CAM system drives a combination laser system

Forli, Italy – Arlam Srl, a sheet metal subcontractor with 42 workers, once had several CNC laser and combination machines being driven by different CAM software, which presented the company with several problems. However, early this year, they set up a custom system using JETCAM Orders Controller and were able to spend less time programming and more time improving quality on the shop floor.

“We were already running JETCAM with high performance nesting and were not happy with the nesting efficiency on the other machines. Also, not all of our staff were trained to use all of the systems, and the file formats were different, meaning we could not move jobs easily between machines. Having three separate systems made it difficult to group orders together for different customers. We investigated an upgrade to one of the other systems, and also looked at an alternative product, but neither were as fast or as easy to use as JETCAM," said Arlam co-owner Stefano Fuschini.

In 2009, the company installed a Prima Platino to join its existing range of a Finn-Power LB6 combination machine and a Bystronic laser. The Prima was also to be the first in the world to be connected to the Finn-Power Night Train material management system.

In November 2009, Arlam decided to purchase a postprocessor for the Bystronic laser and scheduled installation for January. At the same time, they received delivery of the Prima Platino and embarked on a month-long trial of the supplied software. This again did not deliver the same efficiencies as JETCAM, so in January 2010 a postprocessor for the Prima was installed on both licenses. The system was customized on-site to link the Prima Platino to the Finn-Power Night Train system and all staff were trained. JETCAM Orders Controller (JOC) was also installed, allowing staff to easily create order lists for combined customer parts and assemblies for all machines. The entire process took just five working days to complete.

After going live, the company noticed immediate benefits. The other business co-owner no longer needed to spend any time programming, freeing him up to concentrate on improving quality and processes on the shop floor, while the other two programmers now only spend one day per week instead of three. Geometry files are created once with multiple tooling/profiling layers and are available for nesting on all machines, while JOC massively reduced the time from order to NC code by automating the queuing of parts to be nested. With JOC providing combined orders and high performance nesting producing the most optimized nests, there was a visible reduction in material waste. Fuschini noted that while they did not have an exact savings percentage, the skeletons were visibly smaller and often required only one person to remove them instead of two.

Another unexpected benefit was that Arlam could now achieve a better part finish.

“JETCAM handles functions such as common cutting better than other systems. It also gives you much greater control over how the part is cut, which results in a better quality component," said Fuschini.

Arlam now only maintains one CAM system so support costs have also been reduced. The company rarely needs to contact support, and any questions are answered quickly and fully.

Arlam is in the process of linking its MRP system to JOC and hopes to automate this completely through JETCAM’s RCP. Once complete, as soon as an order is placed, it will immediately be queued for nesting based on material and thickness. “From the start we knew what we wanted to achieve, and JETCAM has delivered this completely. We never expected to reduce the programming time as much as we have," said Fuschini.

JETCAM International has been developing and distributing its JETCAM Expert range of CADCAM software since 1986. In use in over 70 countries worldwide, JETCAM Expert software supports virtually every CNC punching, laser, plasma, routing, waterjet, and flatbed cutting machine available today, allowing users to program any combination of CNC machines with a single CAM system.

 

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