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Plastics News: 5-axis laser texturing technology helps Custom Etch thrive

NEW CASTLE, PA. (April 19, 1:25 p.m. ET) — Nestled in beside a Pizza Joe’s in a nondescript brown building in New Castle, Custom Etch Inc. hides in plain sight. In the custom etching industry, however, the company is carving a unique niche. Custom Etch says this five-axis Laser 1000 from GF AgieCharmilles allows engraving and texturing across any surface with ultrafine detail. The company still uses chemical etching and texturing techniques on molds, rolls and dies, but in the fourth quarter of last year it incorporated laser technology with what it claims is the first five-axis laser ablation machine operating in North America. “Anyone can texture one mold, but to texture hundreds of molds you have to have a system to do it efficiently,” said sales Vice President Don Melonio. “With the laser, we’re taking handwork and the human factor out of the process.” GF Agie Charmilles of Lincolnshire, Ill. — part of Georg Fischer AG of Schaffhausen, Switzerland — made the Laser 1000 5Ax, which allows engraving and texturing across any surface with ultrafine detail and depths up to 0.12 inch using vaporization. The equipment boasts high accuracy due to linear scales and rotary encoders but has flexible and programmable work-piece automation with manual controls and a large window to allow a view of the machining process. Melonio describes the investment as a leap, adding that the half-million-dollar investment has been in moneymaking mode for the last three months. The investment is not just in the equipment, but the accompanying Rhinoceros software that allows Custom Etch technicians to create a virtual three-dimensional model with the ability to avoid accidents.   Read the rest of the article  

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