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After P Pritchard Sheet Metal was burgled in November 2002, a quick call to Radan ensured the company was back up and running with even more efficient CAD/CAM operations within three days.

P Pritchard Sheet Metal was established in 1992 to supply subcontract sheet metalwork and fabricating services to various industry sectors.

Its customers operate in the scientific, telecommunication and precision engineering sectors, as well as coach builders and general engineering companies.

Shortly after the company moved to its 5,000ft2 facilities in Faringdon, Oxfordshire, the factory was burgled, which left it without the ability to program the various jobs expected by its customer base.

Production director, Stephen Davies, said: ‘The old CAD/CAM software worked well enough but was obsolete, so we could not get a replacement version after it was stolen.

‘We faced the prospect of not being able to get orders processed and out of the door.

‘Luckily, we contacted Radan and from not having any CAD/CAM software we were up and running in just three days,’ he added.

The company has grown year on year in terms of technology and capability.

‘When we moved here in 2001 we had two CNC punch presses and three CNC press brakes,’ said Davies.

‘In the last two or three years we have made significant investments.

‘In 2008 we invested in a 2.7kW Trumpf laser; this was then followed by a Bystronic press brake, as well as the support infrastructure and IT systems.

‘Trumpf does offer a CAM package for its machines, but as we are familiar with Radan and its capability we wanted to stick with it,’ he added.

Sheet materials processed range from copper, brass, mild and stainless steel to Zintec.

All drawings are created using Radan and everything produced on the shopfloor is programmed by Radan.

‘The speed at which you can program a part using Radan is extremely quick, enabling quick turnaround from order to production,’ said Davies.

‘The profiles generated for the laser and folding programs for the new press brake are downloaded directly to the machines, but the punch machines and older press brakes use a DNC link from the server.

‘For the laser, parts are nested to efficiently get the quantity required from the least amount of raw material from standard sheet sizes or special sizes if that is what is available.

‘Radan’s Auto Tool applies different cutting parameters depending up on what the material conditions are.

‘The cycle time is applied at the verification stage, which lets us know how long the machine will be tied up for.

‘The operator gets a job pack that contains sheet size and material type as well as a nest diagram to provide a visual confirmation,’ he added.

P Pritchard Sheet Metal uses the Radan 3D software module to ensure customer assemblies will fit together correctly, and that all the relevant holes are aligned.

Steve Davies cites a power supply unit for computer systems developed by the company for a customer.

‘I used Radan to draw the parts from the customers sketch as no files were supplied, and we then used this drawing for production,’ he said.

‘Within the past six months we have noticed an increase in the number of customers supplying 3D files.

‘This is no problem with Radan, which is exceptionally good at importing files from other systems and developing them for programming and production.

‘We have one customer who supplied .sat Inventor files, while others supply Solidworks files as iges files, and some supply drawings in the popular Autocad dwg format, which we can import and manipulate.

‘With the power of 3D the requirement for prototyping has diminished and these parts are often production ready.

‘However, as the data comes in it is processed through the Radan system,’ he added.

With Radan, a 3D part is simply selected from an assembly, it is then ‘flattered’ to produce a 2D development of the part and the Auto Tool function applies the correct laser cutting parameters.

‘Along with the quality systems approval, Radan has allowed us to support customers in the scientific sector, such as Oxford Instruments.

‘With a need for high accuracy, these sectors are areas in which we can see further growth in our business,’ said Davies.

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