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A company that provides custom fabrication services has installed Jetcam systems to maximise efficiency and material usage.

GT Metal Products, based in Alberta, Canada, carries out its work using two Mazak STX510 MkII 2.5kW lasers.

The company had previously been running two CAM systems to drive the lasers, but experienced problems that made them consider alternative solutions.

Dustin Sim, production manager, said: ‘Previously we could only specify one cut condition per thickness, which gave us quality issues.

‘Also, we were looking to find a faster way to nest parts and reduce material waste.

‘Based on our previous CAM experience and the ability for it to allow for multiple cut conditions per thickness, we selected Jetcam.

‘We also opted for Jetcam’s High-Performance Nesting module to maximise efficiency and material usage,’ he added.

Two licenses of Jetcam Expert were installed in May 2009, one with the High Performance Nesting module.

This allowed for two programmers to design parts and for one machine to be used for generating highly optimised nests.

Staff were provided with initial training and were able to learn the system independently due to additional training material provided.

After installation programming time was halved, as processes took much less time than the previous systems due to many being automated.

Once profiling information is applied to each part it is immediately available for each machine, with any updates reflected automatically on any nests.

Nesting time itself saw a 90 per cent reduction, as users can queue up all parts to be nested for a given material and thickness, specify an amount of time that the nester can run for (which can be overnight to allow the system to consider the most optimised nesting options) and generate NC code.

Machine cycle time also saw a 20 per cent improvement due to optimised lead-ins, common line cutting, path optimisation and finishing cut sequences.

Material utilisation saw a 25 per cent improvement not only because of the optimised nests from High-Performance Nesting but also the ability to store and reuse remnant sheets efficiently.

‘One of the major benefits is that we can quickly queue up multiple jobs and nest them together for efficiency,’ said Sim.

Support requirements had previously taken up more of the staff’s time, with one of the previous systems taking considerably more than the other.

GT Metal plans to purchase a CNC plasma machine in the future, with Jetcam being used to drive it.

The company is also about to convert its two licences to a server-based floating setup, allowing several PCs to have the software installed and for two to run concurrently.

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