New five-axis machine for rapid texturing of moulds and tools

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A new, gantry-type, 5-axis CNC machine for rapidly laser texturing the 3D freeform surfaces of moulds and tools weighing up to 20 tonnes – and with maximum dimensions of 3,350 x 1,350 x 1,000mm – has been introduced by DMG Mori.

The LASERTEC 400 Shape is the largest model in a range of four laser ablation machines, the others being designated 45, 75 and 125. A further machine version is planned with a 2,000 mm X-axis, the LASERTEC 200 Shape.

It is becoming increasingly important in many industries, especially the automotive and aerospace sectors, to impart geometrically defined surface structures to plastic injection moulds and press tools to improve the aesthetics and functional properties (such as scratch resistance and water repellence) of the components they produce. 

Machining of textures is more environmentally friendly than conventional etching and offers considerable freedom of design, whilst ensuring a high level of repeatability. It is also capable of creating filigree cavities without the need to manufacture electrodes.

The LASERTEC 400 Shape is equipped with a newly developed additive manufacturing laser head designed by DMG Mori to be narrow and compact. It offers excellent accessibility to a component, even if it has deep and narrow features, eliminating the need for long focal lengths that would slow the ablation process. 

Central to machine operation are a 100W fibre laser with switchable pulse length and frequency up to 1kHz and 3D processing optics with F-Theta scanning lens. The two degrees of movement of the head are ± 200 degrees rotation and a swivel range of -100 to +135 degrees, enabling undercuts to be processed. 

The standard, high-speed Z-shifter, or servo-controlled lens focusing system is key to increasing productivity. Even at such high speeds, the latest scanner technology and digital measuring systems ensure the required accuracy.

The thermo-symmetrical gantry incorporating extensive cooling is the ideal platform for high precision laser structuring of the surfaces of large moulds and tools and enables loading and unloading from above by crane to reduce set-up and handling times. Rapid traverse of 50m/min in the 4,000 x 2,000 x 1,20 mm orthogonal axes provides high dynamics for fast cycle times, with linear scale positional feedback in all three axes.

Control is by a Siemens 840 D solutionline, which when combined with DMG MORI’s application-specific LASERSOFT software and proprietary CELOS graphical user interface, allows the machine to be integrated optimally into a manufacturer’s organisation.

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