Pioneer in High-Precision Microprocessing

Interview with Florian Lendner, Managing Director of GFH GmbH

GFH Microprocessing
Precision that is only recognizable with a microscope: The trophy is a sample part for high-precision laser microprocessing with ultrashort pulse lasers

In industrial material processing, laser technology has become indispensable. Ultrashort pulse lasers enable high-precision microprocessing of all material classes without mechanical impact. GFH GmbH from Deggendorf is one of the global market leaders and technological pioneers in the design and construction of high-precision laser microprocessing systems with ultrashort pulse lasers. With increasingly precise and intelligent laser microprocessing machines, the company repeatedly pushes boundaries.

Highest precision down to the micrometer range, cold material processing without thermal damage to the workpiece, and the processing of all material classes including brittle, heat-sensitive, and low melting point materials are the clear advantages of ultra-short pulse lasers. GFH GmbH has more than 20 years of experience in developing processes for this laser technology and has established itself as an expert in precision manufacturing.

"We have made it our maxim to search for the last micrometer," says Managing Director Florian Lendner. "With our experience and flexibility in the field of high-precision manufacturing, we can serve markets that face limitations with conventional technologies."

Broadening the technology

Florian Lendner, Managing Director of GFH GmbH
Florian Lendner, Managing Director of GFH GmbH

The technology for ultra-short pulse lasers is still a very young technology, and GFH has contributed significantly to its increasingly establishing itself in the industry. Especially the development of the ultra-short pulse laser, which emits pulses in the pico- to femtosecond range, has propelled the entire technology forward. It allows for extremely delicate processing without mechanical impact and is suitable for any material. Since its official founding in 1998 by Prof. Dr. Hans Joachim Helml, GFH has grown continuously and now employs 80 people.

"We have grown with the ultra-short pulse lasers," explains Florian Lendner, who has been part of the company since 2008. "A lot has happened in technology, and we have broadly industrialized the whole thing from the application perspective. In high-precision drilling and laser turning, we also see ourselves as technology leaders. Since it is still a young technology, new applications are added daily. Megatrends like miniaturization are in favor of ultra-short pulse lasers."

Intelligent Machines

GFH offers four processes with ultra-short pulse lasers, including laser drilling, laser cutting, ablation or engraving, and laser turning. In addition to machine development and manufacturing, the company also offers contract manufacturing from prototypes to series production. The company takes over the complete assembly "We get the last micrometer out of the machine," emphasizes the managing director. "In recent years we have focused on high technology in the life cycle of a machine. We are the only provider that can offer laser turning, a process for highly accurate machining of rotationally symmetrical components, which allows drilling, cutting, and structuring in the same step."

Depending on customer requirements, the highly precise laser micro-machining systems with ultra-short pulse lasers are manufactured based on a modular machine concept. Different basic types are expanded by modules so that they can be precisely adapted to the different applications. Automation plays an increasingly important role here.

GFH Sample Part Trophy

The laser machine is at the cutting edge of technology and, as a compactly designed laser machine, offers customers the possibility of combination processing from laser drilling, turning, and cutting alongside an output increase through parallel processing at two stations. The integration of a bar feeder as a loading unit and the removal of finished parts by a six-axis robot ensures complete autonomy.

"Our focus continues to be on software development," remarks Florian Lendner. "We want to bring even more intelligence into the software. It collects data, which is analyzed by algorithms and artificial intelligence, so that the machine can control itself. With the operator-independent control, we especially want to make access to this technology even easier for small and medium-sized enterprises." Target groups for this niche technology include the watch industry in Switzerland, medical technology, electronics, semiconductor industry, as well as tool and measurement technology.

For successful customers

The team at GFH GmbH, led by Managing Director Florian Lendner, is highly motivated to further advance the highly precise laser microprocessing with ultra-short pulse lasers. "I am still fascinated by the laser and proud that we are among the most renowned names in the industry," says Florian Lendner. "Without our employees and their years of process experience, this development would not have been possible. We have advanced many processes. Laser turning, for example, opens up new possibilities and economic production for our customers. We want to continually evolve the processes and expand further. In doing so, the intelligence in the machines will be a clear focus so that our customers can be successful. In the long term, our goal is to be the global market leader."