Canadian engravers go high-tech
A traditional industrial engraving shop has taken a leap forward to 21st century technology with the purchase of a laser engraving machine."It's going to open a whole new window for us," says Hans Kra...
A traditional industrial engraving shop has taken a leap forward to 21st century technology with the purchase of a laser engraving machine.
“It’s going to open a whole new window for us,” says Hans Kratz, the master engraver who has owned Precision Engraving Co. Ltd. (Toronto) for 40 years. The three-dimensional laser from Hasco Foba will allow the shop to machine mold inserts in very fine detail and with high repeatability, and perform micromachining of tiny parts.
A new name, Laser Precision Engraving, symbolizes the company’s move in this high-tech direction. A fire last summer destroyed Precision Engraving’s plant and began the chain of events that led to new partners, a larger plant and new technology, explains Ernie Kroiss, a partner in the new venture.
The new machine is a 200W, 3-D deep laser engraving and machining centre, with a maximum cutting depth of 0.040 in. before refocusing and minimum laser beam size of 0.001 in.
The laser can machine any shape or contour in any metal, in addition to plastics, ceramics, graphite and many other materials. It is fully integrated with the shop’s CAD package for ease of file transfer. “It doesn’t replace chemical etching” for texturing, says Kroiss, but it does provide higher repeatability than EDM for small mold inserts.
The unit is especially suited for engraving on irregular surfaces and in difficult-to-reach areas. According to Hasco Foba, laser engraving is more precise and uniform than EDM, is less costly and quicker than chemical etching, and is more precise and more flexible than milling. It also offers increased character definition and is quicker than pantograph.
Another Hasco Foba laser is owned by Unlimited Textures (Windsor, Ont.). Sales manager Terry Comte reports that Unlimited Textures is using the laser to engrave mold inserts with: logos; small detailed pictures, such as those on switches; UL/CSA stamps; and small areas of text, such as the raised print on electronics devices.
Comte forsees growing use for the laser in cutting electrodes from copper and carbon, and notes that it is useful for engraving multi-cavity molds because of the high repeatability.