CAD model to punch/laser machine, Lantek provides the crucial link

Since 2004, Lantek’s sheet metal CAD/CAM software has been an essential part of Seeco UK’s business.

June 12, 2013 - The company, based in Bedford, specialises in producing precision components and fabrications for a wide range of industries including telecoms, lighting, medical, MOD, power supply and printing. Its equipment includes an Amada EML punch laser combination machine with automated sheet loader, an LVD CNC press brake with in process laser angle checking, a PEM inserter with automated bowl feed and, most recently, an XYZ PRO-TRACK milling machine, which allows it to cut parts it had previously been subcontracting.

Chassis parts made by Seeco

Garry Law, Technical Director, says, “We installed SolidWorks in 2003 as many of our customers were sending us 3D models. Lantek Expert was recommended to us because of its seamless link to SolidWorks and the way in which it works with the solid models. We looked at various other systems before opting for Lantek Expert and have had no regrets in the choice we made. We also use Lantek Flex3d SW, which is able to deal with complete multi-part assemblies from SolidWorks. Lantek Flex3d SW interrogates the assembly and identifies all of the parts which need to be flattened prior to processing.”

Programming is very fast with Lantek Expert, taking at the most 3-4 minutes to go from the 3D model to the nested CNC programme. Garry Law adds, “The software looks at our library of tools and if there is one available it automatically punches the hole, as this is quicker. Otherwise it generates a laser path. The only decision we have to make is if we want to add micro-joints for parts or scrap too big to go down the chute.”

Seeco uses a M1 ERP system which enables it to coordinate all aspects of its business from customer requirements through material allocation and production schedules to shipping. Lantek Expert uses this information to nest a mixture of parts in each sheet, even in large apertures, which would otherwise be scrap, to maximise material utilization and ensure delivery targets are met. Garry Law says, “We produce a wide range of parts from single items to 1000 plus production runs. The Amada EML runs 24 hours seven days a week processing any amount of different products in various materials and gauges. We are able to put up to two tons of material at a time on the loading table which is then processed without any manual input. This flexibility allows us to meet the ever increasing requirements of our customers.”

When the Lantek Expert software was originally installed, only one small change to the postprocessor was required to get the Amada EML up and running. Since then the company has only needed to use the software support occasionally for advice on difficult parts. Garry Law concludes, “We have no problems with using Lantek Expert and Lantek Flex3d SW software. We rely on it entirely and it forms a crucial part of the integration chain between the SolidWorks CAD and the Amada EML.”

About Lantek

Lantek is a leading global multinational in the development and commercialisation of software solutions for the sheet metal and structural steel industry. Its capacity for innovation and its firm commitment to internationalisation and the development of emerging markets has led Lantek, founded in 1986 in the Basque Country and with head offices in Vitoria (Alava), to become a global reference in the industry with its CAD/CAM/MES/ERP solutions. Today, the company has over 12,000 clients in more than 100 countries, offices in 14 countries, and a wide network of distributors providing worldwide coverage. In 2012 its international operations provided 85% of its turnover.

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