Vicomtech and Lantek progress with 3-D simulation

Posted on 20 Feb 2019 and read 890 times
Vicomtech and Lantek progress with 3-D simulationAs part of its R&D&I (research, development and innovation) strategy, Lantek — a multi-national company involved in the “digital transformation of the industrial metal-working sector” — is strengthening its collaboration with technological partner Vicomtech to “advance the interactive 3-D simulation of heat-affected zones during sheet-metal-cutting processes” (www.lanteksms.com).

This collaboration builds on the results from the BeroSim project, an initiative giving users a 3-D model that lets them see how heat affects sheet metal as it is cut and predicts the effects that it will have on the material — such as deformation, changes to thickness or quality — caused by the high temperatures used in laser and plasma cutting processes.

As a result of this project, the findings were made available to the industry to increase production efficiency and generate significant savings on resources, by anticipating and avoiding potential material deformation during the cutting process; and thanks to the research progress made by the Vicomtech Technology Centre, algorithms have been developed to support multi-head cutting machines, thereby improving their performance and the quality of the parts produced.

The results of this latest development have been verified and compared with those obtained from the existing software; both companies confirm that the results were very satisfactory, adding that “a high speed of execution was achieved, thanks to the use of modern graphics hardware and the functional integration into an interactive simulation environment”.

The benefits of this technological advance were endorsed by the journal Materials, which ‘echoed’ this research with an article called Fast Analytic Simulation for Multi-Laser Heating of Sheet Metal in GPU (graphics processing unit).

Program optimisation


The benefits of these latest technology advances include the fact that the simulation of heat-affected zones makes it possible to optimise sheet-metal CNC programs before they get to the machine, making significant savings in material, as well as both human and machine resources.

Furthermore, the high-speed simulation allows more tests and optimisations to be carried out at the same time as part nesting and cut path creation, while visual verification of the temperature of the sheet metal helps designers to understand and identify which nesting pieces are problematic and which are not.

The simulation of sheet-metal-cutting processes is a phase of the production process that enables the definition of the best sheet-metal strategy and cutting order, while substantially improving output, making it possible to anticipate and detect possible unforeseen anomalies during the nesting and cut-path phases.

Indeed, Lantek says that with these advanced technologies, the program does not need to be tested on the actual machine, resulting in savings in machine time, materials and energy, while at the same time reducing the risk of potential incidents, breakdowns and work-place accidents.

This technology has been proven using laboratory processes to calculate the heat distribution in materials, and Lantek is currently analysing its incorporation into commercial products for sheet-metal manufacture.

Asier Ortiz, Lantek’s director of operations, says: “These virtual heat generation and dissipation models help to prevent the production of parts that will not pass quality assurance due to deformation or deterioration of their physical qualities as a result of excessive heat.

“In manufacturing processes, where fairly thick special materials are being worked with, anticipating heat-related problems is essential in order to ensure good results.”

Jorge Posada, associate director of Vicom- tech, said: “Collaborating with Lantek is a great example of a top company knowing how to identify interesting problems and challenges requiring research and innovation that may have a global impact.

For Vicomtech, it is very satisfying to be able to contribute our scientific and technological expertise in this way and demonstrate that this collaboration has significant results at the international level.”

Vicomtech is located in the Gipuzkoa Science and Technology Park in San Sebastian, Spain. It develops applied research projects in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, as well as ‘Visual Computing and Interaction’.

Lantek, which was founded in 1986 in the Basque Country (Spain), enables the integration of sheet metal and metal-processing technologies using advanced manufacturing management software.

It has more than 20,000 customers in over 100 countries.

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