Archive for November, 2012

In HAAS We Trust

AGAM has a longstanding commitment to consistently provide better products and to increase services for our customers. Every year, a substantial budget is set aside for purchasing new machinery, employee training and general plant improvements.  This year, our biggest purchase was a HAAS VF 5/40 XT vertical machine center which was delivered and installed in early October.

All told, this purchase was nearly 2 years in the making.  Last September we visited EMO, which is an international trade fair for the machine and tool industry located in Hannover Germany.  While at EMO, we looked at machines from top manufacturers around the world.  After spending significant time with multiple machine center manufacturers, it became apparent that we needed to go with the industry leader- HAAS.

Choosing the appropriate model that could produce our entire range of products was not an easy one but our requirements led us to the VX 5 XT.  The HAAS VF 5 XT is a substantial upgrade from our current machine center in terms of size, speed and capabilities.  What this means for our customers is that both stock and custom parts can be made faster and to exact tolerances, ensuring that tight deadlines are always met.

The VF 5 XT features 5 axis capabilities, a 60” x 26” machining bed (allowing six vises), a 20 position umbrella tool changer, a 30 HP motor and full CNC control wrapped up in a 15,000 pound package.  We are especially excited about the rotary table we purchased for this machine.  The rotary table will create a fourth axis, allowing the HAAS to perform operations on multiple surfaces in just one set-up.

To supplement the VF 5’s capabilities, AGAM has also purchased CAMWorks.  CAMWorks is CNC based software that will allow us to program complex 3D parts quickly and accurately, rather than manual programming, which we needed to do previously.  Since we currently model our products in SolidWorks, choosing SolidWorks Product Partner CAMWorks for our programming software was a logical decision.

In fact, it is amazing how seamlessly this machine has fit in and become a piece of equipment that we rely on daily.

AGAM is very excited to have finally received this machine and we look forward to using its expansive capabilities to provide better service for all of your needs.  Please watch and enjoy the video below.

Custom Truss Top Plate

AGAM was recently approached by a client for a booth design consisting of our truss system. Our system is composed of several key parts including the truss itself, the endplate for the sides of each truss, and the top plate that supports the truss. The top plate is essential to the construction of the truss because it serves as the connection point between the vertical extrusion and the truss. It also controls the angle at which the truss extends outwards from the vertical extrusion. Although this offers a very clean and effective solution to any standard truss system, the current design of the top plate does not allow any further extrusions to be built above an existing truss. Therefore, it is impossible to construct multiple levels of trusses off of a single vertical extrusion. Our client’s truss system, however, asked for exactly this. It was our job to work around our existing products and design a solution that would suit the customer’s needs.

The current top plate consist of four main pieces: two outer plates (which provide space for the endplates to attach), one spacer (which sits in between the outer plates), and one insert block (which is screwed into the underside of the bottom outer plate and fits inside of the vertical extrusion). To secure another vertical extrusion above this top plate, we needed to figure out how to attach another insert block onto the top as well.

The solution we engineered provides a simple and easy way for the client to assemble their truss system. It involves using our laser cutter to create a custom outer plate and spacer, each with an extra set of holes. Instead of having only four holes like the current parts, there are now eight. The extra holes become the connection for the insert block to the top, while still allowing the attachment of the bottom insert block as well. Below is an exploded view demonstrating the new assembly:

The insert blocks are held in place by four screws each that are threaded through the outer plate. The holes in the outer plate are counter sunk to allow the screws to sit flush with the surface to avoid interfering with the spacer. Four bolts are used to hold all of the pieces together securely. The hole placement for these bolts was designed to allocate enough space for the insert block to fit between them while still leaving enough room along the outside for the vertical extrusion to fit over top. This was important because when the part is fully-assembled, the bolts are completely hidden from view.
Here in below is a picture of the final assembly before it was shipped out to the client.

If you have a project requiring trusses and special engineering, please feel free to contact me at

Alexandra Hart
Industrial Designer

Café Signage Updated with AGAM

The Crepeaway café is a fast-casual restaurant located in northwest Washington, D.C.  The café recently decided to update its outdoor signage to a more contemporary look and useful outdoor menu.  Replacing the commonplace A-board sidewalk signage and dated overhead entrance awning, the café installed a more functional and upscale signage system built from the AGAM Modular System.

This blog illustrates a before-and-after narrative showing the advantages of switching to a modular system for outdoor signage.  It will also go over the benefits for both the café and sign maker responsible for its installation.



 The newly installed signage outlines a larger restaurant logo, enhancing brand awareness with its modern/urban appearance.

A sidewalk barrier, built with the AGAM System offers a very large menu display both sides host the logo of the brand, “Crepeaway” – offers a larger space for menu items and increases its outdoor seating capacity.  The menu board also utilizes its space wisely by allowing greater exposure for those on the sidewalk with a logo on the adjacent side of the outdoor menu.

Benefits for the Café:

Crepeaway Café, located on K Street, NW serves a large variety of patrons.  From busy executives to leisurely tourists from around the nation and the world.

And with the modularity of the AGAM System, the café can easily reconfigure its outdoor seating area limit.

Benefits for Sign Maker:

A sign maker who chooses to promote and sell modular system solutions instead of other commonplace signs can benefit in a number of ways.

The use of a modular system for signage can bring a consistent revenue stream with clients quick graphic changes and other market conditions that warrant consistent sign changes.

The groove that runs the length of each extrusion, a 8.5mm channel, provides substrate versatility; it can accommodate up to a 5/16″ thickness of a variety of materials:  Sintra®, Gatorboard® and melamine to name a few.  So depending on the project requirements, the AGAM System can accommodate those needs.  And by gaining efficiencies inherent to modular systems, sign makers can standardize many sizes and materials for their end users.

System modularity offers easily customizable sizes and appearances for their clients.  This is not a one-size-fits-all sign, but a true signage solution system.

Using the Crepeaway restaurant as an example, after the initial frame installation, the install time of signage is less than 10 minutes and only requires a simple hex-key. This install time reduction gives sign makers more time to find and grow existing business.

And there are no time or monies are wasted on lengthy and complicated installations and dismantles.

What Does AGAM Do?

AGAM communicates directly with the sign maker.  We typically receive only a sketch to go by.

All projects starts out with an AGAM project coordinator listening carefully to the sign maker and taking the project requirements and creates a solution.

Using the latest design software, AGAM creates precise 2D line drawings and sophisticated 3D renders (when needed) for your review.

All components are cut-to-size, punched, drilled and all hardware is pre-installed.  Frames do not need any further fabrication and can go directly to the job site.

If you want to know more about our capabilities, feel free to call or email.

Justin Worsley
Multimedia Designer

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