In an aim to respond to the complexity and growing demand in the sheet metal sector for increasingly heterogeneous tube designs and different formats, Lantek, a multinational pioneer in the digital transformation of the industrial metal sector presents its latest developments in this specific area.
The company has designed new applications for Lantek Flex3d which provide easy solutions when designing and machining complete or partial bevels anywhere in the tube. The new version also makes it possible to include perforations of various types (round, rectangular, triangular...), and deal with the multiple possibilities that require a comprehensive library of connections and intersections for the assembly of complete tube sets.
"One of the most highly technologically-developed fields in the sheet metal sector is the manufacturing of tubes, both in terms of the development of machine operations and in software solutions that address the variety of demands raised by customers", explains Francisco Pérez, Lantek OEM Channel Director. "For over 35 years, Lantek has been analysing and providing solutions in response to the complexity surrounding the manufacture of tubes and profiles in the sheet metal sector. Its technology takes into account the diversity in sheet metal and tube cutting and the complexity of controlling the machines and their processes".
New markets and formats, different types of profiles
The ability to address and resolve the variety of possible scenarios, especially considering the series of fundamental variables in this field, is key when it comes to responding to the growing demand in this market.
Each type of profile can be cut in different ways. It depends on the structure of the machine (dimensions of the head/nozzle, axis, etc.) and the client’s preferences. In the past, tube-cutting machines revolved mainly around cutting circular and rectangular tubes. These machines were extremely expensive, in fact, they still are today. However, with the introduction of fibre laser manufacturing costs, as well as those of the machines themselves decreased, allowing more companies to invest in the technology. The machines have evolved to meet the needs of this new client/market which has, in turn, triggered the emergence of new needs for cutting "complex" profiles.
The usual solution provided by the machine manufacturer was based on predefined machining for each type of profile/format, but when a new type appears, adding it to the standard library is very time consuming, especially now that the number of possible formats is exponentially multiplying. The result is that the client has to accept whatever predefined machining method the machine supplier offers, which may not be ideal.
Aware of this situation and the need to offer solutions for a wide range of machines, with its tube-cutting product Lantek Flex3d, Lantek has developed a new machining concept. This new solution is a tool able to define a tailor-made cutting trajectory for any profile. This includes a customised cutting sequence defined by both the OEM and the machine user to meet their particular production requirements. The result is the creation of a "knowledge database" where the OEM’s machine experience is combined with the end user’s cutting experience.
This new development has allowed Lantek to get ahead of the market, anticipating the future and adapting to manufacturers’ needs. This new Lantek Flex3d tool will be available in version V41 of the Global Release 2021.
Resolving a variety of cutting conditions
With highly variable manufacturing requirements Lantek Flex3d has to consider type of tube to be manufactured and the type of cutting machine used. For example, large tubes for structural applications, with sizeable thickness and dimensions, are usually cut with plasma and oxycut machines, whereas narrower tubes with reduced dimensions are generally cut with laser cutting technology. The software fundamentals are the same for the tubes themselves, but there is a significant difference in the control of the machine itself and its processes.
The types of machines are multiplying and the complexity of driving them is not so much because of the cutting technology itself (plasma, laser) but because of the head: the issues to be resolved multiply due to machines with various types of fixed heads, and machines with different types of moving heads. Equally, there are specific tube-cutting machines but there are also combined machines for 2D cutting, which meet specific needs for subcontractors that don’t specialise in tubes.
Lantek Flex3d has been designed to resolve these complexities and is fully integrated with the rest of Lantek’s planning (MES), management (ERP), analytics and monitoring solutions. With Lantek Flex3d, Lantek offers a specific software programme for manufacturing tubes and profiles that has a whole family of applications covering almost all scenarios encountered by clients. From the simple to the complex, it manages any type of machine or cutting technology, integrates with the most popular design programmes and provides a solution for all types of tube or assembly with the aim of providing software to meet the specific needs of each client.
Lantek is a multinational which is leading the digital transformation of companies in the sheet metal and metal industry. With its patented manufacturing intelligence software, it enables factories to be connected, turning them into Smart Factories. It rounds off its range of services with CAD, CAM, MES, and ERP solutions for companies that manufacture metal parts from sheet metal, tubes, and profiles using any cutting technology (laser, plasma, oxycut, waterjet, shearing and punching).
Founded in 1986 in the Basque Country (Spain), one of the main European hubs of machine tool development, Lantek enables the integration of sheet metal and metal processing technologies using the most advanced manufacturing management software. The company is currently the outstanding leader in its sector thanks to its capacity for innovation and commitment to internationalisation. With more than 25,700 clients in over 100 countries and 20 offices in 14 countries, it has an extensive network of distributors with an international presence. In 2020, its international business contributed to 88% of its revenue.
For more information, visit: www.lantek.com