Helmond, Netherlands-based VDL Industrial Modules has been trialling the new TruTops Boost software from TRUMPF for the past 12 months, with impressive results. The software has helped the company cut its programming times by 75% across all of its major sheet metal manufacturing processes: laser cutting, punching and bending.
VDL Industrial Modules is a developer and manufacturer of component groups and complete systems for OEMs. The company supplies industries that include semiconductor, healthcare, food, solar and defence, and produces parts in small to medium batch sizes.
“I was looking for a software concept that embraces all of the processing technologies we use,” says Mattie Theunissen, project manager for prototypes at VDL. “Put simply, with TruTops Boost I was hoping to experience significant time savings and greater reliability during the programming process. After extensive practical tests, I can say that I am very satisfied with the new software – it offers the support we’ve been waiting for.”
TruTops Boost is a new software solution from TRUMPF that merges into a single system all the steps needed to generate sheet metal manufacturing programs at the touch of a button. The enhanced automation offered by TruTops Boost means that creating NC programs for laser profiling, punching and bending has never been easier or quicker, since the calculations are carried out automatically. The software also includes full 3D CAD design functionality.
One example of the programming time savings by VDL when using TruTops Boost relates to accepting and handling assemblies. When a 3D CAD file is read into TruTops Boost, the software subdivides the assembly into individual sheet metal parts and sets them up for sheet metal processing. The automatic unfolding of the parts then follows, as does the preparation of the bending program.
“It is important that the program immediately recognises changes that we have made in the design,” says Mr Theunissen. “We often make modifications, and this can cause problems, which in turn take up time. However, TruTops Boost examines the steps prior to and after laser cutting or punching, for instance, and thus makes for reliable processing.”
Among the major changes in laser cutting witnessed by VDL as a result of using TruTops Boost, is nesting. Here, the company makes use of the order list integrated into the new software.
“The machine operator is best able to handle nesting since he has the best overview,” explains Mr Theunissen. “First, we enter all the parts needed into the order list before, drawing on the ‘nesting pool’, the nesting order is created at the click of a mouse. In this way, and thanks to the new Boost nesting module, we achieve far better utilisation of each sheet than in the past.”
Mr Theunissen says that, in general, everything runs quicker since the company started using TruTops Boost, and there are a lot of routine jobs that VDL no longer needs to do.
“Take the transfer of 3D files, for instance,” he says. “If the geometry of a part is flawed, then the software’s repair tools can help. Thanks to the parameters already stored in TruTops Boost, many faults are corrected automatically. In subsequent calculations for the bending program, TruTops Boost sets up the bending sequence with a single click; it also suggests which tools should be used and automatically performs a collision test. In the past we sometimes spent about an hour per part doing all this. With TruTops Boost we can process 30 components in the same amount of time.”
A further advantage of TruTops Boost is that getting familiar with the software is relatively simple for those who have already worked with similar programs. A lot of the entries are intuitive.
“We were first trained by TRUMPF’s experts but were soon able to work things out for ourselves,” says Mr Theunissen. “On the odd occasion we ran into difficulty, TRUMPFs’ software specialists helped us out using their Teleservice. At present, a total of five people are working with TruTops Boost – one at the machine, one in design and engineering, and three in job preparation. There is no doubt that we will continue working with TruTops Boost moving forwards.”
TruTops Boost is the new all-in-one solution for designing and programming. The software makes it possible to handle several process steps and to work in an integrated, across-the-board way. Everything from the 3D component through to the complete NC programs for laser cutting, punching and bending. The result: compatible software with interlinked intelligence.