Wanders Metaalproducten B.V. (Netterden, Netherlands) has manufactured fireplaces, stoves and storage units for 40 years. After purchasing a computer numerical control (CNC) punch in 1986, which was programmed manually, they purchased a CNC laser two years later and decided to purchase a single computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) system to drive the two.
“We were manually programming the punch and did not want to use an alternative software to also program the laser, so we looked at a suitable solution and found Jetcam,” says Freddy Vriezen, production manager for Wanders. “This was back in 1988, when we were the only company in this region with a laser machine.”
Jetcam (Fontvielle, Monaco) was selected and installed, along with postprocessors for the machines in use at the time.
In the early 1990s a sister company to Wanders asked for advice on software to drive its own Wiedemann punch and Mazak laser machines. Vriezen decided to re-evaluate the market to see whether better solutions also were available to them. “We looked at two other systems,” says Vriezen. “Neither stored information on the part, so if you decided to change a part you then had to change every nest as well. Also, neither application was very user friendly. I felt like I would be moving back 10 years.”
Since 1986 the company has regularly upgraded machines, with new equipment installed in 1990, 1992, 2001 and 2002. Each time a new postprocessor was installed and configured, immediately generating 100% accurate numerical code (NC) code, regardless of the technology being used to cut the part, with all existing parts immediately being available to cut on the new machine.
In 2008 Wanders upgraded its computer hardware and took the opportunity to upgrade to the latest version of Jetcam Expert. Although Wanders had not upgraded for a number of years, and the new release contain a significant number of updates, the interface had not radically changed. “When I originally learned Jetcam it took me less than a day,” says Martin Venhorst, NC programmer at Wanders. “The new version only took a couple of hours to teach me how to use the new features.”
After the upgrade Wanders realized a number of major benefits. Machine cycle time was reduced by 15%, because of optimized lead-ins and keeping the laser head down as much as possible when traveling across the sheet. Programming time also was reduced by around 10% because of interface enhancements and new features.
Wanders’ product range of fireplaces and stoves generally consists of several parts from the same material. Nests can be created using both array and bump nesting, allowing parts to be easily placed on the sheet to get maximum efficiency, and taking tooling and part orientation into account.
During a 20-year period Jetcam Expert has proven itself to be consistently stable. “We have never had a problem with Jetcam, which is surprising when you compare it to the instability of other CAM or office products,” says Vriezen. “It also is useful to have local Dutch support and to receive the software in our local language.”
With plans to implement a manufacturing resources planning (MRP) system within two years, Wanders also aims to purchase another CNC laser and integrate Jetcam into the MRP to provide full automation. “We plan to run the shop floor 24 hours a day, so the integration that Jetcam can provide to our MRP will be a huge leap forward for our company,” says Vriezen.
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