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Cross-training

By Gretchen Salois

Photo: CNC operator Michael Linker (left) and CNC programmer Damien Warren (right) review a set up sheet.

Transition between different machines easily with minimal changes to user interface

February 2021 - With demand on the rise, Marley Engineered Products in Bennettsville, South Carolina, found it needed to run four punch machines in continuous shifts to keep up.

“We were in the process of replacing some 30-year-old punching equipment, and it made sense to look into updated software to link all our machines together,” says Guy Mulee, manufacturing engineering and maintenance manager.

While replacing equipment, Mulee and CNC programmer Damien Warren, noted that Trumpf equipment used Metamation software, a product compatible with other equipment brands. “We realized we could program our Trumpf Trumatic combination machine, TruBend press brake, and also our LVD Strippit punch,” Warren says. “It didn’t make sense to use another third-party software when Metamation is Trumpf software and would give us the ability to program some of our other punching and forming equipment.”

Since installing the Metamation package on its three machines in September 2019, Warren says it has been easier to import drawings and make adjustments to DXF files. “If I need to edit a part or add a feature or change a dimension, I can go to MetaCAM directly without having to go back to design or Solidworks software,” says Warren.

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Flux Bend can generate tooling for complex parts and display a visual simulation of the whole part.

Marley Engineered Products uses MetaCAM for its Trumpf combination machine, Strippit Punch, and Flux Bend for its Trumpf press brake. They are currently in the process of implementing the software onto a Cincinnati press brake. The heating system manufacturer produces its metal components using a multistep stamping, forming and fabrication production process.

The 2D and 3D CAD module in MetaCAM is developed from the ground up. “The module is designed specifically for sheet metal fabrication,” says Anupam Chakraborty, manager of software products at Metamation. “The interface is very simple. Other software products use an outside engine for drawing/designing and were developed for multiple applications and not specifically for sheet metal.”

For laser and punch applications, users can transition from laser to punch modules seamlessly. “Software settings are not very different between modules,” Chakraborty says. “And transitioning between different machines is easy with minimal changes in the user interface.

“Software installs are very lean,” he continues. “The software does not consume a lot of computer resources and is faster than other software suites.”

Metamation’s Flux Bend module can calculate bend radius based on bending tools used, generating accurate flats, which can be used for cutting. “Auto tooling is very fast and reliable and gives output almost all the time,” Chakraborty says. “We are able to output results even if the part has partial tooling.”

The simulation of the tooled part is displayed as a graph for the operator to see each bending step. The Flux Bend module can handle multiple parts and assemblies quickly and simultaneously.

Metamation software can be integrated with new machines using post processors. “Presently, we have a rich library of post processors for the laser and punch modules,” Chakraborty says. “The Flux Bend module has post processors for almost all Trumpf machines and we support a few other brands reliably. We are in the process of expanding the library of post processors.”

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Powerful nesting algorithms generate fast and efficient results.

Remote access

After switching to Metamation, Marley Engineered Products was able to cut back from four punch presses to three. “We were running four punch machines,” Mulee says. “Now at our busiest we’ll run three punch or combination machines, and we have reduced our shift requirements by 15 to 20 percent.”

Using Metamation, programmers can create offline programs using VPN connections to keep data secure. “In the past you were locked into a server physically located in the building,” Mulee says.

While working during the pandemic has proven challenging, some takeaways include training employees on multiple processes. “We’ve learned we need to cross-train people from different departments to run the machines—that is crucial. This gives us extra agility to meet changes in our demand or team,” Mulee says.

The CNC punch department is no longer the source of the line’s bottleneck. “We can produce everything we need on a normal schedule,” Mulee says. “But, when we need to, we’re able to make adjustments for when schedules get tight and need to be flexible.”

Metamation’s Chakraborty says since the pandemic began, customers are looking for software that “will work right out of the box and support many critical features of the new age machines.”

Customers want the capability to support a wide variety of machines with planning, scheduling and manufacturing to cut back on any wasted resources. “The pandemic has increased the demand for MetaCAM Enterprise Solution (MES System), which integrates many aspects of fabrication and also the ability to operate remotely when necessary,” he adds.

Marley Engineered Products has instituted strict hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing policies. “Like many companies, MEP requires flexibility for our team that still allows us to meet the needs of our customers. So, tools like MetaCAM are a big help, and it has helped us further improve cross-training.”  FFJ

Sources

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Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

IRONWORKERS

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters

LASER TECHNOLOGY

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC. Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

Mazak Optonics Corp.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. MC Machinery Systems Inc. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC Murata Machinery, USA, Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SigmaTEK Systems LLC

BEVELING

TRUMPF Inc. Davi Inc. Striker Systems
Steelmax Tools LLC

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Trilogy Machinery Inc.

STAMPING/PRESSES

COIL PROCESSING

MTS Sensors

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

AIDA-America Corp.
Bradbury Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

Mate Precision Tooling

STEEL

Burghardt + Schmidt Group Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. Rolleri USA Alliance Steel
Butech Bliss UFP Industrial

PRESS BRAKES

TUBE & PIPE

Red Bud Industries

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

AMADA AMERICA, INC. BLM Group
Tishken Advanced Gauging Technologies Automec Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

MC Machinery Systems Inc.

WATERJET

Mayfran International Cincinnati Inc. SafanDarley Barton International

DEBURRING/FINISHING

LVD Strippit

PUNCHING

Flow International Corporation
ATI Industrial Automation Scotchman Industries Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Lissmac Corp. Trilogy Machinery Inc.

SAWING

WELDING

Osborn

METAL FORMING

Behringer Saws Inc. American Weldquip
SuperMax Tools FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Cosen Saws Strong Hand Tools
Timesavers MetalForming Inc. DoALL Sawing T. J. Snow Company

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

HE&M Saw

 

Beckwood Press Co. Titan Tool Supply Inc. Savage Saws

 

Triform

 

 

 


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