Manufacturers’ analogue business processes are being converted into digital-focused “web shops,” based on the leading sheet metal software, RADAN.
RADAN’s German reseller, 3D Concepts, who are renowned for their innovative CAD/CAM solutions, have worked with a number of their customers to analyse the digital change philosophy of Industry 4.0, and developed individual concepts.
Thomas Menholz, from 3D Concepts, says digital building blocks such as CAD/CAM, MES, MRP and ERP can all come together in SQL-based systems to form data-driven Smart factories. “Every company needs to find its own unique path on the basis of a dedicated digitalisation strategy.
“An important aspect of the digital trend is the introduction of a web shop for the procurement of sheet metal parts, where customers can request components online, be provided with an offer, and place the order. Web shops operate autonomously, and are accessible 24 hours a day.”
As an increasing number of products are being developed in 3D CAD systems, web shops are based on 3D sheet metal parts provided in STEP and other similar files, along with 2D cuts from files such as DXF format. “The digital twin is created as a forerunner to the real product which comes later. Also, it’s likely that 3D data will replace 2D data in future, and that will simplify the processing without the need for further queries.
“At the moment, additional queries prevent seamless process handling, which is why this paradigm shift is very welcome for many suppliers and contract manufacturers in the sheet metal industry.”
3D Concepts has recently implemented a web shop for Trio Metall und Design GmbH, in Luhe-Wildenau. Trio is a contract producer of sheet metal components, providing a complete service from consulting, designing and planning, through to manufacturing ‘ready-for-assembly’ components, ranging from single parts and small runs, to large quantities. Using latest laser technology, they also work with non-ferrous metals such as copper, brass and titanium.
The digital strategy began early last year, focused around digitising internal processes and creating a web shop, Trionline 24, for the procurement of sheet metal parts. “At the same time, we linked these new processes to their existing ERP system, and controlled their new laser machine tools with RADAN.”
Trio’s Key Account Manager Christian Weinberg says the web shop automates their quotation preparation, which was time consuming when carried out manually. “We’ve also noticed that larger inquiries, such as for complete welding assemblies, are now sent directly to us via the web shop, which led to us investing in RADAN’s offline quotation module, Radquote, for calculating complete assemblies. This almost halved the time taken in preparing quotes.”
Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division has launched Captura, an entry-level optical coordinate measuring machine (CMM) that offers an intuitive and cost-effective solution for multisensor measurement of small to medium parts.
Captura supports measurements using vision sensors, laser sensors and confocal sensors, and is designed to offer good price to performance ratio for the entry-level market. The basic machine is supplied with a vision sensor and can be expanded with additional sensors. The dynamic machine concept offers high positioning accuracy, fast measuring point acquisition, and high-performance vision capturing. Captura CMMs run the Metus metrology software, a Hexagon-developed package for 2.5D multisensor measurement. Metus has its roots Hexagon’s flagship PC-DMIS metrology software, and delivers the highest standard of precision measurement in an easy-to-use software package.
“Multisensor and optical CMMs are ideal for manufacturers who are working with very small or fragile parts, or with materials that can’t be measured with touch probes – for example in the electronics sector,” said Kah Khoon Goh, Business Development Director Asia-Pacific.
“As manufacturing in the Asia-Pacific region diversifies, we’re seeing more manufacturers selecting this kind of system. Together with the user-friendly Metus software, Captura has been designed to meet the specific requirements of entry-level users without compromising on overall performance.”
Taveesak Srisuntisuk of Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence speaks about the metalworking trends and opportunities for growth in the Philippines. Article by Stephen Las Marias.
Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, part of Hexagon AB, helps industrial manufacturers develop the disruptive technologies of today and the life-changing products of tomorrow. A leading provider of metrology and manufacturing solutions, Hexagon’s expertise in sensing, thinking and acting—the collection, analysis and active use of measurement data—gives its customers the confidence to increase production speed and accelerate productivity while enhancing product quality.
At the recent PDMEX 2019 event, Taveesak Srisuntisuk, General Manager of the AEC and Pacific Region for Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, speaks about the metalworking trends and opportunities for growth in the Philippines.
Tell us about your activities in the Philippines.
Taveesak Srisuntisuk (TS): We are a provider of 3D measuring machines—all kinds of three-dimension measuring machines, not only the traditional CMM that uses tactile probes. We also have vision measuring machine, multisensor measuring machine, portable measuring arms with laser tracker, white light scanner systems, and so on.
We are in the quality control business, but we are more and more getting involved into manufacturing because we also have hardware for the machine tools, software for design, CAD/CAM, and so on. We can see that quality control still has a very good opportunity for improvement here. In other countries, we are already well known when it comes to quality. Quality also can increase productivity—and here, we can see the same direction.
Which industries here are you seeing strong growth?
TS: We have been in the Philippine market for many years. In fact, I have been taking care of the Philippine market since 2010. And yes, we see the market growing, but maybe not as much as its peers in Southeast Asia. There are a variety of industries here—mould and die, electronics, aerospace, and automotive. While we don’t see any specific industry that is growing rapidly at the moment, we can see growth especially in the mould and die, and electronics markets.
With the trade war happening between China and the United States, we are seeing some comments that the Philippines is also getting opportunities from Chinese investments here.
Are you seeing smart factory adoption in the Philippine metalworking industry?
TS: Not a lot of customers are mentioning these things. In Southeast Asia, the countries that talk more about smart manufacturing or Industry 4.0 are Singapore and Malaysia. But we definitely need to speak to the customers, we need to show them that Hexagon is one of the companies that are involved in this trend. All our devices support the smart factory trend.
How do you help customers move toward smarter manufacturing?
TS: We offer our customers smart solutions so that if they decided to do something tomorrow, their processes will be smarter. We always ensure that our software, hardware and products will help customers in transforming their production processes.
Tell us some of the products being highlighted here.
TS: Our devices can be integrated into a smart factory environment. We are showcasing our traditional CMMs, we have two CMMs here: one is with the scanning, and the other is with the traditional tactile probe. We have the portable measuring arm, a vision machine, as well as a new product, which we are showcasing here first time—the laser tracker with scanner.
How do you encourage small- and medium-sized job shops to adopt high-end solutions?
TS: Even if they are job shops, they are providing a service to somebody. And they have to ensure that their manufactured parts are good. The trend now is towards digitalization. Even the job shops, they can reduce a lot of work by investing not in high-end systems yet, but in entry level solutions.
However, in this market, you also have multinational companies such as Nidec Philippines, Hyundai Philippines, and so on. These are the companies that we are supporting in many countries as well. So, both customer sides—multinational companies and job shops—we are all supporting here in the Philippines.
What advice would you give customers when it comes to selecting measurement solutions?
TS: For the measuring machine, the most important is the accuracy they need. If they need more than 20 microns, they can use portable arm scanners. If they have a lot of work related to geometry, then maybe a CMM can help them. If there’s a lot of 3D, or CAD/CAM design and so on, a scanner solution would be the best.
We need to know their requirements—only then can we offer the right solutions for them. We have many kinds of 3D measuring machines to offer, but we have to know their applications, what they need, before we can ascertain the correct solutions.
Finally, what is your outlook for the metalworking industry next year?
TS: It’s very difficult to forecast because now, in Southeast Asia, even if we are becoming one community—AEC or ASEAN Economic Community—but we are still competing against each other. The governments are trying to showcase their benefits and bringing the foreign investments in their countries.
I can say that the Philippines is one of the markets we are seeing growth, especially now that the government is becoming more stable, leading to the market becoming more attractive for investments. We just hope that the country will really sustain its good growth.
MSC Software Corporation (MSC), a part of Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, is one of the leading providers of computer-aided engineering (CAE) simulation software and services. The company has released the MSC Apex Generative Design, a new design optimisation solution that improves quality through unparalleled automation of design processes with embedded manufacturing knowledge.
MSC Apex Generative Design aims to improve productivity by up to 80 percent compared to classic topology optimisation. The software produces a part design that is ready for additive manufacturing (DfAM) within a few hours—a fraction of time usually required—making reliable additive manufacturing more cost efficient and accessible.
In MSC Apex Generative Design, the designer only needs to specify the boundary conditions and design objective. Multiple lightweight design candidates that explore the possibilities of the design space will be produced that provide optimal stress distribution and minimize weight. This enhances the creative process, so designers have more time to optimise the product’s concept and integrate additional features that add value. The software’s intelligent smoothing technology ensures that every candidate has a perfect finish that is ready for print.
“New design freedoms in additive manufacturing require a new generation of software solutions that take full advantage of the new DfAM possibilities. We make the generative design process smarter by producing design candidates that both satisfy the engineering criteria and look as the designer intended when 3D printed,” said Dr. Thomas Reiher, Director of Generative Design at MSC Software.
Conventional topology optimisation workflows require manual work and multiple tools to achieve production-ready results, which can lead to information loss as data is converted. MSC Apex integrates all relevant steps within one CAE environment to improve productivity with a single user experience from design to additive manufacturing preparation.
The design process is workflow-oriented, providing easy and fast model setup from existing geometries or mesh in common CAD, STL, or MSC Nastran BDF formats. Designers can find optimized design candidates and perform design validation within the same CAE environment, simplifying the work process and reducing design iterations dramatically. The result is a fully integrated, automated optimization process in which compatibility for previous and subsequent operations plays a vital role. This unique capability implies the conversion from the CAE mesh to CAD with no manual reconstruction of geometry, considerably simplifying the work process for designers.
The MSC Apex Generative Design for Additive Manufacturing solution combines print-ready geometries with robust metal (Simufact) and polymer (Digimat) build process simulation from Hexagon’s additive manufacturing portfolio. Designers only generate part designs that can be successfully manufactured using their chosen material and print process to eliminate costly prototyping.
Simufact, part of Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, has launched Simufact Additive 2020, a powerful solution for the optimisation of metal-based additive manufacturing (AM) processes. Simufact Additive 2020 now provides cost estimation of the build process and improves interoperability with Materialise build preparation software and Renishaw printers to streamline manufacturing processes.
Simufact Additive 2020 expands the scope of manufacturing simulation. In addition to designing and optimizing the build process virtually, users can now estimate print job costs for single components or assemblies. Not limited to the build process, the capability also includes subsequent processes such as cutting, machining, drilling and grinding. This helps the user identify the best build variant by taking into account printing costs.
Enhanced interoperability with Materialise print preparation software and Renishaw printers
Following Simufact’s efforts to simplify data exchange in the AM process chain, Simufact Additive 2020 now interfaces to Materialise using the 3MF industry standard 3D printing data exchange format. 3MF enables simple and reliable data transfer with third-party software and considerably reduces timely efforts for the model set up.
Simufact Additive 2020 includes an integrated Renishaw QuantAM API for build job preparation and export, which provides the user an error-free-data transmission from Simufact Additive directly to Renishaw printers. This functionality also improves productivity because the entire work process from design to printed part is possible within the software. More interfaces are under development to allowing easy connection to other printing machines.
This new software release applies new Adaptive Voxel Meshing technology to improve the simulation speed by automatically adjusting the voxel sizes in the part. This provides more immediate results to users, and makes the simulation even more reliable and robust.
Another release highlight, Hybrid Manufacturing helps manufacturers to combine Powder Bed Fusion additive manufacturing processes with conventional manufacturing. Simufact Additive 2020 makes it possible to define a given part upon which the printing will begin, including any internal stresses. Thus, stresses and distortions of the complete assembly, and all single parts can be investigated.
“Simufact Additive 2020 broadens our scope from pure-play process build optimization software to provide cost optimisation. This new release also underlines our commitment to openness and interoperability with third-party products. We believe manufacturers should start wherever they want in the process to impove quality and efficiency and make additive manufacturing smarter,” says Dr. Hendrik Schafstall, CEO and Managing Director, Simufact.
Simufact Additive is used by leading manufacturers such as Safran and BAE Systems to improve quality and reduce costly physical prototyping. Simufact Additive 2020 can be licensed alongside any MSC Software products through the MSC One token-based licensing system.
Specific simulation import, a couple of additional reader translators, and client viewer measurements, all feature in a number of enhancements in the latest release of WORKXPLORE – the powerful high-speed CAD viewer and analyser from Hexagon’s Production Software portfolio.
The software was originally created to efficiently import and analyse all file types and sizes at high speed. It often takes less than half the time to open a file compared to the original CAD application.
Amongst the new and enhanced two-way workflow functionality in WORKXPLORE 2020.1 is the ability to import and export the IGP file format for the Hexagon I++ Simulator, which is a server-based software for multi-kinematic simulation of process-oriented inspections to automate production metrology.
WORKXPLORE can export either opened or closed solids, and mesh models as meshes. And it can also import meshes.
Additional reader translators include Solid Edge 2D Importer, and the IGES Reader Translator. The ability to read drawings has been added to the Solid Edge interface. Currently, 2D supported versions are ST1 to 2019. And the IGES translator allows users to choose between the in-house integrated import library, and the Datakit Advanced Import, giving a choice for the setting best suited to specific needs.
A Print Option enhancement gives more interactive printing functionality in the single view layout, by manipulating entities over the printing. Product Owner Luca Clerici says: “The printing zone in WORKXPLORE 2020.1 can be defined through an interactive rectangle, with the ability to move the camera in the 3D screen.
“When the command is launched, a mask corresponding to the paper ratio – for example, A4 landscape – appears onscreen. It’s then possible to move the model to precisely define the printing area. Also, another interactive rectangle provides an optional crop facility.”
A toolbar with the print options is now available on the right side of the screen, making it easier to select the target printer and define its properties, select the paper size and add headers and footers.
And he says another important new function enables measurements done in WORKXPLORE can now be export to the Client Viewer.
This release also continues the software’s tradition of constantly updating supported formats. Translators in WORKXPLORE 2020.1 support a number of main formats, including: ACIS, several CATIA products, Creo, DXF/DWG, IGES, EDGECAM, I++ Simulator, INVENTOR, Parasolid, STEP, Solid Edge and SolidWorks.
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.”
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.
Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division has added a range of measuring machine fixturing systems to its online shop for customers in EMEA. A variety of Swift-Fix part-holding elements that help quality professionals save time, reduce potential measurement errors and increase repeatability are now available for immediate purchase.
Swift-Fix’s flexibility reduces setup time by enabling users to put several parts on one base plate and run separate measurement routines in succession. Alphanumerical labelling on the base plates makes it easy to record a fixture and quickly set it up again as required. Adaptable to changing application needs, Swift-Fix offers a variety of clamping methods and standoffs to minimise contact between the fixture and the part and maximise accessibility from all sides.
Swift-Fix elements available on the online shop include base plates, standoffs, spring clamps, universal joints, vices and more. The modular Swift-Fix range simplifies part setup and can be used with portable measuring arms or coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) for tactile or optical measurement. The fixturing components are available either individually or as a part of bronze, silver, or gold kits, each designed for different levels of application complexity.
Customers will be able to easily identify and order the right fixturing systems for their applications with the shop’s sophisticated search filter function. Customers can make simple bulk purchases via CSV file uploads, and track and trace orders through the UPS portal. Goods dispatch is fast with average delivery within 48 hours across Europe. The shop accepts payment by all major credit cards or on account with payment via invoice.
“The Swift-Fix range of part-holding systems is a great source of convenience for manufacturers, minimising set up times during inspection. It’s only fitting then that this range of components should now be readily available on the online store, so that our customers can save even more time with quick and convenient order and delivery of these invaluable measuring accessories,” said Micha Neininger, Head of Accessories Business Unit at Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division.
The Swift-Fix range of metrology part-holding and fixturing systems is now available on Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division’s online shop, which is ready for business in Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division has launched the AICON SmartScan R12, a new 12-megapixel version of the company’s well-established white light scanning system. Building on a reputation for versatile measurement, this latest iteration of the SmartScan brings a higher level of resolution and accuracy to a system that is already prized for its versatility and easy portability.
The quickly and easily changed fields of view (FOVs) of the SmartScan make it a fringe projection system suited for every occasion, making it ideal for third-party metrology contractors whose equipment must meet the challenges of a wide range of varying applications and industries.
“This new release defines a new high-point for the SmartScan platform, bringing it to the top of its class of high-accuracy 3D optical scanners,” said Dr. Dirk Rieke-Zapp, Commercial Product Manager for AICON Scanner systems at Hexagon. “With its range of easily adjustable FOVs, the SmartScan is a completely flexible measurement system capable of handling even dark and glossy surfaces. We’re confident this new 12-megapixel version will serve as the perfect entry-point for the high-speed, high-resolution and high-accuracy measurement of small-to-medium sized parts.”
As with other scanners in Hexagon’s AICON range, the SmartScan R12 will be completely compatible with turntable and turn-tilt units that allow for high-productivity semi-automated measurement processes. It is also combinable with AICON DPA Series photogrammetry solutions, allowing for extremely fast and accurate measurement of larger-volume components.
The AICON SmartScan R12 is available to order immediately from local Hexagon representatives around the world.