To serve the needs of moldmakers and manufacturers that demand the highest levels of productivity and design quality for surface texturing applications, GF Machining Solutions has introduced its new AgieCharmilles Laser S series. Unveiled for the first time in North America at a special event at its North American headquarters in Lincolnshire, Illinois, the new all-in-one machines offer a number of innovative technologies that result in advanced capabilities and outstanding speed, leading to cycle time reductions of 30 to 50 percent.

Over 50 customers specializing in texturing, engraving and graining attended the event, where GF Machining Solutions demonstrated the speed of the new Laser S 1000 U by setting it up alongside a Laser P series machine. Both worked on a part featuring complex 3D shapes with an intricate hexagonal texture inspired by nature and designed to demonstrate how the machine overcomes common challenges among mold makers and other shops requiring precise textures.

Head of Laser Texturing Yvan Meyer (left) and NA President Scott Fosdick (right) of GF Machining Solutions unveil the new AgieCharmilles Laser S 1000 U.

The event also included a look at the company’s “Championship” workpiece, a hyperbolic paraboloid resembling a bird preparing to take flight from a prismatic perch. Each surface of the workpiece demonstrated another capability of the Laser S machines, from the creation of highly precise geometric patterns to quick engraving and surface finishing – part features all made possible by the series’ advanced capabilities.

A part of the digital transformation currently underway in manufacturing, the AgieCharmilles Laser S series, which includes the Laser S 1000 U and Laser S 1200 U, provides a fully digital solution to the limitations of conventional and manual surface texturing methods that reduces quality deviations without additional machining processes. The new machines make difficult-to-realize designs easy to generate, allowing for greater creative freedom and faster time to market, especially in industries such as automotive, information and communications technology, medical and packaging.

As optional replacements for the standard 50 and 100-watt lasers, Laser S series machines may be instead equipped with 30 and 50-watt FlexiPulse sources. The FlexiPulse solution gives engineers the opportunity to shorten or lengthen the laser pulse duration, which allows them to adjust the laser instability time depending on the application and material used to find the ideal quality-to-speed ratio.

The Laser S series’ higher material removal rate is further improved with far faster scanning. Its new excelliSHIFT system features a 600 mm/sec. mechanical travel and 30,000 mm/sec. optical travel at the 254 focal length for even further reductions in required machine movement. The new system enables true 3D scans for optimal productivity.

The innovations continue beyond the hardware level. Smartpatch, a software module included in the GF Laser Workstation Software package, analyzes jobs to generate the optimal patching strategy to help users obtain the highest quality in the shortest amount of time possible. As a result, the latest grain geometries and complex patterns can easily be created without the errors common with suboptimal patching strategies.

Among the event’s attendees was Don Melonio, vice president of Custom Etch Inc., a specialized texturing and engraving company in New Castle, Pennsylvania. When Melonio saw the capabilities of the latest machine in person, he knew adding it to his facility’s eight existing Laser machines would create new business opportunities, so he decided to sign the paperwork that day.

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"The quality and precision offered by GF Machining Solutions' laser equipment help us to stand above the competition," Melonio said. "We are excited to be one of the first companies in North America to have a Laser S 1000 added to our floor and look forward to all of the new design possibilities it will create for the companies we serve."

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