Software Solutions

Stronger stance

By Gretchen Salois

Above: More efficient nesting has led to a 4 percent drop in scrap rates at OMT-Veyhl.

Workers benefit from ergonomic furniture both in the office and on the shop floor

February 2016 - If you Google “sitting at a desk,” countless articles and studies pop up lauding the virtues of getting up and moving—or at least standing—more frequently throughout the day to combat the damage done by sitting inert at a desk. The ability to adjust the height of a desk is proving valuable to a growing demographic, according to a manufacturer of ergonomic adjustable desk systems. 

With only 10 years under its belt, OMT-Veyhl USA Corp. has seen demand jump for its steel adjustable height table legs and feet. In anticipation of future growth, the job shop ventured out to find software that would work for its operations as it stands and adapt to changes made while moving forward. “We needed the software to handle all the machines we had in our building, which includes press brakes and two bed lasers, but also have the option to add automation to those machines when we reach that point,” says Matt Ardell, supervisor of manufacturing engineer at OMT-Veyhl. 

The ability to freely communicate with every machine on the shop floor was what drove the company to Radan, a branch of Vero Software. “We can fully download our daily schedule and have the software manipulate it from there,” Ardell says. “The reality is that we’re trying to create a lights out shift where we can walk away from our machines and Radan will be able to take us there.”

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Radan makes nesting a faster process and allows shops to overlap cut paths.

Most of OMT-Veyhl’s business comes from custom orders with short lead times. About 30 to 40 percent of the job shop’s business has to be turned around in seven days or less, making easy-to-use software a priority. Over the last seven months, Ardell says Radan has given them “lots of surprises.”

Unlike the company’s previous software provider, Radan programmers readily handled any snags. “Radan was right there helping us figure it out,” he says. “We got a ton of options from them and weren’t expecting that.

“We now have software that is extremely robust and can do things we couldn’t do with other software,” he continues. The software allowed the shop to overlap cut paths to eliminate burr issues. “We can nest faster and program differently for long runs of product. Right now everything is a shorter run because we can program individual pieces much faster.”

Previously, OMT-Veyhl had dedicated two programmers working 12-hour shifts to handle two flat bed lasers. Today one programmer devotes six to seven hours a day covering four flat bed lasers.

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Radan’s global “road map” meetings help determine customer long- and short-term needs.

Finding flexibility

Helping piece together different operations is a specialty of software developer Radan, says Doug Wood, the company’s sales and services director. “Because we’re building a modular solution, customers can start with a particular technology, like punching, for example, and as the business grows, add functions for laser cutting or bending, and expand,” he says. “We can integrate with design systems and ERP solutions and build a tailored solution.”

As OMT-Veyhl’s lead programmer, Yoshi Hernandez finds Radan software to be intuitive, with any assistance needed for “more advanced” programming issues easy to access. Hernandez has spent time at the Forest Lake, Minnesota-based Radan to work on design and set up of more complicated parts. 

“Going to Minnesota helped a lot,” Hernandez says. “We have this one part where we had a burr in a hole in an overpass. After working through the software, we can now take care of that burr and eliminate steps from the cutting process.”

Material is used to the utmost as Hernandez can place more parts on a sheet using Radan rather than figuring the layout manually. “We’ve dropped our scrap rate by at least 4 percent—that’s a pretty big deal here because we go through a lot of steel,” Hernandez says.

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Radan’s software makes working with the CNC or laser cutter easier.

Machine tool technology advancements fuel Radan’s pace and its customer base pushes the software developer to make tasks and user interface easier while offering increased automation capabilities. “We also work to ensure systems can work with different file formats and different advancements with design software as well,” Wood says.

Radan conducts global “road map” meetings within the company, allowing stakeholders to determine long-term and short-term needs using feedback from its customer base. Under the umbrella of parent company Vero Software, Radan has common software translators and licensing available.

“Under Vero, we are able to take general software requirements and share them on a group level, allowing Radan developers to focus on industry specific technology,” Wood says, and focus on keeping up with machine tool advancements and growing demand.

“Radan has a number of key OEM relationships with machine tool builders to give us the insight to support advancements in technology,” Wood adds. 

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Example of one of the OMT-Veyhl’s height-adjustable work benches.

Foot traffic

Automation is next on the docket for OMT-Veyhl as production continues to climb. “Our business has grown 45 percent each year over the last 5 years,” Ardell says. Owned by Northwest Industries, OMT-Veyhl’s ability to run lights out is quickly becoming a needed capability. 

Ramped up demand for its equipment is due in large part to companies facing workman compensation issues as a result of sitting all day long, Ardell says. Beyond expanding waistlines, posture and strain concerns are causing companies to invest in adjustable furniture pieces whether in the office or on the shop floor.

“Being able to sit or stand throughout the day as often as you’d like is huge in the industry right now because of workman comp and we’re seeing it spread beyond the office onto the factory floor,” he says. “It’s reaching into the medical markets, manufacturing and restaurants.” 

Varying heights of people are also a consideration and one desk height does not meet all needs. “I’m about 5’8 but if my colleague is 6’4, we’re going to have dramatically different situations when sitting at the same desk,” Ardell says. “The ability to raise or lower legs affects posture and that taller employee no longer needs to hunch over the desk to get work done.” FFJ



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