For Immediate Release
4th March 2008
Howe Green Ltd, based in Ware, Hertfordshire, manufactures aluminium and stainless steel floor, wall and ceiling access hatches. Originally all materials were bought in cut to size, however in 1998 they purchased a Trumpf 500 Punch Press.
Said Alastair Centa, Director; “Our main requirement was that parts could be parametrically generated. Almost all of our products are a standard design which needs to be manufactured to a customer’s specific dimensions. We needed to improve our product range and leadtimes. We offer a last minute service, and getting 3rd party vendors to deliver quickly was proving difficult. There was no way for us to move away from buying in cut to size parts without selecting a CAM system which could dynamically generate parts based on a given criteria.”
After the machine tool vendor confirmed that the software offered by them could not parametrically generate parts, they recommended that Howe Green evaluate JETCAM. Said Alastair; “We looked at JETCAM but also compared with another system, but it could not match the ease at which programs could be written parametrically with JETCAM.”
The decision was made to purchase JETCAM Expert with rectangular automatic nesting and automatic parametric programming. Alastair was trained on how to write the parametric programs and general use of the system in three days, and then provided downstream training for two staff on general use of the system in half a day.
“We develop products in CAD systems such as AutoCAD, SolidWorks and SolidEdge. If a product is added to the range then we will write a parametric program for it. Most of our parts use parametrics now. It used to take us days to design a set of parts, which we’d then have to redesign each time we had a different size set. This is where parametrics comes into its own. A product might have six components, all of which can be generated from a single parametric file. We simply write a parametric program in a few hours and all parts can be generated in seconds. We then put basic information from our quoting system into JETCAM and generate a complete series of components in seconds. Also, we can re-use part or all of existing parametric programs to generate new ones for new products.”
In 2007 Howe Green replaced the 500 with a Trumpf 6000L Punch/Laser combination machine. Rather than having to modify thousands of geometry files Alastair simply modified the parametric programs, applying profiling information where applicable.
Howe Green also take advantage of a maintenance contract, and have received several benefits through software updates; “The UK JETCAM distributor Press and Shear has been very good - coming on-site to install new releases and show us new features. We have received a number of features that have been beneficial - bump nesting in particular. Most of our nests have some space left over, and bump nesting allows us to drag and drop parts into these areas, taking into account tooling and part spacing information. Telephone support has also been excellent - they’ll spend as much time on the phone as needed if we need assistance.”
Alastair concluded; “In purchasing JETCAM we went to a state of the art system that changed the way we designed products completely. If we did not have parametrics it would just be too labour intensive and impossible to remain competitive. The time spent initially programming parts parametrically is time well spent because you recoup that time within days of running a job, even on small runs. Howe Green has a continuing policy of re-evaluating products/processes and reinvesting in new plant/software to remain competitive, and to further develop its product range. In our opinion JETCAM still remains at the top of its market.”
Machine:Trumpf 6000L punch/laser