Tetra Pak CPS, in Dorset has been using Lantek Expert CADCAM software for it sheet metal manufacturing for about a decade. The company is one of three UK Tetra Pak processing and packaging companies and provides smaller, site specific processing solutions to the dairy, beverage and prepared food industries as well as manufacturing of stainless steel vessels and equipment.
Peter Amos, Preparation Team Leader at Tetra Pak CPS uses Lantek software to program his Air Liquide Alphatome 20 high definition plasma cutter. “A large part of our work is the manufacture of vats for dairy and cheese processing companies in stainless steel. The majority of these are bespoke. The vats can be up to 10m long, 3m in diameter and 8mm thick with cone shaped ends.” The plasma machine has a capacity of 4m x 2m, so individual parts are generally large with holes and apertures for flanges and other fittings.
Designs for new vats are completed on-site using Autodesk Inventor. On approval, designs are passed to production, where Peter Amos refines the design data in Lantek Expert and carries out any additional unfolding of parts into their flat state using Lantek Flex3d. “There is a lot more data than we need on the dxf files, so we remove this. Generally parts are supplied in a flat state by the drawing office, but Lantek Flex3d allows us to unfold cones, a common feature of the vats, locally if we need to.”
Nesting tends to manually laid out as the size of parts limits the options. Peter Amos adds, “We try to optimise material utilisation by nesting smaller parts around the main large part if possible. Lantek Expert has some powerful and easy to use functions which make the manual nesting very flexible.” For larger areas of scrap material, Peter uses functions in Lantek Expert to cut up waste into manageable sections enabling it to be easily removed from the plasma cutter by the operator.
The Preparation team supplies plasma cut, rolled and formed parts to the other three fabrication teams, so the smooth running of the CADCAM system and the Alphatome 20 are crucial to productivity in the factory. Peter Amos says, “Lantek Expert is easy to navigate and the helpdesk is very good, with a response within 30 minutes. By using remote access software, Lantek engineers can solve a problem for us and, at the same time, show us how to avoid the problem again. It is a very good system and I would be happy to select it again.”
Lantek is a leading global multinational in the development and commercialisation of CAD/CAM/MES/ERP software solutions for the sheet metal and structural steel industry. The company has over 15,000 clients in more than 100 countries, offices in 15 countries, and a wide network of distributors providing worldwide coverage.