29 May 2012
Swift-Cor doubles output with Radan
Kevin Travis — CAD/CAM engineer with Swift-Cor Aerospace in Gardena, California — says that Radan sheet-metal software (www.radan.com) has halved the time taken to set up machining programs for his company’s lasers and turret punches. It also provides optimum material yield and minimum waste when cutting aluminium, stainless steel and titanium components for commercial and military aircraft, while giving him confidence that every part will be accurate.
“Although our machines’ factory-stated capabilities are ±0.005in, driving them with Radan increases their accuracy to ±0.003in. Our machines can achieve accuracy beyond what they were designed for.” Most aerospace components are presented to Swift-Cor as Catia files that can be unfolded in Catia V5.20 before being imported into Radan, but some files come as IGES, STEP or DXF files and have to be imported into Radan for unfolding. “Radan’s accuracy in flattening parts is excellent,” says Mr Travis. “I’ve been regulating flats this way since 1965.”
While many orders are one-offs, Swift-Cor still has dedicated programs for some parts — already nested — that are used for repeat business. “I simply print the set-up sheet and attach it to the work order, because it has already been proven. It takes about 40sec to attach a program to that part, as opposed to about 4min if I was doing it ‘from scratch’.”
Another important time-saver is the software’s ability to ‘tweak’ something without the need to ‘re-invent the wheel’ every time. “I can pull an individual symbol out of a nest and draw up a new part; I can also open a single part that I might want to make bigger and change the blank size, and it automatically updates everything. It is so easy to make and track revisions in the drawings and the part symbols.”
As Mr Travis sometimes spends all day creating nests, Radan’s flexibility, accuracy and material optimisation are invaluable.“They allow me to add parts, subtract parts, make the skeleton wider or closer, and get the best yield while substantially reducing material wastage. My output is double what it would be without Radan.”