GF AgieCharmilles is the world’s leading provider of machines and system solutions to the tool and mould-making industry and to manufacturers of precision parts.
GF AgieCharmilles’ products range from electric discharge machines (EDMs) and high-speed milling (HSM) and high-performance milling (HPM) centres, through tooling, services, spare parts, wear parts and consumables, to automation solutions.
Electric discharge machining and high-speed milling are the two key technologies in tool and mould making. They are indispensable in the manufacturing of mould and press tools for the series production of plastic, metal and glass parts for the machining of high-quality precision components. As a globally active group, GF AgieCharmilles maintains a presence at 50 sites worldwide.
Electric discharge machining (EDM) and high-speed milling (HSM)
EDM and HSM are key technologies that are used today in the manufacture of practically all the durable goods that affect our daily lives. Customers from automotive manufacturers to advanced medical device manufacturers are using GF AgieCharmilles’ EDM and Mikron milling machines to develop and improve their end-product quality.
Electric discharge machines (EDMs)
EDM technology can be used to machine conductive materials of any hardness to an accuracy of up to one-thousandth of a millimetre with no mechanical action. By virtue of these properties, EDM is one of the key technologies in the mould-making, tool-making, medical, automotive, electronics and aerospace industries. There are two distinct processes: wire-cutting EDM and die-sinking EDM. They contain all of the core features necessary to meet demands specific to the medical industry in the areas of accuracy, surface integrity, part cleanliness and repeatability.
The performance of modern EDM equipment is extremely good; it offers high cutting speeds, highly efficient automation, interlinking and storage of very long and recurring machining cycles. And thanks to electronic monitoring and fully automated correction of the EDM process, no supervision is required.
High-speed and high-performance milling centres
In terms of cutting speed, HSM centres are ten times faster than conventional milling machines. Greater accuracy and a better surface finish are also achieved. This means that even heat treated materials can be machined to a condition where they are largely ready to use. One essential advantage of HSM is that with systematic integration, the process chain can be significantly shortened. HSM has developed alongside EDM into one of the key technologies in mould and tool making.
In contrast to high speed milling, the high performance milling (HPM) technology is mainly used for the machining of two dimensional geometries. This process is suitable when it comes to the removal of large volumes of material or the machining of difficult to cut materials.
The preceding definition is primarily directly toward the extreme facets of both processes. In reality the limit between HSM and HPM is not static – in fact, it overlaps. The analysis of application and environment typically decides which process will result in optimum machining performance.
HSM motor spindles
GF AgieCharmilles handles the development, production and sale of the motor spindles that form the core components of modern HSM centres. The spindles rotate at speeds between 10,000rpm and 60,000rpm.
Tooling, automation and software
GF AgieCharmilles also manufactures tooling for fixing workpieces and tools, and automation systems and system software for configuring machine tools and recording and exchanging data with the various system components.
Sustainability in EDM and HSM
GF AgieCharmilles is committed to environmental, social and financial sustainability. By way of example, the constant advancement of manufacturing technologies in the EDM and HSM businesses is improving the ecological balance sheet by reducing the consumption of natural resources; however, machinery production and logistics are also geared to environment-related parameters.
All GF AgieCharmilles production sites have been certified to the ISO 9001 quality assurance standard and ISO 14001 environmental management norms. The certificates were renewed in 2005 following repeat audits by SQS at the Nidau and Losone plants.
About GF AgieCharmilles
GF AgieCharmilles views focusing on customers’ needs as an integral factor in success. The group has longstanding trust-based relationships with many of its customers, often stretching back to the founding of the customer’s business. The values of the market most frequently attributed to GF AgieCharmilles are high quality, precision, reliability and outstanding professionalism in service and technical support. GF AgieCharmilles owes its growth in a difficult market environment and its installed base of over 100,000 units worldwide to this customer-centric approach.