GF Machining Solutions
To be competitive in today's marketplace, you need a technology partner that can help you achieve more. At GF AgieCharmilles, we offer the world's most advanced EDM systems, high-speed milling machines and laser texturing solutions all backed by a world-class service and support program, enabling you to achieve more speed, more precision, more versatility, more efficiency and ultimately more success.
GF AgieCharmilles is the world's leading provider of machines, automation solutions and services to the tool and moldmaking industry and to manufacturers of precision components.
The company's products include wire and die-sinking EDM systems, 3- and 5-axis milling machines and laser texturing technology, all of which deliver unbeatable speed, efficiency, precision and reliability. Furthermore, the company's technical know-how and considerable understanding of future market requirements drives its pioneering work in the continuous development of new technologies, products and services for helping its customers gain the competitive advantage.
Furthermore, GF AgieCharmilles’ UPTIME+ Service and Support Program further leverages the competitive advantages of its advanced product portfolio through applications expertise, comprehensive training, technical assistance, preventive maintenance, world-class warranty coverage as well as parts and consumables.
Originating in Switzerland in 1861, GF AgieCharmilles is part of the Swiss Georg Fischer Group, which has 50 locations worldwide. While Lincolnshire, Illinois is home to the company’s U.S. headquarters, manufacturers can benefit from four application centers located nationwide in Lincolnshire, Illinois; Holliston, Massachusetts; Yorba Linda, California; and Charlotte, North Carolina.
With its new LASER 4000 5Ax, GF AgieCharmilles now offers the largest laser-texturing machine on the market. Featuring a completely new mechanical design, this 5-axis machine easily adds unique and various textures to oversized molds for a wide range of components, including bumpers, instrument panels, door panels, central consoles and airbag covers for the automotive industry and others also working with large components.
The LASER 4000 5Ax operates in such a way that a large component as big as 3 x 4 meters and as heavy as 18 tons remains stationary on the floor while the machine’s axes move around it, expertly texturing on all part sides if needed. Such movement is possible because the machine’s fourth and fifth axes are attached to the Z-axis head. Additionally, the LASER 4000 5Ax manages 3D distortion of texture and masters texture direction related to part shape.
Because of its fully digitized process, the LASER 4000 5Ax allows manufacturers to envision a design, preview it onscreen, and perfectly reproduce it on a workpiece. The machine includes on-board machining strategies to ensure optimal machine performance, best material removal rate and accurate reproduction of the intended texture. The machining strategies embedded in the LASER 4000 5Ax can be easily used by designers with little machining experience and machinists with little design background.
The LASER 4000 5Ax is one of five machines, encompassing various models, within GF AgieCharmilles’ laser texturing product line. With its laser technology, the company offers a process that is faster, quieter and more repeatable than conventional manual and chemical etching processes. And while chemical etching produces only three to five layers, GF AgieCharmilles’ laser technology achieves 30 to 50 layers, allowing for greater creativity in part design across a wide variety of materials, including graphite, aluminum, copper, steel, carbide, brass and ceramics.
Laser texturing also offers pollutant-free operations, producing no fluids, slurry or chips. In fact, a vacuum guarantees clean operations by automatically extracting any dust particles produced during the process.
Learn more about GF AgieCharmilles Laser Texturing Solutions.
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GF AgieCharmilles is celebrating 60 years of continuous product development and innovation in electrical discharge machining (EDM) technology with the launch of several new machines.
Founded in Switzerland with North American headquarters in Lincolnshire, Ill., GF AgieCharmilles began its EDM research and development for industrial applications in 1952, which led to the company’s first die-sinking EDM machine in 1954 and the launch of the world’s first numerically controlled wire-EDM machine in 1969.
Today, GF AgieCharmilles’ tradition of EDM innovation continues with a comprehensive portfolio of wire, die-sinking, and hole-drilling solutions that offer manufacturers across all industry segments unbeatable speed, efficiency, precision, reliability and ease of use.
The latest machines to join the company’s EDM product lineup were introduced at IMTS 2012 and include the FORM 20 and FORM 30 sinker EDMs, which feature an all-new AC FORM HMI (human machine interface), FORM 300 Sp high-speed sinker EDM and the DRILL 300 precision hole-drilling EDM.
In recent years, the company has also made major breakthroughs in EDM technology by using artificial intelligence with fuzzy logic and neural networks. This advanced approach led to the development of Hyperspark Technology, which doubles material removal rates in die-sinking EDM, and iQ Technology, which drastically reduces electrode wear at faster machining speeds than other low-wear applications settings.
Through GF AgieCharmilles’ dedication to EDM advancements, the company, with respect to wire EDM, has reduced form tolerance by 50 percent, surface roughness by 66 percent and internal radii by 40 percent. In terms of die-sinking EDM, the company has decreased the spark gap from 20 micrometers to 5 micrometers, surface roughness by 75 percent, internal radii by 75 percent, as well as virtually eliminated wear on copper and graphite electrodes.
“When it comes to anticipating new market trends and customer needs in EDM technology, GF AgieCharmilles is way ahead of the innovation curve,” said Glynn Fletcher, president of GF AgieCharmilles Americas. “While basic EDM technology is 60 years old, we continue to prove it still represents fertile ground for discovery and innovation. Furthermore, our EDM work not only allows us to bring the most efficient and precise machine tools to market, but also enables our customers to stay competitive in a manufacturing world where demands are continuously changing.”
In addition to its EDM offerings, GF AgieCharmilles is also a leading provider of high-performance 3- and 5-axis milling machines and laser texturing solutions — all backed by the industry-leading, all-encompassing Uptime+ Service and Support Program.
Learn more about GF AgieCharmilles EDM solutions.
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With its new MIKRON HEM 800 three-axis vertical machining center, GF AgieCharmilles brings an excellent price/performance ratio to the high-precision production of medium to large-sized parts for several different industries, from aerospace to electronics to mold and die.
As one of five machines in the company’s latest High Efficiency Machining Series, the MIKRON HEM 800 cost effectively places GF AgieCharmilles’ best technologies in a modern, reliable and ergonomic machine that brings irreproachable operation to a wide variety of milling applications.
The MIKRON HEM 800 has a 41.34” x 22.05” work table with a maximum payload of 1,760 lbs. Maximum X-Y travels measure 33.46” and 20.87”, respectively, with a Z-axis that provides 23.62” of clearance between the table surface and spindle nose. Rapid traverse rate for the X, Y and Z axes is 1,181 ipm.
Furthermore, the MIKRON HEM 800’s oversized table offers enough surface area to safely clamp machined workpieces. The table’s T-slots, with 3.94” spacing between each one, permit flexible part fastening and quick alignment to the machine movements.
The machine’s highly dynamic 12.75-hp, 14,000-rpm, CAT 40 spindle generates 31 ft-lbs of torque and enables high-powered milling and drilling operations in the Z-axis. The generously sized spindle motor provides uninterrupted production both with high torque at low speeds and high power at high speeds. Overall, the spindle design permits best balance and vibration-free milling performance at full speed. During operations, a closed internal coolant circuit stabilizes and controls temperature drifts of the machine’s spindle head.
The MIKRON HEM 800’s side-mounted automatic tool changer has a capacity for 30 tools and allows for faster uninterrupted production. GF AgieCharmilles kept the tool changer separate from the working area to protect the tools from chip contamination. And because high-performance machining yields large amounts of chips, the company designed the MIKRON HEM 800 with sharply inclined sidewalls combined with flushing systems that direct chips straight to the evacuation channels. Chip conveyors then efficiently transport the chips out of the work area. Two adjustable high-flow coolant nozzles and air blow-off nozzles ensure good lubrication of the cutting edge, prevent premature tool wear and enhance machining accuracy, as well as facilitate efficient chip evacuation.
The new Heidenhain TNC 620 digital control system on the MIKRON HEM 800 provides quick and reliable machining with high contour fidelity and is recognized for offering best performances and programming comfort. The user-friendly interface supports safer and faster programming and faster data transfer from programming stations. The control also features application-oriented setup functions that help reduce nonproductive time.
Learn more about the HEM 800.
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With a focus on aerospace and aeronautics, THRUST, GF AgieCharmilles’ new interactive magazine made its debut during IMTS 2012 and on Apple’s App Store. THRUST is the first in a series of GF AgieCharmilles interactive magazines aligned with the company’s expertise across a wide range of industry segments, including aerospace and aeronautics, automotive, information and communications technology (ICT), medical technology, and electronic components.
In addition to interviews with aerospace and aeronautics opinion leaders, THRUST will feature first-look articles about knowledge transfers from the aerospace industry, market trends and analysis of leading edge research into technologies to ensure success in aerospace manufacturing. As an exclusively digital magazine, THRUST will provide a rich user experience through video, 360-degree interactive images, slide shows, touch/multi-touch support, zooming mode and many more features that make editorial content active and interactive.
THRUST builds on GF AgieCharmilles’ strong customer-centric focus, technology leadership and commitment to providing its customers with timely, relevant information to help them succeed. The magazine will be available free of charge at the App Store in multiple languages. GF AgieCharmilles chose the name THRUST because it is a perfect reflection of the company’s mission to ensure customer success by providing them with application expertise, as well as advanced and innovative technologies, products and support, that propels customers toward achieving their manufacturing goals.
Additionally, as an interactive magazine, THRUST is paperless, takes up little space and delivers a user experience that readers themselves can shape.
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GF AgieCharmilles’ new FORM 20 and FORM 30 sinker EDMs are some of the first machines to sport the company’s recently developed AC Form HMI (human machine interface) that centers on user friendliness and intuitiveness to significantly shorten the learning curve for beginner EDM operators. At IMTS in booth S-8754, the company demonstrated the FORM 20 burning deep ribs in an automotive mold core application.
The two machines provide the industry’s best price to performance ratio and also boast outstanding connectivity capability, overall enhanced performance and a new modern compact design. The machines meet the cost-effective part production needs of manufacturing industries that include general mold and die, aerospace, automotive and communications technology.
Based on studies with numerous mold shops, GF AgieCharmilles developed its GFAC HMI FORM CNC Control, which streamlines moldmaking operations. As a direct result of those studies, the organization and layout of screens within the interface make it easy to use, especially for inexperienced operators. For beginners, the interface is extremely intuitive and uncomplicated, allowing new operators to quickly learn it and confidently run the machine.
From simple Z-axis-level measuring to rotating workpieces around machine C axes, the most common measuring cycles are also integrated into the AC Form HMI. Manual adjustments and alignments to workpieces are unnecessary, so non-burn times are greatly reduced. Plus, novice machine operators are able to easily achieve expert die-sinking EDM results.
Additionally, as Windows-based platforms, the FORM 20 and FORM 30 seamlessly integrate into workshop management systems. Other new features, including GF AgieCharmilles’ eConnect, eSupervision and eTracking, further boost machine functionality for process control and outside system connectivity.
At the hearts of the FORM 20 and FORM 30 is GF AgieCharmilles’ proprietary, high-end Intelligent Power Generator (IPG) with built in quality-boosting and cost-saving intelligence. With every machine pulse, the 70-amp generator on the FORM 20 and the 140-amp one on the FORM 30 continuously optimize the EDM process and dramatically reduce electrode wear as well as provide extremely uniform surface finishes. The machines reliably generate surface finishes of Ra 0.1 micron and radii down to 0.0007”.
Also embedded within the FORM 20 and FORM 30 machines is GF AgieCharmilles’ TECFORM module that eliminates the need for operators to adjust the machine generator parameters. Optimized performance, efficiency and increased production time are all achieved automatically.
Designed with a shop’s valuable floor space in mind, the FORM 20 and FORM 30 are the industry’s most compact standard die-sinking EDMs, yet provide ample axis travels – 13.78” x 9.84” x 9.84” (350 mm x 250 mm x 250 mm) on the FORM 20 and 23.62” x 15.74” x 15.74” (600 mm x 400 mm x 400 mm) on the FORM 30. Within their space-saving footprints, the machines include integrated linear tool changers as well — a four-position one on the FORM 20 and six-position version on the FORM 30.
The machines incorporate rigid and compact mechanical structures for reliable, stable operation. Their cast-iron, short C-frame designs ensure static and dynamic rigidity, while linear glass scales on their cross tables guarantee high positioning accuracy.
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March 2014 Product Spotlight: Machining Centers
This slideshow features the machining centers we cover in the Modern Equipment Review Spotlight section in our March issue.
Introducing GF Machining Solutions
Georg Fischer AG, the global industrial firm based in Switzerland, has a new name for the division that supplies well-known brands of electrical discharge machines, high speed milling, automation/tooling, spindles and more.
GF AgieCharmilles to Become GF Machining Solutions
The company is making the change to emphasize the range of products and services it provides.
Five-Axis Milling Machine for Aerospace, Defense
The Mikron HEM 500U high-efficiency milling machine from GF AgieCharmilles offers high-performance five-axis capabilities designed for efficient, accurate cutting of aluminum, alloys and steel.
A Smooth Transition to Five-Axis Machining
A mold manufacturer that specializes in precision, thin-walled container molds chose an integrated approach to establishing an effective five-axis “3 + 2” machining process.
Diesinking EDMs Feature New HMI
GF AgieCharmilles’ Form 20 and Form 30 sinker EDMs are equipped with the company’s AC Form human machine interface (HMI) said to shorten the learning curve for beginner EDM operators.
Five-Axis Milling Machine for High Speed Operations
GF AgieCharmilles will highlight its five-axis HEM 500U featuring an optional Mikron handling system and Heidenhain control.
Milling Machines for Blisk Production
The Mikron HPM 800U milling machine from GF AgieCharmilles features a sturdy, compact design and a large work envelope, making it well-suited for aerospace applications such as blisk production.
GF AgieCharmilles Offers Uptime+ Program
The program provides comprehensive service and support.
GF AgieCharmilles to Host 60th Anniversary Open House
The company is celebrating 60 years of EDM development.
Die-Sinker EDM Increases Precision
Designed for micromachining, the Form 200 mS die-sinking EDM from GF AgieCharmilles is well-suited for applications such as molds for integrated circuits, cavities for light-emitting diodes and detailed connector forms.
High-Speed Milling of Small, Complex Parts
GF AgieCharmilles' Mikron HSM 200U LP (linear performance) milling machine is said to increase speed, efficiency, precision.
Sixty Years in Perspective
This supplier has grown and changed along with the technology it provides.
Five-Axis Machine for Continuous Milling
GF AgieCharmilles’ five-axis HEM 500U features a dynamic 12,000-rpm spindle and 30-tool magazine providing a chip-to-chip time of 2 sec.
Sixty Years of EDM
GF AgieCharmilles has been involved in EDM technology for some 60 years now. Its recent International Technology Show in Losone, Switzerland was a good place to sense the history and current status of this technology.
GF AgieCharmilles ITS
Guests from around the world gathered at GF AgieCharmilles’ main building in Losone, Switzerland, for the company’s International Technology Show, March 19-23, 2013. More than 700 users attended the event.
Five-Axis Machine for Aerospace, Defense
The high-efficiency Mikron HEM 500U from GF AgieCharmilles provides five-axis capabilities for accurate and reliable parts production.
GF AgieCharmilles Opens Training Academy
The facility will serve existing employees.
High Speed Milling Machine for Small, Complex Parts
The Mikron HSM 200U LP milling machine from GF AgieCharmilles is available in three- and five-axis versions.