For Immediate Release
18th March 2013
Luterbach AG, in Hildisrieden, Switzerland, manufacture painting and coating equipment. The company's 35 employees serve a portfolio of customers in industries ranging from aeronautics and aerospace to automotive and beyond.
In 2004 the company launched a study on the feasibility of replacing its programming system for the Trumpf 200R punching machine. Their previous software was still DOS-based and offered only limited network compatibility, meaning that files had to be generated and stored locally. There were significant errors made when programming, and the time it took to generate parts and nests was also a major problem, with nests often taking hours to create. Data integrity was a major concern, with bugs often rendering programs useless. The review also explored an investment in 3D CAD systems, which was purchased the same year. JETCAM Expert was eventually purchased in 2006. The decision was made to select JETCAM based on its strong price/performance ratio in comparison to other systems considered, with the basic Expert 1 system being purchased initially. It was also felt that JETCAM was much better suited to Luterbach’s smaller/one-off jobs rather than other systems that specialised in mass production. The Trumpf 200R has since been replaced by a Trumpf 600L punch/laser combination machine.
Operations Manager Herbert Wyss commented: “The investment in JETCAM in combination with a 3D CAD design system was a massive improvement, cutting programming time and error rates significantly. One of the key factors was JETCAM’s ability to work with a broad range of CNC punch, laser and combination machines from different manufacturers, as we wanted to leave our options open for the selection of a sheet metal processing machine to be purchased down the road.”
Nesting was initially set up manually, with Luterbach upgrading in 2012 to Expert Premium with free-form nesting, which immediately reduced waste materials significantly.
One benefit that came to light was JETCAM’s built in collision avoidance logic. The system can be set up to automatically avoid forms and clamps, either by lifting the head over the area or avoiding the area altogether. Once set no further interaction is required by the programmer as the logic is applied automatically. Wyss noted that since JETCAM had been installed collisions “simply never happened anymore.”
Luterbach identified that further savings could be made by streamlining processes between the 3D CAD system and JETCAM. In-house training was organised with JETCAM Composite GMBH in early 2013, which answered all of their questions and ensured a smooth process from CAD file to nest. Features such as SCAP (Single Component Automatic Processing) allow CAD files to be automatically imported and tooling applied so that they are immediately available for nesting.
Herbert Wyss was extremely satisfied with the outcome of the training, with staff competent in making many operations fully automatic; “The quality of service offered by JETCAM Composite GmbH has been outstanding.”
In 2013 the JETCAM software was expanded to include JETCAM Orders Controller (JOC) Premium order management module. This provided a remote interface to JETCAM’s order and nest databases and allowed Luterbach to create dynamic work lists of parts to be queued for nesting. A CSV API was developed to allow direct import of job lists from Excel. Luterbach also commissioned several other add-ons to simplify the handling of jobs. As a result a recent order containing over 1250 parts that previously would take 34 hours (4 working days) to process was completed in 8 hours - over 400% improvement.
Workshop Manager Marco Brun was impressed with the effect that the addition of JOC Premium had on their workflow, and finalised; “The acquisition of JOC Premium has reduced programming times alone by 40-60% due to its automation of CAD import and nesting and was undoubtedly the best financial decision our company has ever made. Our comments and suggestions were considered by the JETCAM development team, with many finding their way into the software in subsequently releases. Our cooperation with JETCAM Composite GmbH has been a very positive experience.”