Maschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle AGMaschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle AG

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Milled variety for glass art

21.11.2013

French crystal glass art manufacturer Lalique backs 5-axis machining technology from Germany for the manufacture of complex models, molds and tools as well as the texturing of high-quality crystal glass luxury products.

René Lalique was born in 1860 in Ay in Champagne and was one of the most famous jewelry and glass artists of the art deco period, and especially of its French expression, art nouveau. By his death in 1945 René Lalique had grown from being an illustrator and creator of jewelry designs via the production of jewelry items into an entrepreneur in whose workshops and factories glass was primarily processed artistically to his own designs.
After the First World War he started up art glass production again and, in 1921, opened a larger factory in Wingen-sur-Moder in Alsace. Today, this forms the glass art manufacturing hub of the Lalique organization that currently employs around 500 people throughout the world.

To comply with the extremely high demands of customers and their own demands in terms of artistic presentation, extravagant design and supreme quality, the development, design and production of the models, molds and tools naturally takes place on their own
premises. Each year we manufacture around 60 new molding tools involving an extremely wide range of degrees of difficulty. As the trend is moving toward ever larger crystal glass products in the form of exclusive individual parts, some time ago we felt compelled to procure a machining center permitting the efficient and complete machining of relatively large tool segments. Because conventional tool manufacture in several machining stages and in 3-axis technology also appeared to be no longer appropriate and, ultimately, insufficiently cost effective, we opted to get into 5-axis technology.

LEAD CRYSTAL GLASS ART COMBINES TRADITION AND MODERNITY

At the end of the relatively long evaluation and testing phase, Christian Vollmer and his colleagues were only really convinced by one product, namely Hermle's 5-axis CNC high-performance machining center C 30 U. The machine has a comparatively large traversing and operating range that accommodates Lalique's tool and mold making requirements in terms of the complete machining of relatively large tool parts. As it comes equipped with the large 630 mm-diameter NC swivelling rotary table, this produces unheard of scope for 5-axis complete machining, which is used creatively here. Consequently, not only does the manufacture of prototypes and models made of modeling materials and of tools and tool segments made of special cast iron and tool steel now take place on the MC C 30 U, but filigree decorative and texture treatments, for example, are also performed on cast crystal glass products. In order that all these treatments can be performed completely in one pass and in one to just a few clampings, the machine has a tool magazine with a perfectly adequate number of 32 positions. The tools are clamped in an HSK-A63 holding fixture and rotate optionally and in accordance with the combination of material for machining/custom-fit tool/optimum parameters at up to 18000 rpm.

PERFORMANCE-LINKED STANDARD DESIGN OF THE MC C 30 U

In conclusion, Christian Vollmer commented on the Hermle MC C 30 U and the associated improvement in performance in terms of prototype/
model/tool/molds manufacture and crystal glass treatment. "We have a few thousand product mold tools in stock that are mostly only used a few times because they are one-offs or highly exclusive mini series. In order to be able to satisfy the very demanding wishes of customers throughout the world both artistically and in terms of quality and timely delivery, for us it is a crucial advantage to be able to carry out direct mold milling by rough-machining and smoothing in consecutive processes.  This saves handling effort plus a lot of time and, with it, cost. We use the Hermle C 30 U machining center for all relevant work that comes up, because the design and quality of the machine are literally a match for each of our applications."

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