The wire-cut EDM process was clearly the factor behind the creation of ARCOFIL SA. It was the arrival on the market of the first numerical controls which enabled the development of this technology in the mid-1970s. This process can be used to cut complex geometries over large heights in even the toughest metals, with great precision and excellent surface finishes, without burrs. Steels are in principle machined in their quenched state, which prevents deformation due to heat treatments. Its weak points are the low cutting speed, and only electrically conductive materials can be treated. From this description, it will be apparent that this technology is aimed mainly at manufacturing a very wide range of tooling, chiefly stamp tools.
It is also applicable to prototypes or short runs of complex-geometry parts, with the long machining times compensated by a light implementation, flexibility and lack of need for tooling. Hence ARCOFIL SA's first customers were stamping tools and watchmaking design & engineering departments, to produce their own prototypes, as well as supply parts for complication watch mechanisms.
The possibilities opened up by wire-cut EDM enabled major progress in the stamp tool's design. ARCOFIL SA has made a big contribution to their development by its example.
ARCOFIL SA has in fact become a stamp tool designer and manufacturer, incorporating more and more new concepts, which have not failed to find followers.
As the saying goes, if you want something right, you have to do it yourself... Thus, it was through the creation of a micro-milling machine in the 1990s that ARCOFIL resolved its need for precision machining, in order to make the watchmaking component blanks that needed to be cut by EDM.
Thereafter, this experience gave rise to numerically controlled grinding machines, specific machines for machining escapement wheels, escapement pallets and roller pegs.
Also in the field of watchmaking, but for the watch components, a machine for grinding sapphire crystals was developed. It was specially made for cutting gasket grooves on the crystal rim.
The need to procure wheel plates (washer blanks) for short runs led to the creation of our cutting machine Arco_MDR, with its universal tools accessible to all our customers.
As the present decade dawned, new laser sources appeared. These developments paved the way for manufacturing watchmaking and micro-technology parts, thereby potentially rivalling our machining equipment.
This technology lacked a machine with sufficient qualities in terms of dynamics. Hence ARCOFIL SA developed a high-precision laser cutting machine with the necessary characteristics to get the best from a laser beam. This type of machine requires further development, and ARCOFIL SA is on the job.
The new Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC enforced safety guarantees for stamping presses, which threatened the use of older equipment. The alternative left open to owners of such presses was either replace them with new ones, or upgrade those in service to ensure compliance. ARCOFIL SA was faced with this problem, and since it could not find any appropriate products on the market, it saw the opportunity to develop a new product.
This led to the creation of a ten-tonne CNC electro-mechanical press. By virtue of its design, this very rigid press, free from bending effects, guarantees excellent operating conditions for the stamp tools assigned to it. Since the movement of the coupling is controlled electrically, this press can be used universally. It enables cutting, swaging and finishing work, in both automatic and secondary mode.
The touchscreen control operates via a graphic interface, greatly simplifying the use of the press.
Its fully numerical control ensures that this machine the "INDUSTRY 4.0" equipment criteria.