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GF AgieCharmilles changes name to reflect broader product line

By: Rhoda Miel

January 21, 2014

GF AgieCharmilles has changed its name to GF Machining Solutions to reflect its growing business beyond wire EDM equipment and more closely identify with its parent company.

The company changed its name Jan. 1, although it still offers the same range of equipment and services said Glynn Fletcher, president of GF Machining Solutions Americas during a Jan. 21 conference call.

The company is one of three divisions of parent group Georg Fischer AG of Schaffenhausen, Switzerland. GF Automotive, a castings company, is the biggest unit, with 41 percent of sales, followed by GF Piping at 36 percent.

Machining Solutions is 23 percent of Georg Fischer, with sales of 842 million Swiss Francs ($925 million) in 2012.

“We have been around for such a long time, and perhaps in the past, we have diluted the GF part of our reputation in favor of other phrases,” Fletcher said. “It was thought it was time to bring GF to the foreground.”

In addition, while the company remains the industry leader in wire EDM machines, which are sold under the AgieCharmilles brand name, sales of its high speed milling and automation equipment businesses are growing rapidly. Using the name GF AgieCharmilles to sell Mikron high speed milling machines or System 3R automation equipment was confusing, he said.

“AgieCharmilles very much indicated [to customers] that it was EDM, but EDM is only one third of our business overall,” he said. “It’s important to indicate our broader portfolio.”

The demand on high precision machining — especially in electronics — will only drive more sales for milling machines in the future.

“If you look at the accuracy needed to produce the mechanical lens on a cell phone today, that is astounding,” Fletcher said. “It is increasingly important that we ensure our machines and the application of our machines are able to provide our customers with the ultimate in accuracy.”

The AgieCharmilles brand will continue, but only as the wire EDM product. A GF logo will be the most prominent on each future machine, Fletcher said. Likewise, the milling machines will retain the Mikron product name along with the larger GF logo while automation equipment will continue to list both System 3R and GF.

The company is transitioning its web site name to gfms.com as part of the change this year, while employee email contacts will also change to end with @georgfischer.com by the end of 2014.