Altendorf LIGNA 2015

Altendorf F 45 redefined: new design, new control concept, new technology.

Altendorf unveiled a completely redesigned F 45 at LIGNA 2015 to replace the current series, which it launched in 2006 to mark the company's centenary. The new design certainly catches the eye with its clean grey/anthracite colour scheme and elegant front panel, which features the model name "Altendorf F 45" picked out in understated anthracite lettering on a pale grey background in the lower right-hand corner. The new model's striking and unmistakable appearance is but a fraction of the story though: the technology it contains also represents another major step forward for the sliding table saw. Almost everything, from machine frames to motors to control units, has been comprehensively redesigned with the explicit aim of improving performance in all areas. So far-reaching has the design overhaul been that Altendorf has decided to drop the rest of the old model names at the same time: the new generation comprises 'just' the F 45. The new F 45 still offers a wealth of choice, including three control unit options, to help users assemble the technical and convenience features they require. Each of these three control units – and Altendorf is the very first manufacturer to be able to offer this – gives the user full electronic control of all four axes and can also tilt the saw unit to either side (subject in each case to the corresponding hardware options being selected).

Three new control units: move four CNC axes and two-way tilting saw unit.
Altendorf's new F 45 embodies a modular machine concept offering endless configuration options for every user. The only decision to be made right at the very beginning is which of the three new control units to pick. That choice made, the user is free to add as many or as few accessories as are required from the extensive catalogue. This level of flexibility in configuration is quite unprecedented. Equally novel is the ability to operate four CNC axes and the saw unit, which can be tilted to either side, from any of the three control units. Once again Altendorf leads the way in the development of this type of machine.

The F 45 ProDrive control unit.
Like the other two control units, the F 45 ProDrive can operate all four CNC axes (height and angle, CNC rip fence and CNC crosscut fence) provided corresponding hardware has been specified. And like the other two, it can also control the saw unit tilt (up to 46° to either side) with automatic height correction.  The F 45 ProDrive automatically corrects the positioning of the rip fence when the saw unit is tilted too and controls the optional vacuum clamping system for secure retention of large workpieces. Finally, anyone who frequently has to repeat the same cutting operation will quickly learn to love the F 45 ProDrive control unit's 99-programme cutting memory. The control unit is mounted at eye level and includes a keyboard for numerical data entry.

Other functions of the F 45 ProDrive:
- Motorised rise/fall adjustment for the main saw blade with digital display
- Automatic cutting height correction when saw blade tilted
- Motorised crosscut fence adjustment with one motorised axis and manual extension to 2,900 mm
- Digital speed display or infinitely variable speed control (VARIO)
- Motorised adjustment of the scoring unit
- Continuous precision axis control using +/- keys
- Control of the vacuum clamping system in the sliding table
- Easy axis calibration
- Machine diagnostics
- Operating hours counter
- USB interface
- "Back" function to recall last set of dimensions entered

The F 45 EvoDrive control unit.
The F 45 EvoDrive has a 7" touch screen with keyboard for entering numerical dimension specifications. It can control up to four axes, including saw blade tilt to either side. What distinguishes it from the F 45 ProDrive is its pre-installed application technology: the F 45 EvoDrive defines inside and outside dimensions automatically from the material thickness data supplied, for example. The F 45 EvoDrive makes life simpler for users by doing much of the hard work for them. It includes additional grooving, incremental dimension and bevel rip features, for example, plus a compound mitre function and tool management system. It has very substantial memory capacity too, allowing users to input a total of 999 programmes via the keyboard for rapid subsequent retrieval.

Other functions of the F 45 EvoDrive:
- Automatic conversion of inside to outside dimensions for the rip fence and crosscut fence as a function of material thickness and set angle
- Compound mitre function with automatic calculation of missing angles/dimensions
- Enhanced tool management with memory for scorer position (three-axis scorer), main tool speed and up to 100 tools
- Groove function: rip fence positioned automatically step by step to realise the groove
- Incremental dimension function
- Bevel rip: the required finished size is achieved by cutting away the excess once the angle of the edge has been entered.
- Memory for 999 cutting programmes

The F 45 ElmoDrive control unit.
The F 45 ElmoDrive incorporates the most advanced and comprehensive control technology in existence for sliding table saws. It provides all of the functions of the other two control units and more. Functions are easily accessed and clearly presented on the 12" touch screen: the calculator function sends results directly to the axes, the geometric shapes function and function for cutting mitre joints between pieces of different widths both include automatic calculation of missing angles/dimensions and there are compound mitre and tool management features as well. The lower part of the display can be used to store functions that are required on a regular basis (in the manner of a PC desktop) for even more efficient operation. The F 45 ElmoDrive is the only control unit that can be linked to a PC with a cut optimisation package. It also provides a 9999-programme memory for the storage and rapid retrieval of cutting programmes.

New options: the toolbox and  the crosscut fence UNO 90.
Altendorf has of course redesigned and adapted all of its accessories to the possibilities of the new F 45 machine. On top of this, however, it has also added two completely new options in the form of the toolbox and the  crosscut fence UNO 90. The practical toolbox – a closable container located under the sliding table as a visual extension of the machine front panel – can hold up to six tool carriers (maximum saw blade diameter 550 mm) ready for use. Also new is the  CNC crosscut fence UNO 90. Fixed in the 90° position, the UNO 90 helps users to size panels and cut workpieces to length with great precision.  The flip stop has a maximum travel of 1,900 mm as standard, but the extension supplied can be fitted manually to give a maximum dimension of 2,900 mm if required.