Radan Brings Inventions To Life For Award-Winning IP Specialist

Feb 9, 2015 -- A company dedicated to helping people bring their Intellectual Property ideas to the market place says CAD/CAM software Radan’s Project facility speeds up their manufacturing process considerably, making them more efficient and cost effective.      

Northumberland-based Tharsus is described by its owner Brian Palmer as an Original Equipment and Design Manufacturer (OEDM), and has won numerous awards for its work in developing and manufacturing emerging technologies.

One of those awards was North East Exporter Of The Year for Safetykleen’s jetkleen parts washer. Head of Marketing Pam Robson says: “This is a perfect example of how we make a client’s products the best they can be; they become best-sellers, and we win a UK exporting award for it.”  

The company’s strength is that as well as bringing people’s ideas to life, they are also responsible for the full ongoing manufacture of a product throughout its lifetime. “Anyone with new IP can go to a designer, then to a contract manufacturer to have it made. But we’re unique, because we manage both aspects.”

Another product Tharsus recently brought to market is a device for Weedingtech that goes on the bed of a small truck and kills weeds in a herbicide-free way. “This means it can be used near schools and water courses, and pets can play on drives treated with the system.”

Two others include the Rapiscan scanning machine which uses new, Real Time Tomography new scanning technology for aircraft hold baggage...and an Ekko glass crusher. “This is a small glass crushing device which crushes empty bottles almost to powder, improving the density of waste in recycling containers, replacing the larger containers that pubs wheel out to be collected by glass recyclers.”

All sheet metal parts are created using Radan. Radpunch drives their two Pullmax punch presses, with Radprofile doing the same for two LVD Axel lasers, and Radbend one of their nine press brakes. 

Project Engineer James Heslop says Radan’s Project function is particularly valuable. “For example, one customer has 77 sheet metal parts which all vary in material and thickness, and this function of Radan means we have them all in one location, and can identify them and change quantities or nest quantities extremely quickly.

“Having all machine tools combined in one neat package is a great advantage, and can prevent costly errors with multiple flat patterns between systems. Combined machine change over time is reduced, and nests can be combined to give even greater sheet utilisation.”

They also use the high performance and versatile modelling package, Radan 3D, which provides another important benefit – bringing in models that need adjustment. “For example, if a hole is too close to an edge we might need to go up or down a V to miss it, and Radan 3D adjusts the bend allowance to suit the tooling quickly and accurately.”

Each component is designed in Autodesk Inventor at one of two 30,000+ square foot factories on the site, and sent to the neighbouring metalworking plant in DXF files. Working with Radan for the remaining stages is a simple step-by-step procedure. “We upload to Radan using the DXF importer, select the materials and save the job in the customer folder. It’s then programmed to either the punch presses or lasers, depending on the material grades and price, before we check the part and create either a nest or a project.

“If we’re using a project we’ll pull the part in, setting the orientation, depending if it has bend-critical components, and select the quantity. We then put it through an automatic run, or go through the order and compile, verify and create the run sheet. The CNC punch operators use our DNC link to transfer the programs into the machines. Laser operators also transfer their own programs, but from a separate file, not through DNC.”

He says once the part has been created and the ongoing production run begins, they create standard nests which are used for each repeat order. “It’s stored in the system and doesn’t have to be renewed unless there’s a revision change.

“Radan is vital to our day-to-day operations, and is used for programming new parts, creating manufacturing data, flat pattern forming data, nesting for quoting purposes, reducing waste, and making both set ups and runs as fast as possible.

“For us, time is everything – from the initial Autodesk Inventor design through to the machine bed, and Radan is key to getting the ball rolling, importing the DXF files and using the automatic functions to export machine data, reducing both lead times and programming cycles.”

Tharsus was founded over 50 years ago, and now has around 170 employees. While some have been with the company for 40 years, new talent is constantly being encouraged, as apprentices comprise ten per cent of the workforce.

Pam Robson says Tharsus is developing the capability of manufacturing fully autonomous robot devices. “We work with any type of industry, and add value by using Radan as it’s acknowledged as being the best sheetmetal CAD/CAM technology in the world. Combining that with the best electrical engineering, means we’re now also looking back over existing products to see how they can be made even better.”

Moving through 2015 they will continue to turn concepts into a commercially successful product while also adapting and improving existing products. That, no doubt, means a further clutch of awards to match their existing recent tally which includes Manufacturer Of The Year, Best Factory Award, North East Exporter Of The Year, a finalist in the prestigious IMechE Best SME category, and Brian Palmer’s personal accolade of Institute Of Directors Investor Director Of the Year.

Part of the Vero Software Group, Radan is a leading CAM solution providing productivity, reliability and flexibility. Vero has direct offices in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Japan, USA, Brazil, Netherlands, China, South Korea, Spain and India supplying products to more than 45 countries through its wholly owned subsidiaries and reseller network.

Vero is part of Hexagon (Nordic exchange: HEXA B), a leading global provider of design, measurement and visualisation technologies that enable customers to design, measure and position objects, and process and present data.

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