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RS Components Discuses Metalworking Industry Trends

RS Components Discuses Metalworking Industry Trends

RS Components and Allied Electronics & Automation are the trading brands of Electrocomponents plc, the global distributor for engineers. The company offers more than 650,000 industrial and electronic products, sourced from 2,500 leading suppliers, and provide a wide range of value-added services to over one million customers. With operations in 32 countries, RS Components trades through multiple channels and ships around 50,000 parcels a day.

In an interview with Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News, Syed Suroor Anwar, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Strategy, Product, Supplier, Pricing & Inventory Management for RS Components, talks about the manufacturing trends he’s seeing for the metalworking industry, and his outlook for the next year.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR COMPANY’S KEY COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES?

Syed Suroor Anwar

Syed Suroor Anwar

Syed Suroor Anwar (SA): RS offers a range of value-added services that offers customers the ability to reduce costs, improve efficiency and get the latest and market leading solutions. These include the RS eProcurement platform, which is one of the key Industry 4.0 support and assists with clients’ sourcing costs, consolidate users purchasing processes, and saves time for the users; and RS Product Plus solution, which helps consolidating users’ supplier database for long tail requirements, leverages spend, speeds up sourcing, tightens purchasing controls and sources all the products that our clients need via RS Components in build catalogue functions.

RS also offers a private label product like called RS PRO that helps customers in saving costs through a high-quality range backed up with a three-year warranty and a very attractive price comparing to branded products.

All together resulting in reducing total costs of ownership and most importantly let our clients focus on what matters for them.

Last but not least, DesignSpark is RS Components’ free online design community and resource centre for makers, students and design engineers sharing content ranging from designs & prototypes to final products.

WHAT SORT OF CHALLENGES ARE YOU SEEING IN THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY?

SA: Some of the key challenges we see in the metalworking industry are related to the overall visibility and maturity of the supply chain. With increasing costs and competitive market, there is a huge pressure on our customers to operate the supply chain more effectively and take out unwanted costs like inventory, purchasing, logistics, and more. Lack of visibility can also cause long delays and unproductive downtime in facilities.

The labour situation in metalworking industries remain volatile with low retention and lack of qualified candidates, hence, pushing the companies towards usage of more advanced technologies to help operations run faster and better, and eventually move towards Industry 4.0.

RS has a significant portfolio of advanced products and technologies that can help customers in modernising their infrastructure and overcoming the risks.

WHAT NEW TECHNOLOGY APPLICATIONS HAVE YOU SEEN EMERGING OVER THE PAST YEAR THAT YOU THINK WILL GREATLY IMPACT THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY?

SA: Digitalisation: In order to maintain the overall operational efficiency and fully utilise the capacity, the metalworking industry is moving towards a connected digital solution. To break through the human ability bottleneck in monitoring complex systems and perform extensive real-time calculations, digitisation became, perhaps, the only solution for the current seemingly dead end.

Digitalisation, combined with the modernisation of the customer channels and usage of e-commerce to generate demand, and coordinating the supply cycle with usage of digitally generated data, will help supply chain professionals in effectively managing their supply chain from end to end.

3D printing and additive manufacturing: The advancement in this technology will help print produce prototypes, small production runs, and a variety of parts without going through a lengthy design to build cycle, hence, improving lead times and saving a lot of costs. The technology for metals is still in its infancy but has a significant growth potential in the coming years with the development of desktop metal printers.

Automation and AI: This has generally been adopted in order to drive more efficiency in operations and to improve quality and inspection with usage of imaging technology, providing customers with better lead time and higher quality products while reducing the operating costs. This can also open the doors for improving asset utilisation and 24×7 operations. This trend is going to be the biggest driver for profitability for metalworking companies in a volatile and a highly priced, competitive market.

WHERE DO YOU SEE THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY NOW IN TERMS INDUSTRY 4.0?

SA: Industry 4.0 is a reality and is a being embraced by the companies in the metalworking industry, but the trend is far behind other sectors like manufacturing, semiconductor industry, and others. But with the added pressure on costs and volatility of the market, we will see a significant uptake in the coming future.

The biggest area of influence and that is lacking behind is the supply chain, and companies need to move away from the traditional ways of managing it and embrace the latest technology to provide faster production, incredible accuracy, and excellent customer service. Digitisation of the supply chain is a must in order to maintain flexibility in operations and demand supply parity.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE SOUTHEAST ASIAN MARKET FOR METALWORKING DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT YEAR?

SA: Southeast Asia is a strategic growth area for the metalworking industry due to the availability of skilled labour, cheaper overhead costs, and sustainable supply chain. Together with this, most of the companies are pushing for smarter manufacturing facilities, high-end production, and Industry 4.0, hence, making it a significant opportunity area.

These is an increasing digital uptake in Southeast Asia customers, and that provides the companies end to end visibility of their supply chain. With the push toward Industry 4.0, it is only going to increase.

Southeast Asia is also a mixed bag of geographies where markets like Singapore and Malaysia are moving towards more digitalisation and Industry 4.0 while the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam are providing large companies with a good base for low-cost mass manufacturing, hence, opening the opportunity to grow and invest in metalworking sector.

WHICH INDUSTRY SEGMENTS IN ASEAN ARE YOU SEEING STRONG GROWTH IN 2020?

SA: We predict that ASEAN will be growing quiet significantly in the infrastructure industry and high-tech manufacturing industry because of the movement of industries from China to Southeast Asia due to the current political situation. We also anticipate the turnaround of the semiconductor industry that will lead to a rise in machine building demand.

As most of these industries require a lot of transportation across multiple geographies, the maritime industry will be indirectly benefitted through the process.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CUSTOMERS WHEN IT COMES TO CHOOSING THE SOLUTIONS TO THEIR METALWORKING PROCESSES?

SA: I would suggest the customers to be open minded in choosing and using the new technologies as this can become your competitive advantage in the overall cut-throat industry.

 

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Etihad Engineering Sets Up 3D Printing Lab In Abu Dhabi, Receives Region’s First Approval To 3D Print Aircraft Parts

Etihad Engineering Sets Up 3D printing Lab in Abu Dhabi, Receives Region’s First Approval to 3D Print Aircraft Parts

Etihad Engineering, the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) division of Etihad Aviation Group, has collaborated with EOS to open the region’s first additive manufacturing facility with design and production approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The laboratory, located at the Etihad Engineering facility adjacent to Abu Dhabi International Airport, features the primary and recently installed powder-bed based polymer system EOS P 396 from EOS for demanding high-performance and high-quality applications. In contrast to traditional manufacturing processes, it enables faster production and reduced weight of cabin parts.

As an MRO solutions provider committed to continuously enhancing the service value it offers to the market and its customers, Etihad Engineering together with EOS received one of the first airline MRO approvals from EASA for 3D printing using the powder-bed fusion technology which will be used to design, produce and certify additively manufactured parts for the aircraft cabin of the future.

“Being committed to high-quality solutions and constant technology innovation, Etihad and EOS share the same mindset. Together, we want to bring the design and production of aircraft interior parts to the next level,” said Markus Glasser, Senior Vice President, Export Region at EOS. “Producing cabin interior parts additively will offer a substantial value-add in terms of optimized repair, lightweight design, shorter lead times and customization, as such addressing some of the key challenges of the aerospace industry.”

“The launch of the new facility is in line with Etihad Engineering’s position as a leading global player in aircraft engineering as well as a pioneer in innovation and technology. We are extremely proud to collaborate with EOS to expand our capability and support the UAE’s strategy to increase production technology and cement its position as a global aerospace hub,” said Bernhard Randerath, VP Design, Engineering and Innovation, Etihad Engineering.

The facility was officially opened in a ceremony attended by His Excellency Ernst Peter Fischer, German Ambassador to the UAE in recognition of the relationship between Germany-based EOS and the UAE’s Etihad Engineering.

The newest system installed by EOS produces serial parts from polymer materials such as PA 2241 FR and enables the manufacture of cabin parts for an aircraft’s heavy maintenance C-check. Cabin defects can also be rectified within a short turnaround time, which allows for the production of the required cabin parts during line maintenance. The system operates with a total build volume of 340x340x600 mm. The modular and highly productive system enables the tool-free manufacture of serial components, spare parts, functional prototypes and models directly from CAD data.

 

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TRUMPF Enables Automated Removal, Stacking Of Parts

TRUMPF Enables Automated Removal, Stacking of Parts

TRUMPF’s TruPunch 1000 punching machine and the TruMatic 1000 fibre punch-laser machine can now be upgraded to remove and stack parts automatically by equipping them with a SortMaster Compact. This enables users to boost the quality of parts and operate the machines over extended periods in automated mode.

TRUMPF has opted to conceal the SortMaster Compact under a movable hood in the machine. Its suction cups travel over the metal sheet and remove parts from the scrap skeleton on the machine table. They also hold sheet-metal parts in place when the machine makes the final separation stroke.

The suction cups vary in size and can be controlled individually to reliably remove even smaller parts. These can be as small as 70 by 30 mm and as large as 600 by 400 mm. The SortMaster Compact places the parts on a pallet that is carried on a standard cart. When all parts are finished, SortMaster Compact opens its hood and the operator can move the cart to the next station down the line.

TRUMPF’s SortMaster Compact complements existing automation solutions for these systems. The SheetMaster Compact automates the task of loading blanks into the two machines and unloading scrap skeleton and microjoint sheets. The built-in sorting function can also convey small parts to boxes underneath the machine. Users who initially opt for the automated sheet and skeleton sheet loading and unloading option can retrofit the SortMaster Compact. The TruPunch 1000 and TruMatic 1000 fibre’s compact footprints stay small with the SortMaster Compact.

 

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TRUMPF Asia Pacific Appoints New Managing Director

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Hexagon Launches Specialist Sheet Metal CAD For CAM

Hexagon Launches Specialist Sheet Metal CAD for CAM

Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence Division has launched Designer, a new piece of specialist CAD for CAM software specifically for sheet metal, alongside the latest release of RADAN.

RADAN Designer will form a pivotal part of RADAN’s CAD/CAM functionality in preparing parts for bending, nesting and cutting. From model design to part repair and modification, it is said to be the ultimate solution for taking geometry through to manufacture.

While the module is available on the new RADAN 2020.1 pricelist, existing RADAN 3D users have the option of a free upgrade. Product Manager Olaf Körner said it contains a material library and several calculation methods to create the correct unfolded shape. “Unfolding parameters such as bend allowances, can be controlled independently of the geometry, leading to more accurate flat blanks, more accurate folding, and ultimately, to a higher quality product.”

A major innovation in RADAN 2020.1 allows for an endless nesting workflow. Körner described nesting in previous releases as being a snapshot. “The operator had a list of parts to produce, and cleaned up the workspace once the nests were finished. They started, finished, cleaned up the workspace and started the next job.”

Now, the new release delivers a more flexible, fluent approach, by enabling parts for additional jobs to continuously go on to the nest, which he says leads to improved machine and sheet utilisation. “It means manufacturers can react to changing priorities. They can simply add more parts without having to clean up the workspace, so the nesting process, and production, keeps going with no interruption,” said Körner.

As common cutting is becoming increasingly popular, RADAN’s support for it has been extended with a new Common Grid Cutting algorithm.

An additional safety check has been added to detect floating scrap in punching programs. The high level of automation, coupled with a target of not leaving anything on the machine, means programs are becoming more complex to ensure that everything’s either destroyed or removed. “If there’s anything wrong in the sequence or applied tooling that might generate floating scrap, RADAN 2020.1 now clearly highlights it.”

Four significant items of new functionality have been added to the Radtube module. Firstly, with information to feed nesters increasingly coming from ERP systems, Radtube can now use CSV files which specify the name of the product, quantity, and other parameters, negating the need to key them in again. Secondly, colour coding of specific parts ensures quick identification. This runs through from the design stage and set-up sheet, so the part can be identified immediately the machine has finished cutting, so the operator doesn’t have to rely on recognising it by shape or size.

The other two items follow on from that and are also linked to identification: improved reporting so that documentation going to the shop floor includes the colour coordination, and introducing a simple line font, instead of a more intricate TrueType font for text marking and imprinting parts.

In Hexagon’s previous release of RADAN, an option was introduced to import 3D files into Radquote, but they had to be single part files. In 2020.1 any multi-body or assembly files can be added. “For example, a complete SolidWorks assembly can simply be dropped into Radquote, which then unfolds all the sheet metal parts and calculates cycle times, to prepare an accurate quote.”

Improved support for bars and tubes includes the ability to set up a complete library of shapes for cutting—not only traditional shapes such as box sections, rectangular and round tubes, I-beams and C-beams, but also custom designs. And as nesting technologies and cycle times are the same for tubes as for 2D, Radquote can provide an accurate cost related to high performance nesting of bars and tubes.

RADAN’s powerful connection with WORKPLAN, Hexagon Production Software’s intelligent project management solution, has been enhanced, both in terms of quoting and nesting. WORKPLAN utilises Radquote to build prices with material costs and production times. It also offers a simple and efficient stock management solution for sheet metal nests, including stock reception/withdrawal, inventory, scrap management and part traceability. Interfaced with RADAN’s CAM programming, data reporting in WORKPLAN and deduction of sheets used, is all readily visible.

Finally, Radbend has been stronger in dealing with programming press brakes for multiple machines, by automating some of the steps. Where tooling is compatible, the time taken to switch a program from one machine to another has been reduced to around 30 per cent of what it used to be. Other improvements include improved workflows. “For example, if there’s a potential collision, Radbend not only notifies the user, but also remembers the action taken when calculating for collisions on an alternative press brake. It’s all about getting to the end result with shorter steps.”

In conclusion, Hexagon’s Körner said RADAN’s roadmap continues to bring all aspects of the software closer together. “For example, 2D nesting and tube nesting have very similar properties; Radquote is becoming as popular in quoting for tube contracts as for sheet metal; and the endless nesting workflow can be used just as effectively for Radtube as flat blanks. It reduces the time required to prepare a quote to around a fifth of what it used to be.”

 

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Hexagon Puts Spotlight on Machine Tool Innovation At EMO 2019

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WIKUS WIstore Enables Automated And Dynamic Reordering Processes

WIKUS WIstore Enables Automated and Dynamic Reordering Processes

With the WIstore, WIKUS-Sägenfabrik is launching a digital service solution for automated and dynamic reordering processes based on RFID technology. The service makes the buying process and the logistics more cost-effective and provides a transparent, always up-to-date overview of the stock holdings as well as consumption analyses.

“Processes such as ordering or stocktaking do not contribute directly to value creation,” said Michael Möller, CEO and CSO of the WIKUS group of companies. “Many businesses therefore complain about the time and money these manual processes cost them. Digital service solutions are becoming increasingly important in order to operate efficiently. Tool management tools such as the WIstore dynamically provide optimum supply and availability security and therefore ensure that a company’s production processes run smoothly.”

Users need only minimal hardware from WIKUS to be able to use the WIstore: an RFID reader, which looks like a mini-computer with a display, and a corresponding RFID antenna. The latter is built into an IP68-certified indoor and outdoor rubber mat. As it takes up very little space, it is easy to integrate into the existing production and warehouse facilities. Otherwise, all that is needed is a reliable mobile network or Wi-Fi connection and a power point.

The products and parcels are equipped with an RFID tag. All products received by the customer as well as the products that they have taken from their stock and used are automatically recorded, including all product-specific details, and this information is then transmitted to WIKUS. All stock movements therefore happen not only physically on the company premises but are also recorded in the WIstore, where they can be viewed online via the portal.

When the stock of a particular item falls below the agreed threshold quantity, a reorder for this item is triggered automatically and then delivered by WIKUS. This ensures ongoing optimum efficiency of the reordering process, because as little capital as possible is tied up in surplus stock holdings.

Customers can log onto the WIstore online portal and get an overview of important key stock movement figures, for example, with the aid of various evaluation and analysis features.

 

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Creaform Launches 3D Scanning Solution Suite For The Aerospace Industry

Creaform Launches 3D Scanning Solution Suite for the Aerospace Industry

Creaform has released HandySCAN AEROPACK, a 3D scanning solution suite that addresses the specific challenges of aircraft quality control, such as assessing damage from hailstorms or aircraft incidents as well as flap and spoiler inspections. The HandySCAN AEROPACK can also be used for reverse engineering, maintenance and repair operations, and designing hard-to-acquire spare parts.

The HandySCAN AEROPACK solution includes: HandySCAN 3D, a metrology-grade, portable 3D scanner designed to acquire accurate, repeatable and reliable measurements—even in difficult environments, such as aircraft hangers or shop floors, and with both complex surfaces and parts of all sizes; SmartDENT 3D, an aircraft surface inspection software for assessing aircraft flaps, spoilers, fuselage, etc.; VXinspect, a dimensional inspection software module for quality control workflows and inspection reports; and VXmodel, a post-treatment software module to finalize and further process 3D scan data in any CAD solution.

Intuitive and easy to use by operators of any skill level, Creaform’s HandySCAN AEROPACK makes quality control and reverse engineering processes very efficient by reducing user impact on measurement results and accelerating generation time for final reports or CAD designs. Featuring unmatched performance, HandySCAN AEROPACK never compromises on diagnosis results or safety.

HandySCAN 3D is listed in the Airbus Technical Equipment Manual, which is referenced in its Structure Repair Manual. It is also part of Boeing’s Service Letter, meaning it can be used for recording physical attributes of aircraft dents of all Boeing commercial airplanes.

“The aerospace industry is facing increasing challenges due to manufacturers’ accelerated innovation, stricter regulatory standards, heightened concerns for passenger safety, mounting costs of grounded aircraft, and profitability targets,” explained Jérôme-Alexandre Lavoie, Product Manager at Creaform. “Because the HandySCAN AEROPACK package was developed with these challenges in mind, aircraft and MRO companies can tackle them head on with our solution suite.”

 

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Sandvik Coromant Connected Driven Tool Holder Maximises Machine Utilisation

Sandvik Coromant Connected Driven Tool Holder Maximises Machine Utilisation

Sandvik Coromant is set to boost the utilisation of turning machines and turret-based multi-task machine tools fitted with driven tool holders. Part of the CoroPlus digital machining offer, the company’s Coromant Capto DTH Plus solution minimises costly downtime due to breakages by alerting an operator to the need to service an individual driven tool holder. This enables manufacturers to achieve maximum machine tool productivity and output through predictive maintenance as well as offering fast tool changes in applications using driven tools.

Sandvik Coromant is introducing the new product to solve a common problem for many manufacturers—knowing the optimum time to service their equipment while avoiding the likelihood of tool holder breakage. Outside a planned maintenance schedule, an operator could be running a tool holder in an environment that risks costly damage to equipment, resulting in machining failures and unplanned stops in production.

Developed to complement the Coromant Capto quick-change tooling concept from Sandvik Coromant, the new driven tool holder solution uses sensors to gather data and transmits them via Bluetooth, making predictive maintenance of the holder possible. Thanks to quick-change functionality, the time an operator needs to spend on measuring, set-up, and tool change is kept to a minimum. Also, because the driven tool holders are equipped with Coromant Capto coupling, the solution enables operators to make use of an extensive range of high-performance cutting tools.

The software application included in the new offer provides operators with real-time information – such as the vibration level of the holder—making live monitoring of the spindle possible, while also monitoring the temperature within the tool holder. Other data delivered through the sensors include RPM and direction of rotation, minimising the chances of exceeding the driven tool holder’s limits, and current and historical information about a particular tool. Also provided is data on the location of a driven tool holder, including the specific factory, machine name, turret and station number.

 

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Tungaloy Expands HP Geometry Line Of T-CBN Inserts

Tungaloy Expands HP Geometry Line of T-CBN Inserts

Tungaloy is expanding its -HP geometry line of T-CBN inserts to ensure effective chip control in finish turning of hardened steel parts. The -Tungaloy Expands HP Geometry Line of T-CBN Inserts provides reliable chip control in finish cutting conditions at cutting depths of 0.2 mm (.0079″) or smaller, minimising part quality damages caused by poor chip control.

Around 22 additional -HP geometry T-CBN inserts are now available, which further increases the chipbreaker application range in hard turning.

The new chip former ensures good chip breakage and smooth chip control. The free cutting geometry eliminates bar deflection and vibration during machining, and the built-in wiper ensures better surface quality and chip control.

A total of 22 inserts, available in BXM10 for continuous cut and BXA20 for interrupted cut, are to be added.

 

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Hexagon Touch Probe Transforms Thickness Measurement On Machine Tools

Hexagon Touch Probe Transforms Thickness Measurement on Machine Tools

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence has launched an on-machine ultrasonic solution that transforms the measurement of wall thickness for larger parts.

Inspecting the thickness of a part’s walls is typically a time-consuming manual process that takes place off the machine tool, resulting in downtime. The new RWP20.50-G-UTP touch probe from Hexagon transforms the procedure by using ultrasound to automatically measure wall thickness within the machine tool installation.

“The RWP20.50-G-UTP ultrasonic touch probe now makes it possible to perform a whole new range of thickness measurement applications directly on the machine tool. Designed with ease-of-use in mind, the RWP20.50-G-UTP’s not only automates and speeds up inspection processes, its software also makes it simple to view and use captured data. And because it works in a similar way to other Hexagon probes with radio-wave transmission, it reduces the training requirement for machine operators,” said Maximilian Macha, Head of Product Management for Machine Tool Measurement in the company.

Integrating Hexagon’s proven, innovative radio-wave technology, the RWP20.50-G-UTP operates in the 2.4 GHz frequency range. Like other probes from the company, the RWP20.50-G-UTP has a robust, modular design and can be converted into a dimensional or temperature probe simply by changing the measuring unit. And unlike other ultrasonic solutions, the RWP20.50-G-UTP works without any coupling fluids, which simplifies operations and keeps parts cleaner.

Supported by dedicated thickness measurement software, the RWP20.50-G-UTP is compatible with the control software for Siemens, Heidenhain and Fanuc tooling machines, making it easy to capture and visualise measurement data directly on the shop floor and to export it for use in other programs.

 

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TRUMPF Workmate: Digital Assistant For Sheet Metal Fabrication

TRUMPF Workmate: Digital Assistant for Sheet Metal Fabrication

TRUMPF has unveiled its new Workmate software solution at the recently held Blechexpo 2019 in Stuttgart, Germany. Using a tablet, machine operators and assembly workers can browse information designed to make their daily work easier—from advice on setting up machines to recommendations on how parts should be packaged. By ensuring people can always access the key information they need without having to search for it, this software solution saves time and helps both experienced and untrained employees work independently and efficiently.

TRUMPF‘s Workmate helps users organize their day’s work more efficiently by providing a list of all pending jobs. It also offers a dedicated user interface for preparing jobs. Among other things, this shows the user where the parts required for the job are stored. If the parts have to be fetched from the warehouse, the operator can allocate them to the job directly in Workmate to keep stock records updated.

Workmate also provides assistance in setting up laser, punching, punch-laser and bending machines. The software tells the operator which tools the system should be equipped with to process each job. Workmate also specifies which process parameters the operator can use to configure the machine, and it allows users to track job progress while the machine is working. Once the parts are finished, Workmate helps users to remove the parts correctly and stack and label them in accordance with the job requirements.

Workmate also assists workers with manual tasks such as welding or assembly by providing detailed work instructions and safety information. What’s more, Workmate can tell users where fixtures are stored and how the parts processed for a job should be packaged. Workmate will be available from spring 2020.

 

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