March 9, 2015 -- The combination of Radan’s Project Nesting and Radimport ensures the UK’s leading cooker and oven manufacturer can efficiently machine 190,000 parts a week on their CNC punch presses and lasers.
Radan gives Glen Dimplex Home Appliances full manufacturing flexibility to produce a weekly combination of 9,000 hobs, free-standing cookers, range cookers and built-in ovens, turning over £120m last year.
Parts Manufacturing Manager Dave Pearce says one of the numerous benefits of using Project Nesting is they only need one sheet size for all jobs, which has improved machine running times from 70 per cent to around 95 percent.
“When we analysed downtime before starting to use Project Nesting, we found the biggest cause was waiting for the right-sized steel sheets. Project Nesting has wiped that delay out. It also means we’ve negotiated an improved rate for our steel as we only purchase large quantities of one size, and we’ve reduced the amount of locations for sheet metal on site from 24 to two.”
Improved yields from each sheet has considerably reduced scrap. “Before starting to run Project Nesting we were getting around 60 per cent material utilisation on some jobs. But now it’s at least 88 per cent.” And Manufacturing Engineer Lee Harding says the figure is even higher on their Trumpf Trumatic L2510 laser. “Discounting the holes, which we can’t do anything about, we’re getting more than 90 per cent sheet utilisation.”
The company recently invested in an Amada EM 2510 NT punch press, using full Project Nesting from day one.
The program is run on all but the oldest and slowest of their 15 CNC lasers and punches, and they will use it on all new machines in future. While it has become a vital and integral part of their manufacturing system, he says they would not be able to use it to its full capacity without Radimport.
“If we only had a couple of machines with 15 to 20 jobs a programmer could easily input the data manually. But we use four CNC lasers and 11 punch presses to cut around 190,000 sheet metal components a week, with a variety of 500 different components. When we were just using Project Nesting on the Trumpf I was able to key the daily build in, but that task grew considerably when we started running it on the other machines as well.”
Preparing parts for nesting is one of the most time consuming tasks for sheet metal companies – but Radimport automatically converts geometry files to tooled Radan parts.
“With just one mouse click my selection of geometry files are converted to a nest project. Radimport simply creates a Project Nest from the parts I’ve imported, and I’ve got the option of editing the quantities and other properties of the parts before creating the nest. Or Radimport can automatically launch the nester to start nesting straight away.”
He says before switching to Radimport it took a full day to manually input the data, but now it takes around an hour to complete the program. “We simply copy and paste our Excel database. As everything is now automatic it also eradicates human error.”
Lee Harding says the process begins when he receives STEP files from their 3D CAD system. “I import them into Radan within seconds, input the gauge of the material and flatten the components out, then tool and nest them.”
Radan’s ability to program both cutting technologies of punch and laser from a number of different machine manufacturers, is of paramount importance in giving the company the shop floor flexibility they require, as they frequently need to move jobs originally set up for the laser, on to a punch press to manage production priorities. “With Radan, it takes about ten minutes to have the new program ready to go.”
Producing cooking appliances under the Belling, Stoves and New World brands, Glen Dimplex is committed to its Merseyside factory, and keeping jobs in the area through investment in machinery and people. Of the 1,200 employees on site, around 600 are involved in the production process for the cookers, including 265 in direct manufacturing.
A number of white goods manufacturers in the region closed during the recession, sending their machining needs abroad. “We’re one of the very few remaining cooker production plants left in the North West, which we think is a massive achievement,” says Dave Pearce.
In fact, since emerging from the recession the company has gone from strength to strength, having been presented with the Queens Award For Export, and partnering a local college for an intake of apprentices.
The owners and directors recognise the importance of keeping up with the very latest technology and software updates, and have secured a £3m grant from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund on the back of a £17m investment programme in new machinery. And as part of their development plans for 2015 they are looking at bringing in Radan’s complete offline bending program, Radbend, to automate their 14 press brakes. Radbend uses full machine simulation and automatic bend sequencing, tool selection and finger stop placement, showing that parts can be successfully produced, before any metal is bent.
International Area Sales Manager Sara Smethurst says that as well as the three brands of domestic cooker, the factory also produces professional catering equipment such as Burco. “Our main USP is that our cookers are produced entirely in Britain. For a lot of customers that is extremely important.”
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.