Tetra Pak CPS, in Sherborne, Dorset has been using Lantek Expert CAD/CAM software for it sheet metal programming for about 10 years. The company is one of three Tetra Pak processing and packaging companies operating in the UK and provides smaller, site specific processing solutions to the dairy, beverage and prepared food industries together with the manufacture of stainless steel vessels and equipment for the Tetra Pak Group and others.
Peter Amos, Preparation Team Leader, at Tetra Pak CPS uses the Lantek software to programme 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 in the company’s drawing office using Autodesk Inventor. Once complete, 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, which are a common feature of the vats, locally if we need to.”
Nesting tends to be a manual operation as the size of parts limits the options as, frequently; there is only one way of fitting them on a sheet. 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 at Tetra Pak CPS, so the smooth running of the CAD/CAM system and the Alphatome 20 are crucial to the productivity of the factory. Peter Amos says, “Lantek Expert is easy to navigate and the backup and help desk 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 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-Gasteiz (Spain), to become a global reference in the industry with its CAD/CAM/MES/ERP solutions. Today, 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. In 2013 its international operations provided 85% of its turnover.
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