The installation of an Ewag Laser Line Precision laser-cutting insert machine at MICTU has seen this specialist manufacturer of eyewear, dental, aerospace and automotive components halve production times and improve cutting edge quality by a factor of three on PCD and brazed tooling, compared with ‘traditional’ CNC tool production machines!
Founded in northern Italy in 1986 and today with 14 employees, MICTU has extensive knowledge in cutting tool manufacture and it is now benefiting from the speed and accuracy of the Laser Line Precision mainly on form tools of 3 mm to 60 mm diameter – and especially on tooling used to produce complex geometries, such as concave profiles, for the machining of eyewear workpieces.
In addition to shorter cycle times and improved quality, the company is also finding that laser technology enables very short set-up times, with programming carried out remotely and machining files being quickly transferred to minimise downtime. Small batches are therefore very economic.
Indeed, its tools are programmed in just 10-20 minutes then machined in another 10-20 minutes, thanks to the tooling being specifically designed for lasering – tool body designs have been adapted to provide optimal laser beam accessibility to the cutting edges.
This is where Ewag’s integrated LaserSoft software is of particular advantage, being used for automatic 3D model generation based on a simple DXF curve of the tool - without modelling axial or radial angles. “It’s a big advantage to have such software which allows multiple tests and the freedom of shapes and forms,” says the company’s Product Development Engineer, Andrea Collavo.
One of Ewag’s comprehensive range of tool production and regrinding, and insert production machines – and available in the UK from Walter Ewag UK, a member of the United Grinding Group - the five-axis Laser Line Precision is a cost-effective entry-level machine for processing all commercially available diamond cutting materials including CBN, PKD and CVC-D.
The machine can accommodate rotationally symmetrical tools of up to 200 mm diameter and up to 250 mm long, as well as indexable inserts with inscribed diameters from 3 mm and circumscribed diameters up to 50 mm.
Laser Line Precision utilises modern short-pulse fibre-laser technology in the green wavelength range (532 nm) for highly efficient and effective machining, with the resulting vapourised material being suctioned away to a suction/filter system.
Incorporating the innovative and patented Laser Touch Machining process, the result is excellent surface quality, even on tools with complex or delicate geometries. Indeed, any type of cutting contour, clearance and three-dimensional chipbreaker geometry can be produced in a single clamping operation.
With a footprint of only 5 m2, the machine is the most compact and cost-efficient laser production centre available for super hard tools. An optional six-axis robot offers the highest levels of flexibility during minimally manned, multi-shift operation.