Taking place from 29 November until 2 December 2011, the 18th edition of EuroMold will take place at the Exhibition Centre in Frankfurt, Germany. In a space some 4.1% bigger than the previous EuroMold, the show expects around 1,500 exhibitors and approximately 60,000 trade visitors. Beginning with machine tools, GF AgieCharmilles (02476 538666) will doubtless be singing the virtues of its new CUT 2000 and CUT 3000 wire EDM machines, where precision and surface finish are the ultimate aims. The machines have been designed to minimise thermal distortion, with all sources of heat generation, such as the generator and pump, having separate cooling systems. Furthermore, the incorporation of the company's 'Smoothsurf' module is said to produce a mirror finish and eliminate secondary polishing operations. Ultimately, achievable surface finish is Ra 0.05 µm, while cutting speed for both machines (using 0.3 mm diameter wire) is 300 mm²/min. Image: New EDM technology from GF AgieCharmilles Remaining with wire EDM, the new WorkPartner 1+ from System 3R (02476 538653) is a compact, automated system for changing pallets (up to 50 kg) on machine tables and at machine spindles in one or two machines. As well as wire EDM machines, the system is equally suited to milling machines, grinders and die-sinking machines. Advantages include rapid change cycles and integrated pneumatic control of gripping devices and table chucks. Moving to metalcutting technology, Haas Automation (01603 760539) will use EuroMold to demonstrate its new DT-1 high speed drill/tap machine with full milling capabilities. The machine features a 508 by 406 by 394 mm work cube and 660 by 381 mm T-slot table. A BT-30 taper spindle spins to 15,000 rpm and allows tapping at speeds to 5,000 rpm. The DT-1 is equipped with a high speed, 20-pocket, servo-driven toolchanger that swaps tools in 0.8 seconds, while 61 m/min rapids combine with 1G acceleration rates to shorten cycle times and reduce non-cutting time. Continuing the drill/tap theme is the first ever jointly developed machine by DMG/Mori Seiki (01582 570661/0844 800 7647). The MillTap 700 marks both companies' entry into the tapping centre market, although this term is something of a misnomer, as these days such machines have the power and capabilities of a light machining centre. Nevertheless, MillTap 700 retains high speed motions, exemplified by 1.5 seconds chip-to-chip and 60 m/min rapid traverse in all axes. Sure to be prominent on the Matsuura stand will be its new LX-160 all-linear motor, 5-axis machining centre. Able to accommodate workpieces up to 160 mm diameter x 230 mm high, the machine's loading capacity is 20 kg. Spindle speed is 46,000 rpm, while rapid traverse in the linear axes is 90 m/min. Datron Technology (01908 261655) also has a new high speed machining centre, the M10 Pro. Here, the new HSC Pro control system delivers up to 40,000 rpm on the machine's 3 kW spindle, while the spindle power optimisation and HSK toolholding technology provide concentricity levels better than 2 µm. The addition of a Datron DST rotary table converts the machine to 5-axis cutting capability. According to Datron, running costs are said to be less than £5 per day. Aimed at meeting the high productivity targets for complex parts such as injection moulds, the new Huron K3X 8 Five machining centre, available from Fortron UK (01282 607893) features a table inclined at 55° (not 45°), so negative machining angles of up to -20° are reached. To support this, the spindle axis angle, in relation to the table, ranges from 0 to 110°, compared with 90° for the previous generation. SOFT OPTIONS Matching the new hardware innovations on display at EuroMold is a plethora of new software introductions, particularly relating to CADCAM. Beginning with CAD, Delcam (0121 683 1000) has added a range of direct modelling options to the 2012 release of PowerShape. The new functionality will enable tooling designers to tackle all the common problems found in mould, press tool or die-casting equipment designs, such as insufficient draft or inappropriate fillet sizes. The ability to add draft to solid models is expected to be popular. This can be done either by using a specific value or by modifying the model interactively, and the change can be applied to a single surface or to a group of surfaces – the sides of a pocket, for example. CAD experts from Sescoi (0844 561 7014) will also be on hand at EuroMold to demonstrate the enhanced CAD manipulation enabled by WorkNC-CAD Hybrid Modelling, which allows solid and surface models to be handled in a single environment. Tasks such as core and cavity separation, surface repair and Boolean operations are now far simpler to perform. Vero Software (01242 542040) considers EuroMold a major showcase for its technologies and here the recently unveiled VISI 19 features new, intelligent automation of existing CAM strategies for machining deep cavities. Typically, using the longest tool to machine a complete cavity will require smaller depths of cut and reduced feeds. 'Deep Cavity Machining' is able to split a cavity into multiple depths, based on collision checking between the piece and tool/holder. In this case, the operator is able to define different tool lengths for the same operation, providing greater rigidity, reduced vibration and increase tool life. Additionally, VISI 19 features a new core roughing algorithm with an improved toolpath shape when working from outside a component. Image: VISI 19 will be showcased For visitors to EuroMold interested in CNC machine simulation and optimisation software, CGTech (01273 773538) will be featuring the latest release of Vericut. Here, V7.1 contains over 400 customer requests and improvements, and among the most interesting is Vericut Reviewer. Offering significant parallels to cloud computing (although the software resides with the user), Reviewer allows 3D simulations to be shared with anyone in the design, manufacturing and management departments, without the need for additional Vericut licenses. Image: Vericut V7.1 has over 400 customer-driven enhancements QUICK OFF THE MARK Rapid prototyping competes with mouldmaking at the front end of engineering projects and, as a result, there will be a strong contingent promoting this technology at EuroMold. For instance, EOS Electro Optical Systems (01926 623107) will want to market the virtues of its EOSINT M280, the company's most advanced direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) system to date. It features: either a 200 W or 400 W solid-state laser for targeted radiation and consistently accurate performance; laser power monitoring to control the build process; and the ability to use either nitrogen or argon protective atmospheres. Over on the Stratasys stand, visitors are likely to find the recently introduced Fortus 250mc production 3D printer, which is available in the UK from Laser Lines (01295 672500). Based on the Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) process, the machine has a 254 by 254 by 305 mm build envelope and offers three build layer options: 0.178, 0.254 and 0.330 mm. Renishaw (01453 524524) also has an interest in this area and will be promoting its SLM (Selective Laser Melting) additive manufacturing process, capable of producing fully dense metal parts direct from 3D CAD, using a high power fibre laser. Parts are built from a range of fine metal powders that are fully melted in a tightly controlled atmosphere, layer by layer, in thicknesses ranging from 20 to 100 µm. The current range of machines comprises the SLM250 and SLM125, both of which feature vacuum technology and low gas consumption. Renishaw will also be showcasing its recently introduced Equator gauging system. Equator is a radical new alternative to traditional dedicated gauging, filling a gap in the market never before addressed and marking the launch of Renishaw's first gauging product line. Equator installation is possible in minutes and an operator can switch between gauging of different parts in seconds. Re-configuration of the gauging system to cater for part design changes, or to measure new parts, is possible in a fraction of the time taken with conventional custom gauging. MEASURING UP Renishaw, of course, is best known for its metrology expertise and this technology area will be particularly well represented at EuroMold. Blum Novotest (01543 257111), for example, is likely to promote its new TC76-DIGILOG, said to be the world's first touch probe for robust use in machine tools that combines digital and analogue technology. Previously, analogue touch probes that measure and analyse the deflection of the stylus, and do not simply emit a digital on/off signa,l were very large and costly, and for the most part only found in CMMs. With the TC76-DIGILOG, Blum has introduced a touch probe that brings together digital and analogue technology in a 25 mm diameter device. Both new portable and fixed-bed CMM technology will be on display at EuroMold. For example, with the new DEA Global Silver from Hexagon Metrology (0870 446 2667), users can access scanning throughput up to 35% higher than with models of the previous generation. While, from a portable perspective, visitors to the Faro stand (00800 3276 7253) will see the new CAM2 Measure 10 software for the FaroArm, ScanArm and Faro Laser Tracker that enables point cloud capture for the first time. Box item Laser traders The impact of laser technology on the mould and die market is just as marked as it is for production components. Among the exhibitors at EuroMold highlighting this fact will be Rofin (01327 701100), where the company's 'Integral' laser welding system has been updated with a new 200 W laser source. The system's X/Y table moves workpieces of up to 500 kg and an edge length of up to 500 mm, while the optical system, which can be swivelled around two axes, allows processing of perpendicular surfaces, undercuts or deep grooves, without the necessity to turn or tilt the workpiece. Elsewhere at the show, ACSYS (01527 888989) will be promoting its 5-axis BARRACUDAµ laser machining centre. Here, a vibration-free granite bed is embedded in polymer concrete to guarantee high accuracy in any position. This versatile system is suitable for a range of tasks, including: digitising free-form surfaces; 3D micro laser engraving of punching dies and injection moulds; surface finishing of moulded surfaces; and 2.5D and 3D laser engraving of mould inserts. First published in Machinery, November 2011