GF AgieCharmilles Celebrates 60 Years of EDM Innovation

Evolving customer needs continue to drive industry-leading machining solutions

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GF AgieCharmilles is celebrating 60 years of continuous product development and innovation in electrical discharge machining (EDM) technology with the launch of several new machines.

Founded in Switzerland with North American headquarters in Lincolnshire, Ill., GF AgieCharmilles began its EDM research and development for industrial applications in 1952, which led to the company’s first die-sinking EDM machine in 1954 and the launch of the world’s first numerically controlled wire-EDM machine in 1969.

Today, GF AgieCharmilles’ tradition of EDM innovation continues with a comprehensive portfolio of wire, die-sinking, and hole-drilling solutions that offer manufacturers across all industry segments unbeatable speed, efficiency, precision, reliability and ease of use.

The latest machines to join the company’s EDM product lineup were introduced at IMTS 2012 and include the FORM 20 and FORM 30 sinker EDMs, which feature an all-new AC FORM HMI (human machine interface), FORM 300 Sp high-speed sinker EDM and the DRILL 300 precision hole-drilling EDM.

In recent years, the company has also made major breakthroughs in EDM technology by using artificial intelligence with fuzzy logic and neural networks. This advanced approach led to the development of Hyperspark Technology, which doubles material removal rates in die-sinking EDM, and iQ Technology, which drastically reduces electrode wear at faster machining speeds than other low-wear applications settings.

Through GF AgieCharmilles’ dedication to EDM advancements, the company, with respect to wire EDM, has reduced form tolerance by 50 percent, surface roughness by 66 percent and internal radii by 40 percent. In terms of die-sinking EDM, the company has decreased the spark gap from 20 micrometers to 5 micrometers, surface roughness by 75 percent, internal radii by 75 percent, as well as virtually eliminated wear on copper and graphite electrodes.    

“When it comes to anticipating new market trends and customer needs in EDM technology, GF AgieCharmilles is way ahead of the innovation curve,” said Glynn Fletcher, president of GF AgieCharmilles Americas. “While basic EDM technology is 60 years old, we continue to prove it still represents fertile ground for discovery and innovation. Furthermore, our EDM work not only allows us to bring the most efficient and precise machine tools to market, but also enables our customers to stay competitive in a manufacturing world where demands are continuously changing.”     

In addition to its EDM offerings, GF AgieCharmilles is also a leading provider of high-performance 3- and 5-axis milling machines and laser texturing solutions — all backed by the industry-leading, all-encompassing Uptime+ Service and Support Program.