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Punching

Fresh persceptives

By John Loos

SigmaTek's forward-thinking approach in the punching market keeps it ahead of the nesting technology curve

February 2009 - Sometimes, being the fresh perspective in an established arena can give you the leg up when it comes to changing with the times--and changing the game.

SigmaTek Systems LLC, Cincinnati, a provider of the nesting solution SigmaNest for cutting, punching and routing applications, has been a consistent presence in the oxy-fuel, plasma, laser and waterjet cutting markets, but it wasn’t initially intended for punching. However, its purposefully belated entry into the punching market has allowed the company a fresh positioning and the ability to stay ahead of new trends and technologies.

"We were relative latecomers into the punching market, starting in the late 1990s," says Glenn Binder, vice president of sales for SigmaTek. "This allowed us to leapfrog the legacy systems. There’s an advantage and a disadvantage [to being new]. The disadvantage is that you’ve come in at a later stage, the advantage is you’re starting new on new technology. SigmaNest has always been a Windows-based system, for example. And I believe we were the first to be running extremely well on the Windows Vista platform."

By starting in a Windows environment, SigmaNest has been more easily upgraded and overhauled as new versions of Windows and new punching technologies hit the market. Version 8, the most current version presently available, looks to further the two major areas of concern for punching applications: turret management and sheet management. Version 8 focuses on automating the repositioning and adjustment of parts for nesting and the sorting of tools for individual jobs, and it includes a repositioning control for part management and backlash control.

‘Stellar’ advantages
When it comes to purchasing a nesting system for a punching application, Binder feels there are four main factors every company should consider: material savings, machine motion, nesting productivity and connectivity to companywide systems. All contribute to reduced production times and costs. One way SigmaNest reduces time and cost is through simultaneous tooling and nesting.

"SigmaNest differentiates itself through what we call auto-dynamic nesting," says Binder. "SigmaNest will not only tool the parts for production but nest them simultaneously. And the beauty of this system is it allows punch operators to mix parts on a nest. Traditionally, folks have been using single-part nesting. They have a single part, they generate a subprogram and they bash it out 10 or 12 times, however many times they need it, resulting in a lot of wasted material and wasted time."

One of SigmaNest’s users is Stellar Industries Inc., Garner, Iowa, a manufacturer of hydraulic hooklift and cable hoist devices, service cranes and trucks, and truck-mounted drawer systems, which currently employs Version 7.1. Looking to enhance efficiencies and reduce time spent nesting, Stellar implemented SigmaNest into its laser, plasma and front-turret applications.

"Stellar began looking at alternative nesting software for several reasons," says Tom Frederick, ME manager for Stellar. "We hoped to improve sheet utilization and wanted software that could help control our material remnants and could produce a report for each nest. We were also starting to investigate laser cutting and wanted more robust software for that operation.

"We can sort tools on all nested sheets at once," he continues. "Our previous software couldn’t do this, and we had to perform a tool sort on each sheet nested. And the reports that the software produces help the machine operator identify the parts he’s punching. Also, we can track parts more efficiently with SigmaNest."

Frederick adds that nesting time has been significantly reduced. Stellar’s programmers say a set of parts that may have needed four hours to nest can now be nested in an hour to an hour and a half. "The ability to inventory and consume our remnant materials using SigmaNest has been beneficial for us," Frederick notes.

Stellar also takes advantage of SigmaTek’s subscription program, which allows for free upgrades and full access to new versions without paying anything except a user’s monthly fees.

"Our customers benefit greatly from their subscription contracts," says Binder. "They’re getting hundreds of man-hours on their product at a reasonable rate through the subscription."

Version 9
Due for release in early summer, Binder says Version 9 of SigmaNest will offer even more compatibility with Microsoft Vista, as well as lean manufacturing principles. For punching applications, it’ll continue SigmaNest’s focus on sheet management and turret management, specifically in terms of nesting under clamps, traditionally impossible-to-reach areas.

"For folks that are living with high material efficiency needs, one can save up to 15 percent on material if one nests underneath or beneath clamps," says Binder. "So it’s the clamp management of the sheet that’s key." Clamp management is repositioning the sheet to use it to the point that, in a perfect world, there’s no sheet left.

For turret management in punching applications, Binder hints that Version 9 will take into greater consideration such factors as indexing, placement and number of hits for each tool. "There’ll be some nice features like that in terms of load management," says Binder. "You’re going to overload the tools, selecting the right dies for the right thicknesses of material. All of that is done automatically to make this happen."

Companies can spend anywhere between several hundred thousands of dollars and millions of dollars on their machines, and they need a return on their investment. "Version 9 is going to improve that return on investment by smooth operation of the machine and optimized motion of those machines," says Binder.

If anything, Version 9 will be another example of SigmaTek’s dedication to staying at the forefront of its industry by finding new ways to increase productivity, reduce waste and enhance usability for programmers. When asked if he foresees difficulty in getting current users to upgrade to Version 9, Binder says he isn’t worried.

"When they see the benefits in terms of the nesting, in terms of the machine motion and in terms of the ease of use, I think the choice will be easy." 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

SecturaSOFT

BEVELING

TRUMPF Inc. Davi Inc. SigmaTEK Systems LLC
Steelmax Tools LLC

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Trilogy Machinery Inc. Striker Systems

COIL PROCESSING

MTS Sensors

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

Bradbury Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Burghardt + Schmidt Group Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. Rolleri USA

STEEL

Butech Bliss UFP Industrial

PRESS BRAKES

Alliance Steel
Red Bud Industries

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

AMADA AMERICA, INC.

TUBE & PIPE

Tishken Advanced Gauging Technologies Automec Inc. BLM Group

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

MC Machinery Systems Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys
Mayfran International Cincinnati Inc. SafanDarley

WATERJET

DEBURRING/FINISHING

LVD Strippit

PUNCHING

Barton International
ATI Industrial Automation Scotchman Industries Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Flow International Corporation
Lissmac Corp. Trilogy Machinery Inc.

SAWING

Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Osborn

METAL FORMING

Behringer Saws Inc. Omax Corp.
SuperMax Tools FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Cosen Saws

WELDING

Timesavers MetalForming Inc. DoALL Sawing American Weldquip

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
Beckwood Press Co. Titan Tool Supply Inc. Savage Saws T. J. Snow Company
Triform

 

 

 


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