25 September 2007

3D Unfolding Software Replaces Folding Prototype at Yorkshire Laser

3 dimensional models in SAT, STEP and IGES formats can now be "unfolded" by new software to test feasibility for folding and for quicker lead time.

Yorkshire Laser are awaiting delivery of their new Bystronic pressbrake PR8 100/2500 in September. The decision was made to purchase a second pressbrake due to the demand for folding being placed on the company from their customers.

For designers of components and assemblies, folded components have historically required a time-consuming prototype phase. This is to check if the component is feasible and then to order tools for manufacturing. Prototyping places uncertainty on lead time as more than one iteration of design may be required if an immediate solution is not found.

YLF's new investment in 3D unfolding software allows us to accept 3D models in SAT, STEP & IGES formats and "unfold" them virtually into to a flat sheet cut-out. This gives a rapid feasibility test and a finished program for production. The unfolding software integrates with Bysoft's laser programming for a complete cutting & folding workflow. The part can proceed immediately to laser cutting followed by folding in the new press brake.

Strides have been made in recent years in terms of software and programming for pressbrakes. Specifically the unfolding of 3D modelled parts on modern software allows the production office to generate a programme for the pressbrake; detailing how to fold the part and which tooling would be needed.

This offers our customers several advantages. First of all we can see whether the part is suitable for conventional folding, before we have cut, and attempted to fold any prototypes, saving valuable time and cost to the customer and ourselves.

Secondly we know straight away whether we need to order new tooling to fold the part, again reducing the lead time of the initial component.

Thirdly we can save the programme onto our network, allowing the operators to call the job up as required, they then have a full set of instructions detailing tooling and bend sequences required to make the part, helping to ensure parts are not manufactured incorrectly.

Three manufacturers were investigated for the supply of the machine, and although the margin for decision was narrow Bystronic clinched the deal with their excellent software package which works hand in hand with the Bysoft laser profiling software already being used by Yorkshire Laser.

The extra investment required to get up to 3D level is significant, but we feel as a company that this will benefit our customers in terms of quality and lead times. Therefore in the end the decision was a simple one.

Contact: Matt Orford

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