For Immediate Release
28th August 2007
Franke Foodservice Systems, based in Lavergne, Tennessee, USA designs and manufactures stainless steel equipment for restaurants and for customers such as McDonalds in the food service industry. With a staff of over 1000 across facilities in the US, Switzerland, China, Philippines and Poland, Franke relied on both JETCAM (supplied with their Finn-Power punch press) and another CAM system to drive a series of Trumpf lasers and an Amada Punch Press.
With a stainless steel material spend in the US plant in excess of $3.5m and a desire to automate their production processes further they decided to investigate what options were available. Said Todd Branch, CNC Programmer; “We were already having problems with the other CAM system, which they had to customize heavily to meet their needs. Even the CAM vendor’s technical support were lost when they needed to give us support. The system was also complex to use, with parts taking about 20 minutes each to tool. Nesting efficiency was also quite poor.”
The decision was made to standardize on JETCAM Expert and to purchase the Free Form High Performance nesting module across four licenses. Postprocessors for the Trumpf lasers were also purchased, along with. JETCAM’s Remote Control Processor (RCP) module so that JETCAM’s materials and orders lists could be integrated with Franke’s in-house MRP system.
No additional on-site training was needed. Said Todd; “I’d been trained on JETCAM Expert back in 1995 and provided all training for staff, however the few times that we have needed advice or assistance the local distributor, NestONE has been excellent, even emailing tutorial videos on how to perform advanced functions specific to our needs. The system is very easy to learn, and in fact our overall support requirement has decreased by around 2/3rds.”
Franke wrote an interface between their MRP and JETCAM whereby orders and material information were transferred over and then automatically processed using RCP. Todd; “The interface only took our technical staff less than a week to write. Now, once an order is loaded onto MRP parts are automatically nested and NC code is then almost immediately available for the operator.”
After Franke switched off the other CAM system and relied only on JETCAM a number of benefits were immediately noticeable. Programming time was virtually eradicated for the lasers and massively reduced for the punches. Commented Todd; “For lasered parts we simply import the CAD file and hit the auto-profiling button. Cutting technologies such as lead-ins/outs, common line cutting settings, hole destruction and microjoints etc. were applied for each component. The part was then immediately available for nesting. Before, each part would take 5 minutes to manually apply a profiling path. I choose to apply tooling manually for the punch presses, but this only takes 5 minutes compared with 20 in the old system. With between 20 to 50 new parts being programmed per week this quickly adds up to several hour savings per week.”
Nesting efficiency also improved dramatically. Franke uses standard 4’ x 10’ (3048 x 1219mm) sheets of stainless steel. Todd added; “With JETCAM’s high performance nesting module the efficiency percentage is always in the 90’s. A conservative estimate would equate to around 5% and an annual material saving of around $175,000.”
Machine cycle time also dramatically improved by as much as 15% - almost a day per week. Todd attributes this to several reasons; “The nester allows you to set a time period for it to run - the longer the better. We’ve found that we only need to let it run for about 20 seconds to provide highly optimized nests, but if we want to allow more time for the nester to run to try out alternatives, we can. Also, the common-line cutting within JETCAM is extremely efficient. This in turn provides a much quicker cutting path for the machine. The automatic part placement is also much better than the other system.”
Franke are also taking advantage of JETCAM’s SCAP (Single Component Automatic Processing) facility, available on all versions of Expert. This provides a fast method of batch importing many components and automatically applying tooling or profiling information. JETCAM simply processes any CAD files placed in a given location on the network, with nestable geometry files available within seconds.
Franke took out a maintenance contract on all of their JETCAM licenses and have already benefited from updates to the software received under maintenance. “We download the latest version from the JETCAM website. One recent update had some additional features added to common line cutting which allowed even more parts to be cut this way, which shaved a further 2% off of material waste and machining time. This was made even better by the fact that our maintenance was over 10% cheaper than the previous system.”
Todd concluded; “We recently added in a new Trumpf laser machine in Poland and China, and JETCAM was able to immediately program parts for them just by adding a postprocessor - all parts could then be tooled and were immediately available for nesting. When you add up the programming time, machining time and material savings we recouped our initial outlay on JETCAM in around three months.”