Radan The Catalyst For In-House Sheetmetal Work

January 17, 2014

Radan, the world’s most powerful sheetmetal CAD/CAM software, played a major role in developing new products featured in an ergonomics and power industry manufacturer’s 30th anniversary catalogue this year.

CMD Ltd recently moved sheetmetal production from Preston to the Rotherham head office, transferring their Trumpf TC 2000 punch press there, and installing Radan to program it, at the same time.

With a wide range of products including computer support items such as flat screen arms, CPU trolleys and enclosures; power and energy related busbars, power modules and lighting control sensors; along with power distribution equipment, Design Engineer Sam White says most have at least one component now produced in Radan.

“They’re designed in SolidWorks, then transferred into Radpunch through Radan’s Design To Manufacture link. We don’t even need to flatten the model because the DTM automatically does that, giving us the exact sheetmetal view that we need for punching. Radpunch then allocates all the tools, and we mainly use a single part nest which is ideal for our batch quantities.”   When it comes to prototyping they switch to the Radnest true shape nester, enabling them to put a number of different parts on one sheet quickly and easily. “Once it goes into production all the programs are done with one part on the sheet, and we generate pricing and timings, all of which go into making up the final cost of our product.”

Programming the Trumpf with Radan was the catalyst for CMD bringing the majority of their sheetmetal work in-house. “It means we can produce items quicker, and much cheaper as well.

“Once Radan was installed on the Trumpf I put all the tooling and sheet material in and set up the auto tooling. After getting all our tools into the system it’s very simple to update it with others...and the programming operation is quite automatic.” Radpunch seamlessly integrates the whole programming process of geometry creation, tooling, nesting, sequencing, code generation, and DNC connectivity to the machine controller.   As an example, he cites a CPU trolley which has been revamped for the 2014 catalogue. Manufactured from 1.2 mm galvanised mild steel, the trolley comprises two adjustable halves ranging from 100 to 190 mm for carrying CPUs up to 10kg. “It’s our design, but we’d outsourced the manufacture for several years. We’ve now made several improvements to the trolley, so it’s really classed as a new product, and we produce it entirely in-house.”

Sam White says before installing Radan, all their products were designed in 2D, then drawn again in the proprietary software before the punches were allocated. “Developing products in 3D as we do now, is also important from our customers’ point of view, as we can quickly provide a good 3D image or rendering to show them what it’ll look like before we make a prototype.”

With three engineers trained on Radan, he says there is always at least one working on it at any time. “It’s an integral part of our manufacturing process, and is valuable for modifying existing parts, creating new ones and producing our standard equipment such as busbars and floor boxes.” Manufactured mainly in 0.9 mm galvanised steel, the boxes, which are sunk into the floor, contain a number of plug sockets and data links that can be configured by the customer.

“Using Radan also makes it easy to produce bespoke products when customers want different dimensions from our standard. The DTM transfer really speeds up the process of importing the file into Radpunch from SolidWorks, and once the auto tooling and routing of the tools have been set up the process is very quick. Radan makes the punch press much more versatile than it was with the proprietary software.”

CMD have gone from strength to strength following a management buy-out in 2008, and celebrate their 30th anniversary in April 2014. Their 2014 catalogue contains 20 new products, including the CPU trolley.

Shortlisted in the 2012 ‘Made In Sheffield’ and ‘Sheffield Business Awards, they were also ‘Highly Recommended’ in the most innovative power product category of the Electrical Times Awards.  The majority of their 160 employees work on production and assembly, which includes soldering and wiring.

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