Combining innovation and productivity

GF Machining Solutions, the EDM, milling, additive manufacturing, laser ablation and automation specialist, has introduced a new laser texturing machine. The AgieCharmilles LASER P 400U Femto Flexipulse, designed specifically for aesthetic and functional laser texturing, integrates a laser source that allows operators to select between two different wavelengths. Target customers include those operating in the watch, jewellery, mould making and cutting tool industries, as well as other sectors where micro-machined components are required.

The LASER P 400U Femto Flexipulse is the first machine combining the use of a femtosecond laser with five-axis texturing capability. As a point of note, the texturing operation delivers completely burr-free results and eliminates the need for post-treatment and secondary operations. The green wavelength, with its reduced spot size, is suitable for use with/on reflective materials such as copper, gold and nickel.

Modular in design, the machine includes an integrated bi-laser solution that combines two laser beams for texturing and engraving the same surface. The laser head’s versatility enables manufacturers to switch, quickly and seamlessly, from one beam to the other, helping to reduce processing times. It is possible to machine a multitude of materials, from aluminium and steel, through to graphite, glass, sapphire and polymers.

The latest version of GF Machining Solutions’ GF Laser machine software brings additional intelligence and reliability to the laser texturing process. The company’s ‘Smartpatch’ technology is said to improve texturing quality and process productivity, while 3D Map software allows the import and use of any 3D CAD file.

GFMS says the machine is also the centrepiece of an automated manufacturing cell developed in partnership with Crevoisier SA, a Swiss-based automation, polishing and grinding machine manufacturer.

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EDM drilling offers higher productivity

Recently announced as the new UK technical partner for Winbro Group Technologies, the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) is introducing the new Winbro HSD-351 high-speed EDM drilling system.

The Winbro HSD-351 is a compact, high-speed, single-point EDM drilling solution with a solid-state, air-cooled EDM generator that has already proven its pedigree in the aerospace and IGT sectors. Now, the machine is set to make its mark in wider industry.

Winbro’s HSD-351 offers a work axis envelope of 300 x 350 x 550 mm in the X, Y and Z axes, with a rotary C axis of ±360° and an A axis of +10°/-135° that allows end users to process five faces of the workpiece in a single set-up. Linear accuracy and repeatability is 0.008 and 0.006 mm respectively, with a rotary axes accuracy and repeatability of 20 and 15 arc/sec.

Regarding technology, the Winbro HSD-351 provides fast automatic electrode changes, where the machine spits, loads and qualifies the electrode from the cartridge system in less than 15 seconds. The automated tool changer utilises twin 14-station carousels and an automatic barrel changer (ABC) with barrels that each hold 15, 25 or 49 electrodes up to 700 mm long. Notably, the tool change also incorporates an automatic nose guide changer (AGC), and it typically accommodates up to 13 nose guides plus a probe.

The six-point probing system ensures accurate, automated machine calibration via an MP250 Renishaw probe carried on the AGC carousel. In the work envelope, an Erowa pneumatic flat chuck (supplied as standard) facilitates the clamping of components up to 10 kg in weight.

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Patented wire coating technology

Even though Bedra (a Berkenhoff brand) launched its new-generation TRIMPAC EDM wire in 2019, relatively few are aware that this novel coating technology carries a patent.

From the strengths of its classic wire generations, which include Cobracut, Broncocut and Topas, Bedra developed the new coating technology TRIMPAC, which stands for ‘triple impact sheath. Ultimately, the coating combines three effects. Firstly, the wire has a thin oxide layer that acts like a semiconductor and prevents faulty discharges, which improves cutting quality. Secondly, the increased zinc content of the sheath increases abrasion, while at the same time improving wear resistance. And last but not least, the surface features a special structure that has a positive effect on cutting performance and quality.

As a combined result of these three effects, wires with TRIMPAC coating technology achieve significantly higher cutting performance levels than the wires of its predecessors. TRIMPAC coating technology is available in Bedra’s new EDM high-performance wire generation, Gapstar ONE.

Through field tests and laboratory results, Bedra has shown that the use of Gapstar ONE in comparison with bare brass wire will result in cost savings of more than 37% for the same application. When using Gapstar ONE, considerably higher productivity is possible than with conventional EDM wire, thereby improving the capacity utilisation of EDM machines, says the company.

Factoring in wire costs, machine costs, wire consumption and cutting performance, the adoption of Gapstar ONE will prove that considerably higher productivity is possible compared with conventional EDM wire.

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FANUC unveils latest-generation ROBOCUT

Thanks to a number of breakthroughs, FANUC says that its new ROBOCUT α-CiC series of wire EDM machines offers even higher levels of reliability, cutting speed, surface finish and dimensional precision. The many customer-centric enhancements include an entirely new mechanical structure, pitch error compensation across the complete work surface, a simplification in taper cutting adjustment and a hardened table as standard.

FANUC’s new ROBOCUT α-CiC provides users with a major accuracy boost thanks to the introduction of a high-precision pitch error compensation function. A special factory-calibrated compensation grid ensures pitch error correction over the entire X-Y table area – rather than a single central point – delivering a significant advantage in workpiece accuracy. It no longer matters where the workpiece is located on the work surface, the same level of optimum precision will result.

Improvements in taper cutting performance and ease of adjustment represent another notable advance. The traditionally complex operation of setting and adjusting the wire taper is now straightforward thanks to the use of a basic jig guided by on-screen instructions.

FANUC appreciates that process control is paramount to success in wire EDM operations. ROBOCUT control enhancements via the latest feature-rich FANUC iH Pro user interface focus on leveraging the advantages of the new mechanical structure to cut more efficiently. The new and improved user interface with its 15’’ widescreen, multi-touch LCD means that more intuitive operation is a further advancement, even for those relatively new to wire EDM.

Two model sizes are available: the ROBOCUT α-C400iC and ROBOCUT α-C600iC. Users can load workpieces with dimensions up to 1050 x 775 x 400 mm in the X, Y and Z axis respectively, with a maximum weight of 1000 kg.

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CAMWorks adds wire EDM module

HCL Technologies has launched a wire EDM module for its CAMWorks suite of CADCAM software. The wire EDM module includes new functionality that takes the design model to G-code in one click. Once the user clicks the ‘Solid to G-code’ button, the system automatically searches the part for machineable features, identifies them, generates all the operations with the user’s preferences and settings (including tool offsets, cutting conditions and start holes), creates the toolpaths, and posts the G-code. Using the new wire EDM module, even complex two-axis parts, two-axis parts with tapers, and full four-axis wire EDM parts are now programmable in a single click.

The new CAMWorks wire EDM module also includes enhanced feature recognition for non-planar geometry. Instead of the user needing to project the geometry for the top and bottom of the part and create 2D sketches, the new wire EDM software uses geometry directly from the solid model to construct and create the correct top and bottom profiles automatically.

Additional highlights include automatic angular wire threading, support for SOLIDWORKS patterns, and automation based on face colours.

Automatic angular wire threading analyses the part and automatically recognises when angular threading would be required. It then creates the tool paths necessary to allow for angular threading of the wire and to machine the part.

Support for SOLIDWORKS patterns simplifies the NC code and streamlines the programming process by automatically identifying the patterns and utilising them to simplify the CNC program.

The technology based on face colours allows the user to easily identify and manage features that require programming, as well as the machining required.

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