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11/08/2016|Customer Story / Standex International Corporation

Economic and creative texturing with LASERTEC Shape

Since 1967 Standex International Corporation, with its over 1000 employees worldwide, has stood for the development and production of warp-optimised plastic products with high visual and haptic surface qualities. The German plants are part of the Standex Engraving Group.

As a pioneer in surface texturing Standex invests continuously in new technologies – more intensively in laser texturing since 2013.

This makes the group the only texturing company with a global network consisting of 35 branches. Since 2013 the company has installed a total of ten LASERTEC Shape machines in Germany, China and the USA.

Structured plastic surfaces have always been used in the automotive industry. While etching was formerly the only way to produce such surfaces, laser texturing is today continuously gaining ground in this application. Standex has long established itself in this field. 70 to 80 percent of its products are destined for automotive manufacturing. “Nevertheless, this application is steadily gaining in importance in sectors such as furniture manufacture, the electronics industry and consumer products, as well”, explains Thorsten Miebach, Head of the laser competence centre in the worldwide Centre for Coordination and Grain / Texture Development in Krefeld.
When Standex first started with laser texturing, the LASERTEC Shape machines with the only ones on the market with which the necessary quality and speed could be achieved. “The aim at that time was the texturing of dashboards”, recalls Thorsten Miebach. As a result of the positive experience made with the first LASERTEC 210 Shape capacities have expanded continuously.

With its meanwhile ten LASERTEC Shape machines from DMG MORI Standex has taken a great step forward in surface structuring, as Thorsten Miebach confirms: “Shape technology is often more economical than etching and opens up creative possibilities for us in design and texture.” This means the technology fits perfectly into the extensive portfolio of Standex performance. This ranges from the development of innovative design ideas combined with technical functionalities and on through to the generating of first prototypes. The product portfolio is as extensive as it is diverse: “We use the machines to produce every imaginable kind of texture for the most varied of products, from perfume bottles to mobile phone covers and on to include complete vehicle interiors.”

Increase in quality thanks to laser texturing

As Spandex is renowned for its high-quality products, the high degree of precision plays a decisive role where LASERTEC Shape technology is concerned, as Thorsten Miebach goes on to tell us: “When all is said and done, we guarantee consistent top quality." The company works exclusively in the µm-range. “We produce textures from 2 µm up to 2,000 µm and we do it in highly complex tool geometries.” Despite the limited accessibility a perfect appearance still has to be produced. But, Standex is more than just a structuring service provider. “We set ourselves extremely high targets. We repeatedly develop individual and innovative solutions for our customers; solutions that have an impact on the entire texturing industry sector. In addition to their high dynamics, Thorsten Miebach sees another great plus point in the third optical axis of the LASERTEC Shape machines. “This allows us to work continuously in the ideal focus point.” It means they can produce the high-quality textures at a reasonable price.

Since 2013 the laser-texturing machine park at Standex has grown rapidly. A LASERTEC 210 Shape and a LASERTEC 125 Shape are installed in Germany. The first in the USA, as well, and the latter in China. The in part recently acquired smaller LASERTEC 45 Shape und LASERTEC 65 Shape machines are also installed in China and in the USA. This means Standex is ideally equipped to meet the high demands placed on development in the target markets. “In the next three years we expect a growth rate in laser texturing of up to 250 percent”, says Thorsten Miebach. For this reason the investments in China were aimed explicitly at ensuring optimum servicing of the automotive industry in this key market. Thorsten Miebach thinks ahead where the future of laser texturing is concerned: “We are also planning investments at the location aimed at supporting the local tool making industry with laser technology.”