At this year’s MACH exhibition the GravoTech Group demonstrated the depth and breadth of its permanent marking solution systems. The company combines four distinct brands: Gravograph, Technifor, Propen, and Type3. Its range of equipment covers four key marking technologies, including laser, mechanical engraving, scribing, and micro-percussion. These are all complemented by a wide range of engraving materials and other consumables available from GravoTech.
Representing a worldwide network in 30 countries across the globe with nearly 1,000 employees working to provide customers with exceptional permanent marking solutions, there are currently more than 200,000 GravoTech machines in use every day in 60,000 companies at every point of the compass. These customers range from automotive and aerospace companies to bespoke consumer goods suppliers, and everything in between.
Each of the four ‘brand champions’ satisfies a diverse range of permanent marking demands. Gravograph is the world leader in laser and mechanical engraving, and its solutions cover signalling, identification, object customisation, and the production of precision parts. Technifor specialises in traceability through permanent marking and coding performed directly on parts. It offers laser and scribing solutions for industrial marking and is the world's leader in the micro-percussion marking technology. Propen is the group’s distributor brand and provides simple marking solutions, which do not require integration. Finally, Type3 offers CAD/CAM software specifically designed for the jewellery industry and artistic creation.
With a research and development budget that has consistently been 5 percent of annual turnover for the past decade, new products and services are constantly being created. Three of the company’s latest products were launched at MACH, the Technifor TG400 green laser, the TC500 galvo CO2 laser and its new portable marking solution, the Propen M7000.
Technifor expanded its laser product range by integrating a new technology with the launch of the TG400 green laser.
With its green crystal generating a 532nm wavelength, this new marking solution allows materials that do not interact well with other classic laser equipment, such as Yag, Nd:YVO4, fibre or CO2 (using near-infrared1064nm wavelength light) to be clearly and permanently marked.
This solution was driven by Technifor’s desire to answer specific market needs for the medical, electrical and electronics, and plastics sectors. And, to enable the marking of sensitive materials such as silicon, reflective metals such as copper, silver, gold, printed circuit, ceramics and a wide range of plastics – from raw to transparent.
An extremely fine 30 micron beam delivers unparalleled marking quality, perfect for small characters and Data Matrix codes. It makes the laser suitable for micro-marking electrical components, semi-conductor wafers and so on.
The efficient high-intensity beam of the TG400 laser enables surface marking with reduced heat-affected zone, avoiding material damage by burning or distortion. This ‘soft’ or cold marking makes it ideal for the identification of plastics, sensitive components and for thin layer ablation.
Driving the TG400 green laser, software specifically developed by GravoTech Group helps the implementation of identification and traceability in any production process. The operator communicates in a few clicks with databases, imports codes (barcode, Data Matrix, QR code), images and logos.
The new TC500 air cooled CO2 laser was also launched at MACH 2014. Fitted with an extremely fast galvo CO2 capable of marking on plastics, anodised aluminium, painted metals, ceramics and most organic materials, the TC500 is the ideal solution for permanent marking automotive components, electronics, medical devices and a wide range of parts with logos, linear and radial text, DataMatrix and so on.
Its ability to mark many organic substances, including wood, paper, rubber, leather and glass, in an integrated production line, will open up opportunities in many niche market sectors for the TC500. As well is speed of operation, as the new laser is able to mark up to 10m per second.
Propen introduced a new portable marking solution, the electro-magnetic M7000, with Touch’n Mark technology. This new marking solution is fully mobile, with integrated control unit and a belt battery. It is ideal for large or hard to move components, as the unit can be taken to the item that requires marking, on the shop floor or even in the field.
The M7000 is fast and offers the deepest marking possible in its class with a brand new M2X stylus technology. It also features a responsive 7” colour touch-screen designed with the ability to use with gloves on.
The M7000 offers two USB ports, a large memory with the ability to store over 2,000 files, five standard fonts, capable of importing 100 files in less than 5 seconds and a fast marking process (10 characters per 3 seconds) for high quality indelible marking.
With the M7000, users have the opportunity to engrave all products with logos, serial numbers, linear text, Data Matrix, month, date or year codes. It can also be easily adapted for bench-top use with a M7000 docking station. The station features a crank for manual height adjustment and does not require any additional tools for connection and disconnection. The docking station allows the M7000 user the benefits of a bench-top machine including marking plates, identifying small components, internal traceability of plastic and various metal parts.
Peter McCullough, UK Sales and Marketing Manager, explains the reasoning behind GravoTech’s corporate restructuring. “For nearly 10 years, the priority has been to merge the best technologies and services of the different company brands in order to offer clients the optimal level of support and most innovative products. For this reason, R&D activities are now largely united on a single site near Lyon; industrial facilities have been grouped in two main sites and distribution networks have been merged. Three centres for distribution and assembly are responsible for the commercial development of the four brands in their respective geographical areas.
“Atlanta for America and Australia, Shanghai for Asia and the Pacific, and ?nally two sites in France, located in La Chapelle-Saint-Luc and Rillieux, for Europe, the Middle East, lndia and Africa. The new logo and the new graphic identity are the final steps in the corporate changes.”