Turning is one of the oldest and most important manufacturing processes for the production of components in almost every industrial sector. Since the Middle Ages, this process is being continuously developed and adapted to the changing needs. The cutting technology, however, brings the producers to the limits of the technical transability, particularly with regard to small and very small components. Tool wear, tool life, machining forces and heat affected zone became a limiting factor. But now the laser experts from GFH GmbH raise this manufacturing method to a new level: The conventional turning tool is replaced by a contactless laser that evaporates the material with ultra-short laser pulses. This technology has been integrated from the GFH into a specially designed production machine. The process-related technology disadvantage of the lower removal volume per unit compared to the cutting process is eliminated by the double-spindle concept. The GL.smart equipped with this technology, in conjunction with the integrated CAD / CAM solutions, represents the next milestone in the history of turning.
"Rotosymmetrical components are in the course of miniaturization even smaller and more sophisticated," reports Florian Lendner, CEO of GFH GmbH. “This is where conventional manufacturing technologies reach their limits, because the cutting forces, that act on the component and the tool size, make machining more difficult and even make it impossible with particularly sensitive geometries. This is especially true when materials are needed that are considered difficult to machine.” Several years ago, GFH GmbH therefore demonstrated the possibility of turning and grinding with lasers on its universal laser micromachining systems and delivered the first productive solutions. However, the full potential of the new manufacturing technology could be only partially exploited because the machines were not designed for these applications. There were limitations, for example, in terms of the speed of rotation of the components, the efficient use of laser radiation and generally the complete workflow. These limitations has been eliminated with the new machine: "After several years of intensive development work together with reference customers and supported by European research funding as part of the Horizon 2020 project, we can proudly present our new turning and grinding solution," reported Lendner. “It is available as a double spindle in short and / or long turning design, optionally with a rotating swivel unit as a counter spindle. This means there are no limits to the complexity of the components, and even end machining is possible.”