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Souvenirs for Paris and Rome

Plastic components reduce weight and costs in glass processing



    • What was needed: Various drylin products
    • Requirements: Weight reduction, quiet operation, strong cost savings
    • Industry: Mechanical engineering
    • Success for the customer: Plastic components help to save weight and costs

    The laser engraving machines from Cerion GmbH in Minden, Westphalia, can be found in shops all over the world. For example on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, in various Disney parks, at Madame Tussaud in London, at the Trevi Fountain in Rome or also in the shopping paradise "Mall of the Emirates" in Dubai. Around 15 employees work at the specialist supplier in Minden. Its laser engraving systems are not just about hardware; the software for processing images is also very important. To this end, the company offers powerful programmes and trains its customers. A hotline has also been set up and is manned almost around the clock.

    Souvenir shop


    Cerion has launched a special technique for processing glass. Using intense laser light, engravings are made on the inside of the material. The process leaves the glass surfaces completely undamaged and opens up a wide range of possible applications. Buyers of such machines are, for example, laser shops, which mainly produce 3D portraits in glass in the size 50 x 50 x 80 mm or key rings in the size 15 x 20 x 30 mm and which depend on walk-in customers.

    In addition, Cerion is currently building up a second mainstay and also offers machines for industrial processing below the surface. This process has been further developed in such a way that it can now be used for glass formats measuring 3.20 x 2.20 m with high quality and process speed. Decorations and markings lie beneath the surface and open up a wide range of architectural design possibilities. The surface of the glass panel remains completely undamaged and smooth. This procedure can replace the sandblasting still common today.


    Cerion was under extremely high cost pressure for its main revenue driver, a small, portable machine for the souvenir industry. On the one hand, competing products from China are considerably more cost-effective, and on the other hand, customers generally enter this business model as start-ups. They are primarily guided by the price when making an investment. The topics of reliability, service life and service would initially play a subordinate role. Therefore it was necessary to react urgently and reduce the price for the engraving system significantly without compromising performance. In addition, ninety percent of the engraving systems are exported. This means that the product must be competitive and function absolutely reliably. When redesigning this machine, it was clear from the outset that no compromises had to be made on quality. Service life and reliability had to remain unaffected.  It is important for the user that the machines operate very quietly. And, secondly, that the image composition always corresponds exactly to that of the previous model. There must be no joints and edges in the glass that would result in a loss of quality.


    What followed was a complete "redesign": many oversized components were replaced by more economical plastic components. Since then the demand for the engraving systems has been increasing again. The portable laser system "c-jet" enables engraving of larger glass objects and the application of multimode operation for volume production. At the same time, it is easy to transport so that it can also be used at trade shows and other events. Due to its compact design and the large viewing window it attracts a lot of attention. The machine was successively redesigned from the ground up. With the result that today it can be offered at half the price. The total weight could also be reduced by around 40 kg.  
    Use of drylin
    Today, drylin N miniature guides with polymer sliding elements, used in a rail width of 40 mm, are used in the large motor-driven viewing window with laser protection. They fit ideally on standard aluminium profiles. As with all linear guides, the carriages operate dry in anodised aluminium profiles. This is both a cost-effective and flexible guide system. In addition, tribologically optimised iglidur J polymer plain bearings are also installed in the viewing window area. They are used for the drive of the window and in the deflection of the toothed belt drive. Plain bearings made of iglidur J are lubrication-free and maintenance-free and combine extremely low coefficients of friction with a very long service life on many shafts.
    The centrepiece of laser optics
    The core of the system is the laser optics. This is where the actual layer formation of the resulting glass product takes place. The workpiece table can be adjusted not only horizontally but also vertically, which ultimately determines the quality of the end product. The laser optics move up and down during the machining process. A drylin W double rail and pillow blocks as well as other individual components from the extensive modular system are used for this purpose. This ranges from torque supports for additional protection to the drylin trapezoidal lead screw nuts which are very important for the result of the engraving.  Due to the layer structure of the engraving, the laser beam must reach layers that are very close together. The drylin trapezoidal lead screw nuts successfully perform these tasks even in automated operation and convince with smooth running at small lead screw movements and hardly measurable wear. All components are quiet, insensitive to dirt and dust, corrosion-free and particularly light. The quiet linear guides are efficient and work so well that they are now also used in an industrial laser system.

    More pictures of the application example


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