LP possesses the capability for 24/7 unattended machining using its optional MIKRON pallet magazines with System 3R and Erowa interfaces. These fully integrated pallet magazines can be loaded without interrupting cutting operations already in progress. The automation of tool or workpiece handling is possible from three sides of the machine.

For more information, visit: www.gfac.com/us

Where workshop floor space and machine installation weight are considerations, producers of small and precise parts need look no further than GF AgieCharmilles' new MIKRON HSM 200 LP and HSM 200U LP Milling machines.

With three and five axes respectively, the machines are candidates for awards in the areas of compact footprint, built-in flexibility for dedicated Automation requirements and production-proof axis design and chip management solutions.

The HSM 200 LP and HSM 200U LP perfectly meet high-speed Milling needs in production environments where location and available floor space limit machine installation weight and dimensions. Second-floor dental labs and watchmaking operations are two such examples. Moreover, these machines are perfectly aligned with the Milling needs of producers of smaller electrodes and higher-volume precision parts.

Dimensions of the three-axis HSM 200 LP and five-axis HSM 200U LP during commissioning can be as little as 890 x 2,000 mm (width x height) or 35.03 x 78.7 inches (width x height) with a weight of approximately 3,600 kg (7,900 lb). The tables feature not only a standard automated chuck but can be equipped with up to four additional media channels to operate automated individual part clamping systems on top of a palletized standard interface. With this functionality, production of even small to medium batch sizes with short cycle times may be tackled in unattended shifts, 24/7.

Great care was taken during the machines’ development to reduce the footprint of the machine tool cell without sacrificing high-quality machining results. That is accomplished with a revolutionary axis concept built for in-process precision and stability and superior chip fall. More specifically, the design ensures rigidity and damping of the machine tool base for the most smooth tool center point movement under changing load conditions yielding excellent machining characteristics and finish part quality.

Plus, with linear direct drives on all axes, the HSM 200 LP and HSM 200U LP produce perfect surface qualities down to Ra < 0.05 microns, reducing processing time, and impressively prolonging tool life. The machines feature a Heidenhain iTNC 530 control, a powerful 50,000-rpm HSK-E32 motor spindle, 30- or 60-piece tool magazine, and an 80- or 400-liter coolant tank with efficient chip separation by progressive filter stages.

The two machines underscore GF AgieCharmilles' reputation for innovating on behalf of customers. The HSM 200 LP and HSM 200U LP offer the power, flexibility and precision to increase customers’ competitive edge.

For example, in medical technology, the HSM 200U LP is the new five-axis production machining solution for ceramic dental prostheses as well as implants made of titanium, cobalt-chrome, or a variety of plastic materials.

As another example, the HSM 200 LP is an asset to die and mold manufacturers producing hardened tool steel inserts and copper electrodes for light-emitting diodes (LEDs), zoom cameras and microfluidics like lab-on-chip devices, and to makers of parts for watch movements with built-in COCN direct part clamping solutions.

Like all GF AgieCharmilles products, the HSM 200 LP and HSM 200U LP are supported by a continuum of Customer Services customizable to your particular needs. GF AgieCharmilles’ Customer Services offers the industry’s most comprehensive service package: preventive services, training, a dedicated Helpline, original wear parts and certified consumables, and a Privilege Club with special advantages available only to GF AgieCharmilles customers.

For more information, visit: www.gfac.com/gfac/products.html

Tuesday, 18 October 2011 11:05

Georg Fischer opens new plant in Changzhou

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Georg Fischer continues to expand at a fast pace in the Chinese market: GF AgieCharmilles, a Corporate Group of Georg Fischer, today inaugurated a new production site in Changzhou. Georg Fischer invested about RMB 80 million (11 million Swiss francs) to build the new facility.

China is today the world’s leading market for machine tools, and GF AgieCharmilles – a Corporate Group of Georg Fischer Ltd. – is expanding its presence accordingly. Manufacturers of precision parts use the milling machines of this Swiss Corporate Group for production in aeronautics, tool- and mold-making and electronic devices.

Capacity of 1,000 milling machines a year

The new facility in Changzhou covers a production area of 8,000 square meters and is dedicated to the manufacture of milling machines for China and the export markets. It has a capacity of 1,000 machines per year. Changzhou, located around 200 km west of Shanghai, has good transport connections and boasts a long tradition in mechanical engineering. "The inauguration of the new plant shows our strong commitment as well as our strong confidence in the future development of the Chinese market,” explained Yves Serra, CEO of Georg Fischer Ltd., at the opening ceremony in Changzhou attended by some 250 customers and high-ranking guests from the world of politics and business.

In-house research & development lab

The new production site in Changzhou is equipped with a demo center and a research and development laboratory in order to keep pace with the changing needs of its Chinese customers. Georg Fischer also attaches great importance to the training of the local staff, which is reflected in the training center integrated into the facility. "With our international research and development network and regular training for our employees, we can ensure the transfer of knowledge and technology, and hence of Swiss quality too," says Jean-Pierre Wilmes, Head of GF AgieCharmilles.

Production started over 30 years ago

A globally active company with its own organizational structure, GF AgieCharmilles is present at 50 locations worldwide. It has been selling its products in China for over 30 years. The production started first in Beijing and now in Changzhou. Beside this two production plants, GF AgieChar-milles has sales offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Georg Fischer in China

Georg Fischer has been present in China since 1993. Today the group has more than 20 companies throughout China including 14 production companies. It employs around 2,400 people in the country. Annual sales reached the equivalent of around 500 million Swiss francs in 2010.

For more information, visit: www.gfac.com

Monday, 15 August 2011 10:18

GF AgieCharmilles is setting new standards

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Six GF AgieCharmilles world premiere products, including: Milling centers, electric discharge machining (EDM) machines and flexible Automation solutions for die-sinking EDM – plus an impressive array of existing Milling, EDM and Laser products and the world’s most comprehensive Customer Services offering – will take the stage September 19-24, at EMO 2011, in Hannover, Germany.

GF AgieCharmilles’ machines, Automation solutions and services will be showcased in a brand new booth designed specifically to allow visitors to experience the value GF AgieCharmilles adds to manufacturers in growing industrial areas. Hall 27, Booth D44 at the Hannover Exhibition Grounds is the place to see the Group’s first-in-class products – many with Energy Care features – in action, as GF AgieCharmilles’ experts demonstrate a variety of demanding applications for manufacturing segments like automotive, aerospace and aeronautics, medical and dental technologies, electronic components, and Information and Communication Technology.

Milling
On the Milling side, GF AgieCharmilles will debut two new high-speed and high-performance machining centers. The MIKRON HSM 600U LP is the ideal high-speed milling solution for prototype production, die making and fully automated, low-volume series production where accuracy and surface finish are key success factors. The MIKRON HPM 450U is a high-performance machine that boasts a new torque rotary tilting table for unlimited five-axis machining, and a cleverly conceived working spindle variation that could only come from a partner with deep application expertise from micro to macro. Besides these all-new solutions, GF AgieCharmilles will present the MIKRON HPM 800U HD, a fully automated five-axis, high-output compact machining center with various pallet magazines.

GF AgieCharmilles will also demonstrate its MIKRON HSM 400 LP Precision, which takes automated production of micro components for the die and mold sector to new heights in accuracy and surface finish; and the MIKRON VCE 1000 Pro-X, featuring linear scales, a reliable and powerful 16,000 rpm inline spindle, as a cost-effective answer for increased machining demand in mold and die and for the accurate production of parts.

EDM
Four all-new EDM products will be unveiled by GF AgieCharmilles at EMO Hannover 2011: the FORM 300 vP with S3R WPT1+, a highly versatile die-sinking machining solution representing new dimensions in autonomy and flexibility; the innovative FORM 200 mS with RTC die-sinking EDM solution equipped with the Rotary Tool Changer; the CUT 2000 OilTech which uses oil as a dielectric to make surface protection an absolute priority; and the DRILL 300, a quick, fine, reliable and powerful hole-drilling EDM machine.

GF AgieCharmilles will also demonstrate its  CUT 1000, the world’s most accurate wire-cutting EDM machine, especially designed for micro applications and equipped with the new Integrated Vision Unit (IVU), to deliver optical access to details that a 3D probe does not; the CUT 200 wire-cutting EDM machine that accelerates productivity while offering greater autonomy over production costs and quality; and the die-sinking FORM 1000 with the new S3R WPT1+ offering exceptional accuracy and best efficiency in erosion.

Automation
Visitors to GF AgieCharmilles’ booth at EMO will get their first look at the Group’s latest Automation solutions to manage the complete manufacturing process flow, from preparation to machining. This includes programming (CAD/CAM level), management of the workshop, traceability, and handling. For handling, GF AgieCharmilles offers the Rotary Tool Changer (RTC), the first truly compact and modular robot; and the WPT1+, available in four configurations for die-sinking EDM but also compatible with Milling and Laser. The affordable, flexible and sleekly designed new robot WPT1+ can manage a variety of tooling in an array of weights up to 80 kilograms and is a direct response to customers’ application needs.

The WPT1+, available as WPT1+ Light, WPT1+ Middle, WPT1+ Heavy and WPT1+ Heavy Plus, gives mold makers a full range of Automation options suited to their applications and can address parts and tooling for two machines at once.

Laser
Also in the EMO Hannover 2011 spotlight will be GF AgieCharmilles’ clean, highly accurate and flexible Laser technology demonstrated by the LASER 1000 5Ax, which can apply the finest textures in applications across many industrial segments from automotive to consumer and luxury goods.

The LASER 1000 5Ax, one of six machines in the Group’s laser portfolio, is an ideal solution for adding brand logos, continuous textures and hologram-like effects. Customers use GF AgieCharmilles’ Laser products to texture molds for automotive interiors and embossing rolls and plates.

With GF AgieCharmilles’ Laser texturing solutions, you have an eternally sharp tool with no threat of wear or breakage, a fully digitized machining process and no worries about disposing of fluids, slurry or chips; trace amounts of dust produced by Laser products is automatically vacuumed away.

Customer Services

All GF AgieCharmilles products are supported by a full range of Customer Services that can be tailored to each customer’s needs. With the most comprehensive services portfolio in the world, GF AgieCharmilles Customer Services includes:

• Operations Support - Ensures optimum levels of performance and precision in daily operations and offers a wide range of certified consumables and original wear parts.
• Machine Support - Maximizes machine uptime with original spare parts, technical support and preventive services.
• Business Support - Enhances operational potential with tailored business solutions.

For more information, visit: www.gfac.com or www.emo-hannover.de

In the highly competitive field of producing optical products and molds for light-emitting diodes (LED), Taiwan’s Hong Yang Precision Industry Co., Ltd relies on GF AgieCharmilles’ award-winning Intelligent Tool Measurement (ITM) system to achieve and maintain tool accuracy.

More success
Established 30 years ago as a mold company, Hong Yang Precision Industry Co., Ltd has factories in both Taiwan and China, with the Taiwan facility primarily producing die products for LED and precision opticals.

GF AgieCharmilles’ Milling and EDM technologies are important factors in the company’s success, said Ching Xu, Hong Yang Mold and Die Department Chief. He said GF AgieCharmilles’ ITM system helps make it possible for Hong Yang to live its vision of innovation and progress.

Hong Yang’s fleet of GF AgieCharmilles machines include a MIKRON HSM 400 LP Precision high-speed milling center which was especialy conceived for high precision applications. Additionally the machine is equipped with ITM which allows best possible machining repeatability.

“We chose GF AgieCharmilles’ ITM because it uses optics to measure, guaranteeing more accurate measurement,” Xu said. “In our process, we work about 16 hours per day and we are always using ITM to measure and check our cutting tools.”

Hong Yang is so satisified with ITM’s results that it’s the company’s only means of tool measurement.

“We do not measure our tools on a measuring machine before we put them in the tool changer. We measure out tools directly by ITM,” Xu said. “The operation guidance is helpful because we sometimes recheck settings data with the operation guidance.”

Exceeding expectations
Stanley Lee, Milling Application Engineer with Agie Charmilles Taiwan Ltd, said enabling its partners’ ability to meet and even exceed their customers’ expectations for precision was at the heart of ITM’s development.

“Our ITM system is unique worldwide and a true leap forward for tool measurement. Tool accuracy has always been extremely important to manufacturers of complex, intricate and highly precise parts, but to a large degree accuracy was limited to the accuracy of available measuring equipment,” Lee explained. “For example, traditional measuring technologies such as the laser are prone to pollution and this can lead to inaccurate measurement results. ITM guarantees accuracy by using optical tool measurement at full spindle speed.”

Available on GF AgieCharmilles’ range of high-speed milling machines, ITM does not just measure one single point; it optically inspects the whole tool contour. Afterward, the detection the effective contour is compared to the nominal outline by ITM. Based on that, the system is able to locate pollution (chips and drops of coolant) and to digitally clean the tool before the measurement is made. The MIKRON HSM 400 LP Precision equipped with ITM provides incomparably accurate measurement of the tool’s geometry and typically offers an absolute Z-reference and tool radius below range of +/- 1 micron in the process.

“Since its introduction, the smart machine module ITM has offered many of our customers new levels of precision,” said Lee, adding that ITM was the top winner at the Prodex innovation awards in 2010.

Measuring for excellence
For the 1,200 employees of Hong Yang Precision Industry Co., Ltd, excellence comes down to the tiniest details – and GF AgieCharmilles’ ITM system continues to meet their customers’ most challenging requests.

“In the production of dies for LED, poor measurement of the tool surface means the die cannot be used because it doesn’t fit,” said Xu. “We have found that dies produced with GF AgieCharmilles technology are of highest accuracy and quality.”

In an increasingly competitive market place, high accuracy and quality are not negotiable, he said.

“GF AgieCharmilles’ Swissness means, to us, high precesion and high quality. GF AgieCharmilles is always here for us with ongoing services and application support,” Xu said.

For more information, visit: www.gfac.com/gfac/products/standard-machining-centers/smart-machine/itm-intelligent-tool-measurement.html

GF AgieCharmilles has announced that it will be holding Technology Days 2011 on June 29 – 30 at its North American headquarters in Lincolnshire, Illinois. The two-day event will include educational seminars and training sessions, as well as technology demonstrations.

Attendees of Technology Days 2011 will be able to participate in presentations covering a wide range of topics related to milling, EDM and laser technology. Some of the topics covered will include in-process inspection for 5-axis machining, Cool Core spindle technology, laser innovations in surface texturing and using synthetic dielectric fluids and lubricants to improve cutting performance and surface finish. Seminars will be presented by representatives from GF AgieCharmilles, EOS, ESPRIT, CAMplete,Fraisa, Mastercam, Open Mind, OptiSolutions, REGO-FIX and System 3R.


The wide range of machines on display will demonstrate applications specific to the aerospace, mold and die, medical and e-manufacturing industries. Machines featured at Technology Days 2011 include:

-       CUT 30P Wire EDM

-       CUT 300 Wire EDM

-       CUT 2000 AWC Wire EDM

-       Progress VP2 Wire EDM

-       Drill 20 High-Speed Hole Drilling EDM

-       FO 550 SP Diesinking EDM

-       FO 350 MS Diesinking EDM

-       FM 400 Diesinking EDM

-       HSM 500 High-Speed Machining Center

-       HSM 400 U LP 5-Axis High-Speed Machining Center

-       Laser 1000 5Ax Laser Ablation Center

-       EOSINT M 280



Manufacturers interested in attending Technology Days 2011 can register at: http://us.gfac.com/events

GF AgieCharmilles will be demonstrating EDM and 5-axis milling technologies in booth #1224 at EASTEC 2011. EASTEC 2011 will take place on May 17 – 19 at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

The GF AgieCharmilles CUT 200 Wire EDM provides faster spark-to-spark wire threading, increases energy efficiency and boosts productivity when cutting parts of variable heights. The machine also offers higher flexibility through its ability to reliably hold tolerances measured in microns over a wide range of part sizes.

The CUT 200 integrates GF AgieCharmilles’ Power Expert smart module, which continuously calculates part thickness, checking flushing pressure and adjusting machine power accordingly. This prevents wire breakage when changing the part thickness being machined. The machine also offers anoptional Renishaw touch probe that allows users to inspect finished parts while still on the worktable in the machine, eliminating the need for part inspection with a CMM.

The CUT 200 accommodates wire diameters ranging from 0.07 mm – 0.33 mm and can handle part tapers of up to 45°, regardless of part thickness. The machine’s digital CC generator enables surface finishes as fine as Ra 0.1 µm and an optional power module can boost cutting speed to 37.2 in2/hr.  Additionally, the Econowatt 2 smart module provides energy savings by allowing operators to define conditions in which the machine will automatically shut down or awaken to complete thermal stabilization prior to production.

On the diesinking side, GF AgieCharmilles will be showcasing the FORM 20, a cost-effective solution that combines ease of usewith exception performance. Offering consistent reliability, the FORM 20 ensures high rigidity, good interference and reduced setup times.

Constructed with an ultra rigid cast iron C-frame and cross-table design, the FORM 20 guarantees stiffness and is suited to withstand the temperature fluctuations found in the standard workshop environment. GF AgieCharmilles designed the machine with an integrated tool capacity for 4 - 6 positions, as well as glass scales on all axes that continuously measure axis positions, ensuring the highest level of positioning and cutting accuracy. Additionally, the FORM 20 displayed at EASTEC will include the FD (Fine Drill) option, which enables the use of electrodes as small as 0.004” in diameter.

The FORM 20 is also equipped with the intuitive HMI (human-machine interface), which is built on a Windows XP platform and designed with “non-EDM experts” in mind. This ensures that machine operators with minimal experience can program a job and quickly yield the desired geometrical and surface finish results in all cavities.

The system can be easilyintegrated into a data network via LAN for remote monitoring and data management. Adding to the smart design of control is the proven performance of the Advanced Power Generator (APG), a high efficiency, high output 72/103 Amp generator that delivers high speed, consistent surface finish quality, precision, low wear and high removal rates.

In terms of milling solutions, GF AgieCharmilleswill be demonstrating the HSM 400U LP, a 5-axis, high-speed milling center that provides high precision and surface finish quality. The machine is extremely dynamic and fast, and achieves speeds up to 250 RPM on the rotational axis and up to 150 RPM on the swivelaxis, with a B-axis swivel range of 220 degrees. The HSM 400U LP also uses a liquid cooled, linear direct drive motor technology to allow for short setting times and high dynamic rigidity of the attitude control. Additionally, the linear direct drive combines with central oil lubrication to reduce friction-induced wear and ensure excellent, long-term precision.

With powerful vector spindles available at 30,000, 42,000 or 54,000 RPM, the HSM 400U LP also provides excellent surface finish and part detail, while significantly reducing machining time for semi-finishing and finishing operations. The machine’s high dynamics and 1.7 g acceleration help facilitate the reduction of non-productive time and help to maximize spindle utilization.

The HSM 400U LP possesses the capability for 24/7 unattended machining using the optional pallet changer with 20/48 pallets. This fully integral pallet magazine further enhances the machine’s automation potential. The pallet changer can be loaded while the machine is cutting, leading to minimum idle time for the machining center.

Lastly, GF AgieCharmilles will showcase its DRILL 20 high-speed vertical drill. Using electrodes ranging from 0.006” to 0.12” in diameter, the DRILL 20 productively drills holes in conductive materials, including hardened steel, carbide, aluminum, copper and brass. The machine features an intuitive, easy-to-use interface and automatically selects optimal settings based on minimal user input. The DRILL 20’s control provides a network connection, rapid job setup, an onboard user manual, data input for positioning and functions for automatic edge and center find.

GF AgieCharmilles is the North American leading supplier of laser ablation center, wire EDM, CNC and manual diesinking systems and high speed/performance and 5-axis CNC milling machines.

For more information visit: www.gfac.com/us

GF AgieCharmilles will be focusing on its LASER series of laser ablation centers at MicroManufacturing Expo 2011. The company will occupy booth #103 at the event, which will take place April 5- 6 at the Drury Lane Convention Center in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois.

With the LASER series, GF AgieCharmilles expanded its offerings to include laser ablation, in addition to wire and diesinking edm and high speed, high performance milling. The new machines provide a fully digitalized manufacturing process that yields detailed and nuanced texturing, microstructuring, engraving, marking and labeling.

Laser ablation represents a process that is more repeatable, flexible and environmentally friendly than conventional manual and chemical etching processes. 2D and 3D details are machined from a high-quality digital image, allowing completely reproducible results for specific textures, engravings, marks or labels.

The mapping system of the LASER series uses a pulsed laser to render the desired texturing. While chemical etching can only produced 3 to 5 layers, GF AgieCharmilles’ laser ablation technology can achieve 30 to 50 layers to provide a much higher level of detail. This allows for much greater creativity in part design across a wide variety of materials, including graphite, aluminum, copper, steel, carbide, brass and ceramics.

Machines in the LASER series provide two optical and five mechanical axes, housed in a cast iron body that achieves excellent absorption, stability and quality. Linear scales and rotary encoders ensure maximum accuracy. A 20-watt, Ytterbium pulsed fiber laser provides the heart of the machine, with a 50-watt option available to further boost capabilities. LASER series machines also come standard with a programmable, tilting laser head, high-resolution camera with integrated illumination for fine positioning, integrated touch probe, dust exhaust, central lubrication system and lenses of varying focal strength.

Ergonomics were given special attention throughout the design of the LASER series and the machines feature excellent visual and physical access to the work area. Two front-opening doors ensure easy loading and unloading of large parts via a crane.

In addition to being a faster and more precise means of producing texture with increased reliability, laser ablation offers pollutant-free operation, producing no fluids, slurry or chips. Dust particles produced by the process are automatically extracted by vacuum to guarantee a clean process.

For more information visit: www.gfac.com/us

In the highly competitive field of producing optical products and molds for light-emitting diodes (LED), Taiwan’s Hong Yang Precision Industry Co., Ltd relies on GF AgieCharmilles’ award-winning Intelligent Tool Measurement (ITM) system to achieve and maintain tool accuracy.

Established 30 years ago as a mold company, Hong Yang has factories in both Taiwan and China, with the Taiwan facility primarily producing die products for LED and precision opticals.

GF AgieCharmilles’ milling and EDM technologies are important factors in the company’s success, says Ching Xu, mold and die department chief at Hong Yang. He also says that GF AgieCharmilles’ ITM system helps make it possible for Hong Yang to live its vision of innovation and progress.

Hong Yang’s assortment of GF AgieCharmilles machines includes a Mikron HSM 400 LP Precision high-speed milling center, which was conceived specifically for high-precision applications. Additionally, the machine is equipped with ITM, which allows the best possible machining repeatability.

“We chose GF AgieCharmilles ITM because it uses optics to measure, guaranteeing more accurate measurement,” says Mr. Xu. “In our process, we work about 16 hours per day and we are always using ITM to measure and check our cutting tools.”

Hong Yang is so confident in ITM’s results that it is the company’s only means of tool measurement.

“We do not measure our tools on a measuring machine before we put them in the tool changer,” says Mr. Xu. “We measure out tools directly by ITM. The operation guidance is helpful because we sometimes recheck the settings data with the operation guidance.”

Stanley Lee, milling application engineer with Agie Charmilles Taiwan Ltd, says that enabling its partners’ ability to meet and even exceed their customers’ expectations for precision was at the heart of ITM’s development.

“Our ITM system is unique worldwide and a true leap forward for tool measurement,” says Mr. Lee. “Tool accuracy has always been extremely important to manufacturers of complex, intricate and highly precise parts, but to a large degree, accuracy was limited to the accuracy of available measuring equipment. For example, traditional measuring technologies, such as the laser, are prone to pollution and this can lead to inaccurate measurement results. ITM guarantees accuracy by using optical tool measurement at full spindle speed.”

Available on GF AgieCharmilles’ range of high-speed milling machines, ITM does not just measure a single point, but optically inspects the whole tool contour. The detection of the effective contour is then compared to the nominal outline by ITM. Using that data, the system is able to locate pollution, such as chips and drops of coolant, and to digitally clean the tool before the measurement is made. When equipped with ITM, the Mikron HSM 400 LP Precision provides incomparably accurate measurement of the tool’s geometry and typically offers an absolute Z-reference and tool radius below the range of +/- 1 micron.

“Since its introduction, the ITM Smart Machine Module has offered many of our customers new levels of precision,” says Mr. Lee. He adds that ITM was the top winner at the Prodex Innovation Awards in 2010.

For the 1,200 employees at Hong Yang, excellence comes down to the tiniest details. GF AgieCharmilles’ ITM system meets their customers’ most challenging requests.

“In the production of dies for LED, poor measurement of the tool surface means the die cannot be used, because it doesn’t fit,” says Mr. Xu. “We have found that dies produced with GF AgieCharmilles’ technology are of the highest accuracy and quality.”

Accoridng to Mr. Xu, in an increasingly competitive marketplace, high accuracy and quality are not negotiable.

“GF AgieCharmilles’ Swissness means, to us, high precision and high quality,” says Mr. Zu. “GF AgieCharmilles is always here for us with ongoing services and application support.”

To watch a video on ITM visit: http://www.gfac.com/gfac/products/productvideos/itm-v.html

Friday, 25 February 2011 13:57

Fast Tool Changers for EDM

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A new range of ultra-quick FTC (Fast Tool Changers), launched by GF AgieCharmilles, are now available as an optional fit on a number of its advanced EDM spark erosion machines.

The FTC capability means that EDM tool (electrode) change can be completed in just 15 seconds (spark-to-spark), significantly reducing cycle times on high-precision, micro-feature parts. Prior to the introduction of GF AgieCharmilles’ FTC technology –  the best ‘spark-to-spark’ tool change times that could be achieved on die-sink machines were around 40-45 seconds per electrode change-over.

"FTCs really come into their own when machining small, multi-cavity jobs and parts with a number of intricate features, and where erosion times are short," says Martin Spencer, managing director at GF AgieCharmilles. "In these scenarios the FTC changes tools between sparks in less than 15 seconds...and that includes the time to move the correct tool into place, release it, and grasp the next tool.

"In the competitive world of EDM manufacturing, the FTC demonstrates that it really is the case that every second counts."

The FTC is a compact automation solution allows easy the easy loading of pre-set electrodes into the tool magazine. The FTC provides manufacturers with a 20 position magazine with a maximum electrode weight of 7kg per position.

Fast Tool Changers are available as optional fits on GF AgieCharmilles’ FORM 200 and FORM 400 spark erosion machines.

For more information on the FORM 200 and FORM 400 machines visit: www.gfac.com/ch/products/die-sinking-edm/high-speed-machining.html

Gisbert Ledvon, Business Development Manager for AgieCharmilles, will be speaking about GF AgieCharmilles' new 3-5 axis laser ablation technology for surface structures at the MicroManufacturing and NanoManufacturing Conferences & Exhibits, April 5-6, 2011 in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. GF AgieCharmilles would like to encourage you to attend!

Once believed to be limited to the electronics industry, micro and nano manufacturing are now making an enormous impact in almost all areas of manufacturing. From new medical devices to creating precise, less expensive and flexible materials, these two technologies are changing the way we manufacture. “The possibilities that micro- and nanomanufacturing offer are so unbelievable, it is hard to wrap your mind around it,” said Lauralyn McDaniel, conference manager. “These technologies will be able to solve problems that we can’t even imagine right now.”

Presentations will discuss how micromanufacturing can improve part quality and lower production costs, sharing real examples that not only illustrate how to use the technologies, but also what not to do. Attendees can network with experts and peers in these fields, have specific problems solved by industry experts and find solution vendors for nearly every micromanufacturing challenge.

Presented during the Emerging MicroManufacturing Technologies & Applications session on Tuesday, April 5th (Day One) at 10:50 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., the laser ablation session will explain how GF AgieCharmilles' new laser ablation technology can be used to produce texturizing, engraving, micro-structuring, marking and labeling of 2D geometries right through to complex 3D geometries. Laser ablation will be compared to conventional surface treatment using manual etching processes.  And economic, ecological and design advantages of laser ablation will also be discussed.

Join 40,000 attendees, and register for this event today!  You won’t want to miss it!

GF AgieCharmilles will be demonstrating Wire EDM and 5-axis milling technologies in its booth, #1258, at AeroDef Manufacturing 2011. The company will also be conducting a session focusing on how advances in EDM technology provide cost benefits to aerospace manufacturers. AeroDef Manufacturing 2011 will take place on April 5 - 7 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.

The GF AgieCharmilles CUT 200 Wire EDM provides faster spark-to-spark wire threading, increases energy efficiency and boosts productivity when cutting parts of variable heights. The machine also offers higher flexibility through its ability to reliably hold tolerances measure in microns in both light and heavy parts.

The CUT 200 integrates GF AgieCharmilles’ Power Expert smart module, which continuously calculates part thickness, checking injection pressure and adjusting machine power accordingly. This prevents wire breakage when changing the part thickness being machined. The machine also offers an optional Renishaw touch probe that allows users to inspect finished parts while still on the worktable in the machine, eliminating the need for part inspection with a CMM.

The CUT 200 accommodates wire diameters ranging from 0.07 mm – 0.33 mm and can handle part tapers of up to 45°, regardless of part thickness. The machine’s digital CC generator enables surface finishes as fine as Ra 0.1 µm and an optional power module can boost cutting speed to 37.2 in2/hr with an adapted wire. Additionally, the Econowatt 2 smart module provides energy savings by allowing operators to define conditions in which the machine will automatically shut down or awaken to complete thermostabilization prior to production.

In terms of milling solutions, GF AgieCharmilles will be demonstrating the HSM 400U LP, a 5-axis, high-speed milling center that provides high precision and surface finish quality. The machine is extremely dynamic and fast, and achieves speeds up to 250 RPM on the rotational axis and up to 150 RPM on the swivel axis, with a B-axis swivel range of 220 degrees. The HSM 400U LP also uses a liquid cooled, linear direct drive motor technology to allow for short setting times and high dynamic rigidity of the attitude control. Additionally, the linear direct drive combines with central oil lubrication to reduce friction-induced wear and ensure excellent, long-term precision.

With powerful vector spindles available at 30,000, 42,000 or 54,000 RPM, the HSM 400U LP also provides excellent surface finish and part detail, while significantly reducing machining time for semi-finishing and finishing operations. The machine’s high dynamics and 1.7 g acceleration help facilitate the reduction of non-productive time and help to maximize spindle utilization.

The HSM 400U LP possesses the capability for 24/7 unattended machining using the optional pallet changer with 20/48 pallets. This fully integrated pallet magazine further enhances the machine’s automation potential. The pallet changer can be loaded while the machine is cutting, leading to minimum idle time for the machining center.

Ken Baeszler, product manager at GF AgieCharmilles, will be presenting ‘Re-evaluating the EDM Process to Reduce Cost in Aerospace Components’ at 3:15 pm on Tuesday, April 5. The session will revolve around recent advancements in EDM centers and how breakthroughs in generator design have allowed the technology to achieve significant cost reductions for aerospace manufacturers.

About GF AgieCharmilles
GF AgieCharmilles is the North American leading supplier of laser ablation centers, wire EDM, CNC and manual diesinking systems and high speed/performance and 5-axis CNC milling machines. For more information on the company’s products and services, contact Gisbert Ledvon, GF AgieCharmilles, 560 Bond St., Lincolnshire, IL 60069-4224, Tel: 1-800-CTC-1EDM. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Fax: 847-913-5340, or visit http://www.gfac.com/us

NIMS Manufacturing Leaders Benchmark Swiss ApprenticeshipIn an effort to continuously improve training of the American workforce, representatives of the U.S. precision manufacturing industry journeyed to Switzerland to meet with Swiss manufacturers and explore that nation’s apprenticeship system. They were not disappointed with what they learned.

The group was led by Harry Moser, NIMS Board Member and Chairman Emeritus, AgieCharmilles LLC; and included Gregory Chambers, NIMS Board Chair and Director of Compliance, Oberg Industries; Jeff Kelly, Chairman & CEO, Hamill Manufacturing; Erick Ajax, Vice-President, E.J. Ajax ; NIMS Deputy Director James Wall. Oberg Industries, Hamill Manufacturing and E.J .Ajax all have NIMS based apprenticeship programs.

Upon their return, Mr. Chambers reported extensively about the Swiss system to the NIMS Board of Directors and engaged the Board in discussing how U.S. companies and NIMS might replicate appropriate and successful components of the system. All the industry participants reported to the Manufacturing Summit on November 9, contrasting Swiss recruitment and training with current American methods.

It is of great interest that apprenticeship is highly regarded in Switzerland –socially as well as economically. 70 percent of the Swiss workforce is educated and trained through apprenticeships, including many white collar occupations such as bankers and architects.

It was clearly enunciated by the American leaders that the U.S. needs to do so much more in elevating apprenticeship training as a means to a profession in American manufacturing.

The trip was sponsored by the Swiss Office of Trade and Promotion. NIMS has a unique and excellent relationship with the Swiss. Over the past several years the Swiss have been hosts to the winners of the NTMA-NIMS apprenticeship competition and gold medalists from the NIMS Precision Machining Competition at the Skills-USA Championships.

Visit the NIMS website next week to view photos from the group's trip to Switzerland:

https://www.nims-skills.org/

Harry Moser has been named as one of the 2010 inductees into Industry Week’s Manufacturing Hall of Fame (www.industryweek.com/Mfg2010HOF). Individuals are selected for this honor based upon their overall contribution to American manufacturing.

With a career spanning four decades in American manufacturing, Harry spent twenty-two years as president of GF AgieCharmilles, which was known as Charmilles Technology Corporation during his tenure. In his first ten years, he led the company from number six to number one in terms of market share. Much of this success can be attributed to Harry’s dedication to establishing GF AgieCharmilles as a leader in customer service, an area in which the company has received great acclaim. During his presidency, the company also successfully broadened its product line to become a leader in 3-axis and 5-axis HSM (High-Speed Milling) machines.

Harry ascribes some of GF AgieCharmilles’ success to its consistent dedication to the broader needs of the industry. He has dedicated much of his career to working through American trade associations to promote workforce development. His efforts led GF AgieCharmilles to provide the grand prize for NTMA’s annual National Apprentice Contest for the last twenty years.

With significant amounts of manufacturing shifting overseas, Harry became concerned for the stability of the careers he had spent much of his career promoting. As a result, he began the Reshoring Initiative in 2009, designing the independent program to bring back manufacturing jobs by educating companies on how much offshoring really costs them. The Reshoring Initiative’s free Total Cost of Ownership software and access to presentations, including one provided to the National Press Club, are available at www.reshorenow.org. Harry currently serves on the boards of the ISTMA (International Special Tooling & Machining Association) and NIMS (National Institute for Metalworking Skills) and is president of the SMTS (Swiss Machine Tool Society).

“I am extremely honored by the recognition offered by Industry Week,” says Harry. “Reshoring and having the required skilled workforce are absolutely vital issues to American manufacturing and hold the power to transform our economy. Anything that brings more attention to this cause is good for our country. I encourage anyone in the manufacturing industry to reevaluate their offshoring decisions using the Reshoring Initiative’s free software and train their workforce so that it can competitively handle the rebound in work.”

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