GF AgieCharmilles and EOS Partner to Pioneer Toolmaking Process


Start-to-finish manufacturing process chain for mold tooling will be demonstrated at IMTS

Lincolnshire, Illinois, and Novi, Michigan-GF AgieCharmilles has partnered with EOS and will demonstrate a nearly automatic process chain for creating injection and blow mold tooling with conformal cooling channels. The two companies will conduct the demonstration at IMTS 2010 in the GF AgieCharmilles booth #S-8754.

This breakthrough manufacturing process chain is one that runs virtually unbroken from design to finished product. Machines used in the process are networked together and operate from the same 3D CAD model data from start-to-finish to increase accuracy and reduce set-up times.

"Our technologies are a perfect fit for moldmaking," says Gisbert Ledvon, Business Development Manager at GF AgieCharmilles U.S., "and the transfer between our systems is unique."

During the demonstration, an EOSINT M 270 direct metal laser-sintering (DMLS) system will create a steel mold for a plastic, blow-molded golf ball, complete with conformal cooling channels and the fixturing needed for all successive stages of machining. This mold will then move through a secondary process chain that includes a GF AgieCharmilles HSM 400U LP high-speed milling machine, an FO 350MS die sinking EDM, and a Cut20P wire EDM. The wire EDM cuts off the fixturing, the HSM 400ULP will cut the parting lines for a flash-free (no leakage) surface, and leave the mold ready for production use.

A significant advantage of DMLS is that it produces a near-net part, in one operation, that is ready for secondary finishing. Single fixturing is then used for all secondary operations to reduce manual benchworking and generate surface finishes accurate to within three to five microns. The process minimizes scrap by eliminating many of the progressive operations involved in subtractive toolmaking processes that start with a block of raw material.

"By joining with EOS, we have established a complete process chain, available globally, that provides the same high accuracy GF AgieCharmilles is known for, and creates tools with a minimum of oversight and greatly reduced material waste, manufacturing time, and manual labor," says Ledvon. "It's better for the environment, and it's excellent for the bottom line. The conformal-cooled molds we can manufacture offer enormous advantages."

Conformal-cooled molds are already in use and have enabled high-end manufacturers to reduce part-production cycle times 17 to 20 percent and, in some cases, as high as 45 percent. The DMLS-manufactured molds improve product quality and promote longer tool life, and the optimized cooling increases the efficiency of the whole molding process as well. For large-volume production, the resulting time and cost savings-as well as carbon footprint reduction-are considerable.

"We've documented years of success stories from customers who benefited by using DMLS to create molds that employ conformal cooling channels," says Andy Snow, Regional Sales Director EOS of North America. "Our partnership with one of the world's leading suppliers of toolmaking equipment demonstrates how accepted these molds have become, and it enables manufacturers with high-volume injection and blow molding to implement our technology and reap substantial time and cost savings."

GF AgieCharmilles and EOS will also hold a joint press conference Tuesday, September 13, 2010 at 8:30am in room S-501A at IMTS.

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. Gisbert.Ledvon@AgieCharmilles.us, Fax: 847-913-5340, or visit http://www.gfac.com/us.

About EOS

EOS was founded in 1989 and is today the world-leading manufacturer of laser-sintering systems. Laser-sintering is the key technology for e-Manufacturing, the fast, flexible and cost-effective production of products, patterns and tools. The technology manufactures parts for every phase of the product life cycle, directly from electronic data. Laser-sintering accelerates product development and optimizes production processes. EOS completed its business year 2008/2009 with revenues of 60 million Euros. The company employs 300 people worldwide, 250 of them in Krailling near Munich, Germany. For more information visit www.eos.info.

EOS Contacts:

Claudia Jordan

Group Manager Marketing Communications

Phone: +011 49 89 893 36 134

Fax: +011 49 89 893 36 284

e-mail: claudia.jordan@eos.info

Parker Group (editorial contact, US)

Nick O'Donohoe

Tel.: +1 401 272 1510

e-mail: nicko@parkergroup.com

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Gisbert Ledvon

Business Development Manager

847.913.5300

or

dgs Marketing Engineers®

Chuck Bates

317.813.2230

bates@dgsmarketing.com

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