A few years ago, a company would buy a laser cutting machine for sheet metal which had a divider that allowed tubes to be cut. The most probable load distribution would be 95% of the time cutting sheet metal and the remaining 5% cutting tubes. However, there are currently machines that exist exclusively for this purpose and are even, in their most modern version, fiber laser, more economic and efficient, offering greater speed and quality for thicknesses under 30mm.
For piping of a certain diameter and greater thicknesses of up to 60mm, plasma is the most suitable cutting technology. In fact, it has also experienced significant growth fundamentally brought about by the metal structure production industry and industrial plants. In this case, preparation for welding takes on a greater importance that with laser, if possible, as the tightness and durability of the seals is a critical factor.
Just as the machine tool has evolved, the productive process has also transformed insofar as production has increased, making the search for efficiencies obligatory. So much so that now, instead of sequencing on part after another, without paying too much attention to efficiency in terms of material usage, we now exhaustively plan how to manufacture the pieces of tubing with nesting strategies that optimize the material usage.
All of this while handling a greater volume of data where software which is able to gather and manage said data in real-time is key. In this sense, it is fundamental for a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) program to work in an integrated manner with design (CAD) and machining (CAM) systems. Especially when assemblies are being produced that need to join in an assembly point in an orchestrated manner.
At Lantek, we have a range of products which are adapted for designing and cutting tubes, be they light or thin or of greater thicknesses, both for straight and beveled cuts. Lantek Flex3d Tubes is a CAD/CAM software program devised for designing, nesting and machining cutting tube and piping parts that works with the same precision, whatever the cutting machine.
The software simulates the cutting sequence of any machine in 3D, making it a powerful tool that avoids collisions within the machine and undesired behavior during real operations. Equally, it generates a CNC program to achieve the perfect production of the parts, both in machines for specific tubes (able to cut round, square, rectangular or open-profile formats) and in hybrid machines (able to process both tubing and metal sheet) and features the following characteristics depending on whether it is a manual or automatic model.
In manual mode, the program offers the following options, among others:
In automatic mode, the program offers:
But, in addition to this, the Lantek software combines working on 3D or 2D parts in a way which is natural for the user, efficiently managing any part or component or any machine that combines flat cutting and tube cutting. All of this, always bearing in mind production efficiency, with less consumption of raw material as any improvement in utilization implies a substantial improvement in the plant’s margins. Subsequently, all of our products are designed to optimize the material and the cut parts with the nesting of said parts, automatically detecting the scraps in the warehouse and prioritizing their use before using new sheet metal. Depending on the material and the sector, a saving of between 12% and 33.5% in material consumption can be achieved.
Ultimately, with Lantek Expert, Lantek Flex3d Tubes and Lantek MES all operations are managed from start to finish. From design and cutting, to machining, using production management in an aim to optimize production and save costs in order to ultimately be more competitive.
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