With Industry 4.0, Big Data and digital threads becoming more important to manufacturers, streamlining and tracking of processes on the shop floor is essential. JETCAM creates off-the-shelf or bespoke line automation solutions for both the sheet metal and composite manufacturing sectors, tightly integrated with the nesting and NC code generation processes.
Line automation begins at the CAD design stage. When the initial geometry is imported into JETCAM Expert nesting software, Stored Engineering Knowledge Technology (SEKT) is applied to the created component file. Technologies such as JETCut fly cutting, intelligent lead ins/lead outs, microjoints or overcuts are applied automatically, ensuring that the right cutting processes are applied based on the cutting and sorting technology in use.
Next, the nesting process applies other intelligence, such as path optimization to reduce cutting time or (for lasers) heat avoidance. JETCAM's new Ultra Performance Nesting generates highly optimized nests, saving both material and cutting time.
The line automation then comes in to play, with JETCAM controlling the full manufacturing process. The method of communication will differ depending on the hardware involved.
Integration with ERP or MES systems is also handled elegantly, with comprehensive error reporting to handle real-world situations. Customers can choose between utilizing their ERP/MES system and injecting instructions to our software, or using our dedicated shop floor interfaces which then report back live to ERP/MES or other data systems.
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Line automation software controls the complete process of a manufacturing cell. Each element or station of the cell performs a specific operation, with all stations being controlled by the line automation software. For example, a CNC laser cell may comprise of a stocker tower, material loading mechanism, the CNC laser itself, and an unloading/sorting system.
CrossTrack can use technologies such as Microsoft Web Services or custom built APIs for bi-directional communication with shop floor automation machinery such as kitting robots or freezer automation systems.
The biggest perceived issues around bespoke solutions relate to data connectivity and ongoing support. JETCAM's CrossTrack solution is designed in such a way that all customers use the same off-the-shelf solution. Any bespoke development is limited, often to simple APIs that handle data exchange and translation between CrossTrack and external systems. This ensures that when either CrossTrack or any externally linked system is upgraded the data connection between them remains unchanged and stable.
CrossTrack for sheet metal can communicate with PLCs to control the loading of sheets from a stocker to the CNC, starting the cutting process, and then unloading the cut parts via unloading and sorting systems.