A partnership between Mazak and CAD/CAM software specialist Radan (www.radan.com
) has reduced the time taken by a manufacturer of gym equipment to build a piece of apparatus from two days to just half a day.
Somerset-based Watson Gym Equipment supplies ‘strength’ equipment to gyms, trainers and Olympic athletes.
Its product range of around 200 machines is made from sheet metal and box-section steel.
Managing director Simon Watson says the partnership between its CNC machine tool supplier — Mazak — and Radan has transformed the way the company cuts the box-section steel.
The Mazak Fabri Gear 220 ll laser tube cutter — pre-installed with Mazak’s FG-CAD/CAM software (powered by Radan’s laser tube system, Radtube) — processes the most complex pipe and box-section shapes in a fraction of the time taken by traditional methods.
Mr Watson said: “The Mazak machine replaces what we used to do manually, which was to take an 8m length of steel, cut it to the length we needed for the component on our piece of apparatus, mitre it and put the holes in.
It also enables tabs to be created, thereby ensuring that the various components can only be put together one way.
We use different-sized tabs and make them non-symmetrical, so when the welder comes to fit the pieces together, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle, completely eliminating human error at the assembly stage.
“We previously had to draw both the tabs and the slots, but now I just click where I want the tab, input the gap around it, and the software automatically inserts the slot immediately.
“The software has transformed the way we manufacture, by automating around 80% of the manual work the welders were doing on cutting and preparation.”