If the world of microtechnology is regularly under the spotlights by the arrival of novelties and business transformations, it is quite rare that a piece of news could change the competitive landscape in a radical way. This may well be a consequence of the strategic evolution of VFM Machines in Brügg (Switzerland). Meeting in the premises of the company with Mr. Natalino Valsangiacomo, one of the three founders and Mr. Roland Gutknecht who took over the management of the company at the beginning of this year.
The Mega S machine is the fourth generation of Roku-Roku hyper accuracy machining centres. VFM is the only European distributor.
Founded in 1998, the company is the Swiss dealer of many European and Japanese machine tool manufacturers, mainly for grinding, milling and turning solutions. The product range mainly consists of very high-tech machines. Since 2013, the company has clarified its product portfolio and redirects its offer to three specific areas: 1) general mechanics and construction of machines, 2) precision mechanics and 3) microtechnology and watchmaking.
Important market… and in need of solutions
In microtechnology, the current VFM product range addresses machining needs for prototypes and small series of very high precision (milling with Roku-Roku and turning with Samsung; we will come back on it later). Mr. Gutknecht says: “The evolution of needs toward still more precision and innovation pushes watch manufacturers (for example) to find machines with a level of quality and precision that enable them support their innovations”. These needs are more often linked to the R&D departments of the manufacturers and therefore not directly dependent on the level of production in these companies. It is a very demanding market and always moving upwards even in areas where the level of production is stagnating. Mr. Valsangiacomo adds: “It is a niche in the niche and luckily we know the market well and have solutions to offer”.
A surprising level of accuracy
VFM is the only European reseller of Roku-Roku, the Japanese brand of micro fine machining centres. This SME of 250 people is recognized in Japan and in the United States for the precision of its machines, used especially in the electronic field. Mr. Valsangiacomo says: “When I saw the results of the tests, I couldn’t believe in it”. For example in micro-machining for optical, surface finish reached 0,0518 µm Ra. Another example, in a series of micro-drills, the step between the various holes was 0.038 mm with a tolerance of +/-0.0025 mm.
More than convincing performance
Let’s see some features of the Mega S machine by Roku-Roku.
- Drilling: diam. 0.03 mm
- End milling: R 0.05 mm
- Hole grinding: diam. 0.1 mm
- Positioning accuracy (X, Y, Z): +/-0.2 µmm
- Repeatability (X, Y, Z): +/-0.1 µmm
- Circularity: 0.9 µmm
To be discovered in our next issue.