Cool cost cutting

Author Cutting Tool Engineering
April 01, 2019 - 03:00pm

Article by JetCAM International

Founded in 1974, I-Cherng Refrigeration Industrial Co. Ltd. manufactures heat exchangers for refrigeration products. In 1995, the Taiwanese company purchased JetCAM Expert nesting software from Monaco-based JetCAM International SARL for I-Cherng’s Finn-Power Shear Genius punch press.

“Our first impression was that the JetCAM interface was very user-friendly,” said I-Cherng Senior Engineer Ian Yo.

Since that purchase of JetCAM, I-Cherng has bought several more CNC punch and laser machines, including a Finn-Power SG6 and LP6. With each purchase, I-Cherng has added a post-processor to its JetCAM license, and four years ago the manufacturer obtained two additional seats of JetCAM Expert.

Less than a year ago, I-Cherng acquired an Amada FLC 4020AJ fiber laser, which was supplied with alternative programming software. Problems were encountered immediately with the software.

“We chose the Amada to improve our quality and productivity, having had previous positive experience with their machines,” Yo said. “However, the original software supplied with the machine did not consider the characteristics of fiber laser cutting and still appeared to use CO2 laser logic. There were many unnecessary codes in the NC programs. Also, it was not user-friendly. Staff had to spend time deleting unnecessary codes, and some programs could not cut the parts well. We could easily spend over four hours to modify the NC code in order to get it to run on the machine.”

The following month, I-Cherng contacted JetCAM to ask if a post-processor was available for the machine. The answer was yes, so the post was installed remotely and the JetCAM Expert nesting software was upgraded to version 20 across the company’s three licenses.

Further tweaks were made remotely to the post-processor to accommodate I-Cherng’s requirements and machine configurations, with test parts cut using NC from both JetCAM and the originally supplied software for comparison. Yo said the resulting NC that was generated automatically from JetCAM was much shorter.

The Amada FLC 4020AJ fiber laser machine at I-Cherng Refrigeration Industrial. Image courtesy of JetCAM International

I-Cherng immediately noticed significant benefits. Programming time was reduced by 80 percent as pre-defined technology tables automatically applied cutting conditions based on material, thickness and quality settings. Tooling and profiling logic could be applied routinely to parts for both punching and laser cutting, ensuring that parts were
available for nesting on either type of machine. Features such as single-component automatic processing and single-component automatic nesting allowed multiple components to be imported and tooled, and complete nests of each part could be created automatically in seconds.

Additional material savings have been achieved by employing common cutting to separate components with a single cut.

“With the previous software, we had to specify each common cut manually,” Yo said. “But with JetCAM, it’s fully automatic. We’ve seen material utilization improvements of between 5 and 30 percent.”

Version 20 of JetCAM Expert nesting software enabled I-Cherng Refrigeration Industrial to reduce programming time by 80 percent and machine runtime by 13.2 percent. Image courtesy of JetCAM International

Version 20 included two new features: Jet-Cut and Jet-Optimizer. Jet-Cut provides automatic fly cutting, or grid cutting, based on predetermined parameters. This feature locates grids of internal holes and then splits the cutting into separate, short line segments that lie on the same line or circle. The cutting head is kept down when moving, and the laser beam is switched on and off on the fly, which dramatically reduces the cutting time of grids. Rounded movement between cuts can be applied as the laser head moves to the next row, minimizing acceleration changes. Once configured, the entire process is automatic and applied with a couple of mouse clicks.

Jet-Optimizer optimizes the sequence of cutting internal holes to minimize machine movements while also avoiding travel over previously cut areas and reducing the risk of collision.

Compared with the same nests generated by the originally supplied software, machine runtime was reduced by 13.2 percent using Jet-Cut.

“Now, the full capabilities of the Amada fiber laser can be realized,” Yo said.

I-Cherng is considering future investments in more fiber lasers or punch-and-laser combination machines. The company already has decided that JetCAM will drive any selected technology.

“With the combination of the massive reduction in programming time, material savings and additional throughput on the machine,” Yo said, “we calculated our ROI on the upgrade of under four months.”    



Related Glossary Terms

  • computer numerical control ( CNC)

    computer numerical control ( CNC)

    Microprocessor-based controller dedicated to a machine tool that permits the creation or modification of parts. Programmed numerical control activates the machine’s servos and spindle drives and controls the various machining operations. See DNC, direct numerical control; NC, numerical control.

  • numerical control ( NC)

    numerical control ( NC)

    Any controlled equipment that allows an operator to program its movement by entering a series of coded numbers and symbols. See CNC, computer numerical control; DNC, direct numerical control.

  • profiling


    Machining vertical edges of workpieces having irregular contours; normally performed with an endmill in a vertical spindle on a milling machine or with a profiler, following a pattern. See mill, milling machine.