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Machines reach the sky


Interview Ruud Appel, CEO of Hollandsteel


Data Quality Report










Marketing Department marketing@lanteksms.com



Diana Sánchez Patricia Ruiz de Sabando Enrique Paramá Writing and editing

Lantek Sheet Metal Solutions, S.L Parque Tecnológico de Álava Ferdinand Zeppelin, 2 01510 Vitoria-Gasteiz (Álava), Spain (T) +34 945771700

Juan José Colás Head of Global Sales & Marketing


THANKS TO THE CONTRIBUTORS OF THIS ISSUE Thanks to: Alfredo Lemke (CEO of IQSoftware), Asier Sasiain (CEO of DanobatGroup Sheet Metal), Beate Kramp and Ina Biehl (PR firm RFW), Elena Villacorta (Marketing Communications Manager of Danobat Group Sheet Metal), Richard Mortimer (Marketing Specialist at Mortimer PR Services), Ruud Appel, Dennis Oud (CEOs of Hollandsteel), Silvia Funke (Communications Manager at Funkspruch PR Tance Hughes CEO of Southern Design). Lantek employees: Asier Ortiz, Carlos García Villate, Christoph Lenhard, Diana Sánchez, Enrique Paramá, Francisco Pérez, Iñaki Martioda, Ibon Reinoso, Iñigo Hernáez, José Antonio Lorenzo, Juan José Colás, Jesús Martínez, Kevin Must, Patricia Ruiz de Sabando, and Victor Soriano.


index 05editorial Merging machines and software for the Smart Factory

10solutions Lantek Flex3d Tubes: Solving a Variety of Issues

18technologies In-Workshop Tracking

22news Agreement with DANOBAT Sheet Metal // Cooperation for sheet metal in steel construction with IQSoftware

28services Lantek Hint. Did you know that...

06main topic Machines reach the sky

14interview Ruud Appel, CEO of Hollandsteel

20innovation Data Quality Report

24partners Southern Design

30facts Trade Shows



editorial Merging machines and software for the Smart Factory A favourable overall framework such as that of Industry 4.0, which encompasses a set of factors, extended to specific applications such as the connectivity of elements in the plant and the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), are leading the industrial sector to change at a an unprecedented scale.

Juan José Colás Head of Global Sales & Marketing

More than 10 years ago Lantek set out to go further in solving the needs of companies in the metal sector. An example of this is Opentalk®, which allowed Lantek to progress with the development a many different systems by enabling machines to inform software when they were ready to start or when they had finished in the case of unattended production lines. The emergence of new technologies along with the development of communication protocols and standards (OPC-UA, etc.) has endowed machines with the necessary resources to establish a fluid communication with software systems: IoT, CPS, sensorization, security, 5G, etc. In recent years, Lantek has been working hard on developing a secure connection mechanism that enables cooperation between machines, local software systems, applications and systems located in the cloud. The merging of machines and software, two elements which were traditionally isolated is unstoppable and technology is relocating the different functions, either locally or in the cloud. The interconnection between the two worlds (local and cloud) is already possible. Machines started to “talk” some time ago and they are learning more “vocabulary” and “languages”. A strategic approach for collaboration between machine tool builders, software developers and system integrators will be essential to unleash the amazing potential of concepts yet to be imagined. By all working together, we will define the smart sheet metal factory of the future.



main topic Machines reach the sky HIDDEN CONNECTIONS MADE EVIDENT Carlos García Villate, R&D Director of Lantek


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Industry is changing at high speed, enabled by new technologies framed by Industry 4.0 and IIoT. New approaches for software systems and machines are being unveiled all the time. Different hosting possibilities for data and software could make us think that communication is a recent development, but it is not. In this article we will show that Lantek has been working in industrial interoperability for many years.

Machines first words: A little bit of history Lantek started more than 10 years ago solving sheet metal production scenarios where machines had to inform software systems when they were ready to execute a new operation or when they had finished it. At that time, Lantek faced different scenarios such as the requirement for an automated line or cell. Typically, the configuration comprised a sheet metal stacker loading a punching/laser machine that forwarded cut parts to a bending machine. This solved a customer need to program a complete shift, usually during nights, so that the line could work unattended. This functionality used our Lantek Wos system to control all the machinery involved, detecting when a machine had finished its work, ready to load the following process. Even if it was an ad-hoc solution, the principles behind the “machines talking to software� approach were present all the way through. Years later, new communication protocols appeared in the market, some of them taking the standardization path (OPC-UA, etc.). Lantek conceived Opentalk to explore and resolve scenarios where machines needed to cooperate with management systems.


Opentalk is defined as an integration mechanism which allows any machine to communicate realtime production status data to other connected systems in the network. Once the operator has prepared the job on the machine, all events (start, pause, end of job) are transmitted to the cooperating systems. Opentalk makes it possible for a normal machine to be converted into a cyberphysical system, able to “talk� to the cooperating software systems that manage the manufacturing processes, like MRP, MES, ERP, and others. On top of unattended production lines, Opentalk allowed Lantek to progress with the development of many different systems that monitor the machine status and, for example, show key process indicators in real-time (OEE, load-capacity), or produce quotations based on machine situation and availability.

Machines talk fluent software With the upsurge of Industry 4.0 concepts, machines have started to have many resources available to start fruitful communication with cooperating software systems: IoT, CPS, sensorization, security, 5G, etc. These new resources open plenty of new opportunities not only for machine/cell automation, but for factory or even multi-factory automation. Now, new machines incorporate software layers that enable them to communicate with other software systems and applications, either in the local or in the cloud ecosystem, in a more sophisticated way. This new cooperative language enhances the possibilities of more integrated solutions for sheet metal factories.


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New machines incorporate software layers to communicate with other software systems locally or in the cloud

Sherlock: secure connectivity geared towards cloud systems For some time, Lantek has been working hard on developing a secure connection mechanism that enables cooperation between, machines, local software systems, applications and systems located in the cloud. This new mechanism is called Sherlock and applies the latest security technologies to provide robust interoperability. Sherlock guarantees the integrity and security of the transported data, allows data transfer (both real-time and batch), ensures data retention in nonavailability situations, and offers flexibility when adding new information sources or destinations. In short, Sherlock opens the cloud door wide for machines and existing software systems.

The future Digitization will be the key trend in the future of sheet metal factories. Digital models and corresponding software to handle them will allow reduced effort, time and cost throughout the value chain. More flexibility and capacity for customization will appear as the new business strengths. The new sensors and IT elements will be the enablers for this to happen. Industry 4.0 is provoking the merging of machines and software, elements which have been traditionally isolated. The large amount of technology available is relocating the different functions, either locally or into the cloud. The interconnection between the two worlds (local and cloud) will be critical and is already possible thanks to mobile technologies like 5G. The predictable increased agility in sheet metal manufacturing processes will change the functional structure of the systems and will overlap the planning, engineering and operation phases in production, creating a heterogeneous environment where change is more frequent and more and more services are automated and verticalized. This can be made a reality only through the support of interconnecting mechanisms and software.

Conclusion Machines started to “talk” a long time ago and they keep on learning more “vocabulary” and “languages”, propelled by new technologies already in place. Machine and software are merging and cooperating more and more, opening a new world of functional possibilities. The right architecture is critical for this to function and so is the definition of solid protocols supported on standard technologies that enable real-time interoperability. For future success, a strategic approach for collaboration between machine tool builders, software developers and system integrators will be essential to unleash the amazing potential of concepts yet to be imagined. By all working together, we will define the sheet metal factory of the future.



solutions Lantek Flex3d Tubes: SOLVING A VARIETY OF ISSUES Francisco PĂŠrez, OEM Channel Director

One of the most highly technologically-developed fields in our industry is tube manufacturing. Development in both machine operations and software solutions solve the many issues that customers face. The first is the kind of tube to be manufactured. A large tube for channelling structures that is quite wide and is usually cut with plasma and oxy-cutting machines has very little in common with smaller, narrow tubes that are most often cut with lasers. Nevertheless, the foundations of the software are the same, so the difficulty really lies in controlling the machine and its processes. The machine variables multiply with the type of cutting head on the machine. For example, some have different types of fixed or moving heads, while others have specific tube cutting heads. In addition there are combination machines which are capable of both 2D and tube cutting. Furthermore, some machines have 5 axes which further increases complexity. The development of more complex product designs is a further factor. Simple methods of producing full or partial bevelling or different hole shapes (round, rectangular, triangular etc.) anywhere along the tube at any angle are necessary. Additionally, a good library of joints and intersections is required to enable the assembly of pipe sets.

10 solutions


The complexity of the industry can be visualized by considering the different industrial design programs that clients use to receive and tweak parts before adding them and generating the CNC cut path. For SolidWorks®, SolidEdge®, Inventor®, Catia®, TEKLA© or Creo Elements/Pro™, amongst others design suites, the challenge is to supplement them and provide them with specific functionalities related to the cutting industry, multiplying their efficiency with libraries and processes, in addition to being able to accurately and simply import parts generated on any of these programs. The challenge is great. If, in addition to solving design, machining, and cutting problems, manufacturers wish to integrate the entire process with scrap management, warehouse management, management of secondary operations, quoting,

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and full analytics of the process, including controlling machines from different manufacturers, the challenge becomes even more immense. Lantek has 30 years of experience analysing and solving issues in a plethora of sheet metal and tube cutting scenarios. With an extensive and flexible product line fully integrated with the other planning solutions (MES), management solutions (ERP), and analytics and monitoring solutions, Lantek Flex3d Tubes covers almost all the issues that customers face. From the simple to the complex, managing any kind of machine or cutting technology, integrating it with the most popular design programs for all kinds of tubes or pipe sets. The table shows how our solutions are adapted to solve your manufacturing challenges.

Lantek solves your complex manufacturing challenges. How can we help you? CUT Lantek Flex3d Tubes Quatro




Lantek Flex3d Tubes

Lantek Flex3d Tubes Plus

DESIGN Lantek Flex3d Tubes Designer*

Movable Cutting Head Fixed Cutting Head Machine 2D + Tubes combined machine Advanced Tube Joints Management Welding Preparation Tube Inventory Management CNC Generation One-part Automatic Nesting


Multiple part nesting Multiple Profile Type nesting Automatic Best Format Selection Kit management BEAM CUTTING


BEVEL CUTTING IGES 3D EXPORTER XML EXPORTER DSTV GENERATOR XML Parts Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D SteelWork and Tubes TEKLA Tubes XML Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D SteelWork and Tubes STEP (3D) Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D TUBES IGES (3D) Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D TUBES VDA (3D) Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D TUBES Importers allowed

SolidWorks (SW) Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D TUBES SolidEdge (SE) Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D TUBES Pro/Engineer Creo (3D) Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D TUBES Parasolid (3D) Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D TUBES Unigraphics (3D) Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D TUBES Inventor (3D) Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D TUBES CATIA v5 (3D) Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D TUBES CATIA v4 (3D) Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D TUBES SAT Advanced (3D) Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D TUBES Generic Excel Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D TUBES /STEELWORK IFC Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D TUBES / SteelWork


DSTV Importer for LANTEK FLEX3D TUBES / SteelWork LANTEK FLEX3D SolidWorks Tubes Join Designer LANTEK FLEX3D Inventor Tubes LANTEK FLEX3D SolidEdge Tubes


Paid feature

Incluyed feature

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interview Metal parts around the clock Ruud Appel CEO of Hollandsteel Christoph Lenhard Sales director of Lantek Germany Mr. Appel, would you please tell us a little bit more about you and your company. RUUD APPEL: We are a rather young company. My partner, Dennis Oud, and I founded Hollandsteel in 2016 and built a completely new plant in Opmeer in North Holland. We started producing sheet metal parts in 2017. We have three machines working around the clock: a Durma HD-TC 60170 fiber laser for tubes and profiles made of steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass and copper, a Durma HD-FS 3015 flatbed laser, and a Prima Power Platino 1530 HS laser for thicker and wider sheets of steel, stainless steel and aluminum. Our customers are located all over the Netherlands and the number is growing daily. What was and is the nature of your cooperation? APPEL: We wanted our machines to run around the clock. We knew that this can´t be done without digitalization. So, we were looking for a software specialist partner not only with a comprehensive portfolio but also with the expertise to adapt it to any company in whatever stage of development. We found Lantek through the software on one of our machines. We thought it would be a good idea to work with specialists whose software we were already using. From first contact we realized that Lantek were the perfect partners for our journey. Lantek provided us with the complete software for sales, work preparation, and warehouse management. LENHARD: As software experts we mainly support companies in their digital transformation. In this case it was fascinating to design the digital architecture for a new company during its formation. Right from the start Ruud Appel and Dennis Oud told us that they wanted lean structures and an online presence as soon as possible. APPEL: Thanks to Lantek´s digital processes my partner and I can run the whole factory with only eight employees. So, you say that these few people are handling everything from offer preparation and production planning all the way to quoting and warehouse management? APPEL: No not at all – the software system does a great part of it. With the support of Lantek we were able to automate most of our processes and get maximum productivity from our machines. Right from the start we knew that only speed could help us conquer our niche in the Dutch sheet metal market – and 24/7 availability. We wanted to have an online shop which is now the essential tool in our box. We think that having an online portal is absolutely necessary to serve our clients in the way they want.

14 interview

Ruud Appel CEO of Hollandsteel

Two years ago, Hollandsteel started producing metal parts for the Dutch market in a brand-new factory. Its machines are running 24 hours for an ever-increasing number of clients and its concept could be trendsetting for the industry. An interview with Ruud Appel of Hollandsteel and Christoph Lenhard, sales director of Lantek Germany.


Our customers place their requests on the platform and receive their offer almost instantaneously, accept them just as quickly, and get their invoices the same way. The web portal is becoming more and more important for us every day and besides our reliability and customer service the web portal is attracting more and more customers who like working with it. During business hours 80 percent of orders are placed with 20 percent placed outside business hours. Please do not misunderstand me: we installed the web shop to offer our customers another way of placing their orders – we adjusted to our customers and we do not expect them to adjust to us. They do not have to work with the web portal. If they prefer to send us an e-mail with their order or give us a sketch on paper it´s fine with us – and we turn it into a metal part. How did you conceptualize this project? APPEL: We were lucky Lantek already had an idea of an online shop which we developed together and adapted to our needs. Our partner M. E. Solutions, a Dutch software company, designed the front end for us. Lantek took care of the back end and all processes needed for a valid calculation all the way to electronic invoicing. LENHARD: At Lantek we have been considering some sort of online shop for a while because our customers kept asking for a solution. We had some sort of draft at hand when Hollandsteel came up as the ideal partner to realize it and turn it into our product Metal Shop. They were not only two creators of a start-up with an open mind for digitalization, but they had a clear vision of their goal and how to reach it by means of digitalization. Thanks to the integration of the web shop with the entire software suite we can offer our customers accurately calculated prices, reliable delivery times, and a view of their orders with access to previously produced parts – plus we can implement individual tariffs for each customer. For us it was a logical step to finish the concept of our cloud-based platform Lantek 360. What were the challenges reaching your goal? APPEL: We needed to make a quick, reliable and, most importantly, easy to use portal for our customers for 2D and 3D parts – and without errors in calculations for us and our customers. We had a lot of testing, writing calculation rules, and thinking about the best workflow in order to get the most out of the portal for the customer and make it profitable for us.

Christoph Lenhard Commercial Director at Lantek Germany 16 interview

The web portal is attracting more and more customers. 80% of orders are placed during business hours with 20% placed outside business hours

LENHARD: First of all, there was the uncertainty of the data volume our customer was about to be confronted with. We had to be prepared for all sizes of data volumes. We also wanted to develop a solution which can guide users with little to no technical knowledge through the process of placing a request and generating an offer. To enable them to do this we had to find an online solution which can use data without always having to enter the database which would surely slow down processes. We realized this by developing a system which is dissociated from the data base in the foreground and synchronized with it in the background. Plus, we had to develop a certainty in the calculation rules and cost structure so that the calculation process can be repeated with the same result or – in case of different results – an explanation with which parameters have changed. Having achieved this, we realized one of the main advantages of Metal Shop versus calculation by a human – it makes the calculation process easy, repeatable, and reliable. Understanding that the web shop is helping Hollandsteel to increase the number of orders managed, in what way have your sales increased? APPEL: I am afraid I cannot answer this because we started like this and have no database for comparison before and after. That said, the number of customers is growing every day and I am convinced the web portal is helping a lot. LENHARD: From talks with our customers I have learnt that younger professionals use this tool to raise awareness in the industry, win new customers, and generate orders. Are you worried that an online quoting tool could be used to negotiate low prices? APPEL: From my point of view not at all since this is the main way our customers obtain offers – and you can´t discuss with a binary system, right? I think you should make your prices based on what the company needs and not adapt prices to competitors. I like to think that the customers will

order their products at the company offering best price and quality – and if your price or quality is not good enough, you should change the way your company works. But yes, it is easier for the customers to compare prices between companies. This is a logical consequence of the digital world and we should adapt to this world instead of thinking the oldfashioned way. LENHARD: Online quoting surely increases transparency and makes knowledge that used to be the privilege of well-established purchasers available for everybody. Customers of job shops surely know by now what a certain part may cost. This knowledge will gradually enter the whole market the more customers use this tool to find out about prices. Is this the future of the sheet metal industry? APPEL: No doubt, automation will play an increasing role in the industry. We do not want to speak for the whole industry but can surely say that in our case digital processes are the way to save time and cost. LENHARD: Tools like Metal Shop are ideal not only for contract manufacturers like Hollandsteel, but other companies as well. For other companies it can be another way of reaching more customers or serving established customers better by offering them an easy way of ordering simple components or repeat parts. Is this the point where your cooperation ends? LENHARD: Definitely not. Even after the successful implementation of a system Lantek is at the customers´ side to assist them whenever they have problems and to accompany them on their path to digitalization, adapting to their individual maturity in digitalization. APPEL: From our point of view the possibilities of digitalization in our industry are nowhere near exhausted and have more in store for more offers for our customers. We are already heading for our next project.



technologies In-Workshop Tracking José Antonio Lorenzo, Software Development Engineer

A sheet metal workshop is a complex environment. Regardless of whether it’s a large or small workshop, every day there are materials, orders, and tools constantly moving from one side to the other. Without proper organization it’s easy for everything to quickly fall into chaos. As a result, all workshops have their own way of organizing and managing internal logistics. Some have more sophisticated methods while others use more simple ones. Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement. Internal logistics and organization are intangible assets that can improve workshop performance without a great deal of investment. A 10% more efficient procedure can generate 10% more production and the cost of this is always lower than purchasing better machinery. Unfortunately, improving internal organization is not always easy or straight-forward. As is often said “the devil is in the details” and improving involves many small organizational changes that are not always conspicuous. Here, using data to gain a detailed and accurate understanding of organizational processes can provide an edge. Where is the most time lost? What are the causes of these inefficiencies? How can we change our processes to make them more efficient?

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One of the goals of Lantek360 is to allow our customers to leverage information to, among other things, identify all areas with room for improvement. Some solutions are already available and others have yet to arrive. One example of the former is Lantek Inside, which has an augmented reality module that currently supports part cutting design directly on sheet metal. In the future it will also streamline the collection and classification of parts by identifying them on the augmented reality interface. Orderly denesting of parts will allow them to be assigned initial tracking information that will create the basis for subsequent tracking throughout the entire production process. With this information, asset location systems – the assets being mainly parts, containers, and tools – and new artificial intelligence techniques make it possible to quickly and simply find operational bottlenecks in the workshop. And that’s not all. With artificial intelligence and machine learning, previously gathered data can be used to analyse trends and predict future behaviours, which will open the door to new functionalities that were previously merely the stuff of dreams. What if the information from previous quotes could be used with acceptance data in order to be able to provide

Asset location systems and new artificial intelligence techniques make it possible to quickly and simply find operational bottlenecks in the workshop quotes more quickly and more successfully? What if the system automatically suggested nesting modifications to make production more efficient? What if it were intelligent enough to allow forklift movement from the warehouse to the workshop to be coordinated so that all materials, parts, and tools are exactly where they should be at exactly the right time? The sky is the limit. In-workshop tracking is not only limited to the location of assets, but also to how all the

information generated in innovative ways is used to reach the end goal: improved efficiency and lower costs with new ways of working. This is possible thanks to mass data collection in the plant and leveraging said data with new technologies based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Lantek is developing new products based on these capabilities to continue progressing toward the industry of the future.



innovation Data Quality Report Ibon Reinoso, Software Development Engineer

HOW DOES THE DQ REPORTING SERVICE WORK?, WHAT IS DATA QUALITY? AND WHAT VALUE DOES IT ADD? These are some of the questions that customers ask. This article was written to answer these questions.

20 innovation

Generally, in a world with more and more data and tools, one can lose sight of how things work. Lantek, a company dedicated to Industry 4.0, provides many tools in order to maximize sheet metal production. Control Panel and Analytics are two examples of solutions within Lantek’s portfolio of services. Essentially, all of these new tools attempt to provide a broader view and greater control over what happens in the factory, within the Lantek 360 suite. The interaction between different tools and functional blocks is quite complex: many communicate with others while some feed off of previous solutions (the ERP system is an input for Analytics, for example). That said, what would happen if we wanted to implement Analytics and also, for some reason, the ERP system is not working as it should? That side is hobbling along and therefore, Analytics cannot be fully leveraged. The DQ Reporting service was created to minimize the risk involved in so many interactions between tools and data. This is done with different points of view, which are known under Data Quality theory as dimensions. There are many dimensions or points of view that can be analysed, however, the five most interesting for us are: Complexity (how comprehensive is the information), Consistency (how in line is the data), Uniqueness (how well can we uniquely identify the data), Validity (are the data accurate), and Representativeness (how varied the information input is). In short, each dimension aims to assess the data from one point of view. As a result, these tests allow us to assess a specific client’s data and, based on the suspended aspect, we can define different techniques or methods to try to improve it should this be necessary. These are like a set of tests where if you fail one, you should try to focus on the ones you didn’t study enough of to pass. In conclusion, DQ Report Service allows users to find out the quality of the data in the solutions they are interested in. On the one hand, this allows us to be able to implement solutions with a guarantee and, on the other, it allows us to find and improve processes in order to provide customers with operational excellence.


22 news

Lantek software in coil-fed laser blanking lines of DANOBATGROUP DANOBATGROUP now globally incorporates Lantek software into its coil-fed laser blanking lines, more specifically its sheet metal (cutting, punching, and bending) division. This new commitment results from a collaboration of more than 25 years and strengthens the two companies´ positioning in the field of applications for new sectors. DANOBAT Sheet Metal customers will have Lantek software on their coil-fed laser blanking lines and all their machines to optimize processes and get the greatest return on machinery and software investments. And they will benefit from the extensive network of offices, technical service, and highly-qualified distribution channels Lantek has around the world. DANOBAT Sheet Metal is the DANOBATGROUP division specialized in metalworking technology development, manufacturing, and distribution, with more than 50 years of experience and of recognized prestige in the sector. Its headquarters are located in Elgoibar (Gipuzkoa) in the Spanish Basque region. Its machines encompass all metalworking processes – from raw material to finished product – including now cutting-edge software, thanks to the new agreement with Lantek. Juan José Colás, Lantek’s Director of Sales and Marketing: “This

22 news

agreement allows us to offer our most advanced solutions, as well as our skills and know-how, to a broader client base, joining forces with a company known around the world.“ DANOBAT Sheet Metal has always been at the cutting-edge of the latest technology – thanks to its extensive experience and constant commitment to innovation at its research and development center. From now on all the know-how of Lantek will be added, a global leader in the field of CAD/ CAM/MES/ERP software solutions for companies manufacturing metal parts from sheet, tubes, and profiles with any cutting technology. This new agreement is framed by Lantek’s policy of encouraging and incentivizing cooperation with partners around the world. “Our sustainable growth at Lantek is supported by collaboration, one of our fundamental characteristics. These agreements with partners allow us to respond better to our clients. We believe that the combination of the efforts of two companies, such as DANOBAT and Lantek, is a great way to help make factories more efficient, progressing toward the consolidation of Industry 4.0,” underscored Lantek’s Director of Sales

IQSoftware integrates Lantek Expert in its ERP solution for steel construction A new cooperation takes Lantek´s strengths to the steel industry. By means of joint interfaces IQSoftware GmbH from Döbeln, Saxony, has integrated Lantek’s sheet metal forming solution into its ERP system for steel construction.

machines working with all kinds of technologies. Once parts have been cut the Lantek system reports automatically to the IQSteel.ERP for the integration of the metal parts into the remaining production phases.

It is a collaboration of two absolute specialists: IQSoftware offers with its IQSteel.ERP a software solution tailored to the characteristics and specific demands of the steel, plant, metal and industrial construction industry. It supports all business units based on a standardized data retention – from planning and calculation all the way to document management and machine control. Lantek is the software expert for sheet metal forming and a worldwide leader with its advanced manufacturing solutions. Its modularly built portfolio for comprehensive control of the whole factory in a connected environment is a key driver of the sheet metal industry´s digital transformation.

“We are glad that the steel construction customers of IQSoftware are given a real benefit for their production by using our solution – no matter which manufacturer their sheet metal machines come from,“ says Christoph Lenhard, Lantek Sales Director for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. “This collaboration with Lantek enables us to offer our customers an ERP specialized in steel construction but with integrated and automated sheet metal production,“ states Alfredo Lemke, Managing Director of IQSoftware. “The collaboration paves the way from isolated solutions to optimized and harmonized workflows“

Companies in steel construction also need metal parts in their production. Manufacturing for example head and base plates for the connection of steel profiles, they need a software to intelligently manage the production of these metal parts and integrate it into its superordinate workflow of steel processing. This is the subject of the cooperation between Lantek and IQSoftware. Manufacturing orders for metal parts are automatically forwarded by means of joint interfaces and through the software module Lantek Manager from IQSteel.ERP to Lantek Expert. The CAD/CAM software system is amongst the most advanced in the world and its optimized nesting algorithms and processing strategies deliver excellent results for the automated CNC programming of sheet metal




Southern Design experiences efficiency gains after software implementation

24 partners

Since implementing Lantek software, Southern Design has witnessed higher material utilization,quicker quoting time, and faster setup and production times

From a small screen printing shop to a nationally distributed metal home décor company, technology and software help increase output while spurring investments into facility upgrades.

SOUTHERN DESIGN In 2008, Tance Hughes – a senior in high school at the time – began Southern Design in Vidalia, LA with a small screen printing press purchased by his father. What began as a custom shirt making venture for parents and siblings of the pee-wee football team he coached with a friend blossomed into a thriving custom metal home décor shop. In 2014 Seth Hughes, Tance’s brother, wanted to get involved in the business using his knowledge in CNC machining and a plasma cutter to fabricate metal home décor. Today, Southern Design employs 32 people and has expanded its operations to three CNC plasma tables, two CNC routers, and one 4 kW fiber laser with a 6 kW fiber laser on the way. By the end of 2015 the brothers realized the metal sign business was taking off a lot faster than the shirt printing business, so they spun off from shirts and put all their resources behind metal signs. Through hard work and dedication, Southern Design has experienced rapid growth which has landed them a spot on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing, privately held companies in America with their CEO, Tance Hughes, on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. As one could imagine, this rapid growth came with challenges that needed to be overcome to produce high-quality products in a timely fashion, especially with their newest distribution outlet – Wal-Mart.


In the beginning, Southern Design manually nested parts on their sheets which was very time consuming and limited their material utilization. “We knew that we were wasting some space in there and we needed something that would automate that process a little quicker for us,” states Tance. After much research, Tance came across Lantek Expert Cut Plus software which enabled quicker, more efficient nests and more accurate quoting of custom signage. Prior to using Lantek, quotes were generated in an Excel spreadsheet with educated guesses according to time and material cost. “It was very apparent that wasn’t going to work long term especially as our volume increased,” Tance said in reflection, “With Lantek, you can pretty much drop the parts in, select material thickness, what type of material you have, and the quantity and it zips it right out for you.” With a highly customizable product in a variety of shapes and sizes, it was imperative that Southern Design find a software that fit their needs to quickly furnish quotes and finished product. The solutions offered by Lantek not only created more efficient nests while generating quotes quicker; it also created a streamlined process for programming the machines. To get the proper G-code to operate the machine, engineers used to have to create the DXF file in one program, convert it to G-code in another and then use a third program to load the G-code and finally generate a CNC file for their plasma cutter. Using three different platforms to program one sheet was time

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consuming, labor intensive, and challenging to find and/or train engineers on all three systems. Now, engineers can design parts, nest them on sheets, and generate the proper CNC code for whichever machine will be cutting that specific sheet. By switching from a suite of three different software’s to one, Southern Design has seen an increase in efficiency and a decrease in material waste and production preparation. Since implementing Lantek software, Southern Design has witnessed higher material utilization, quicker quoting time, and faster setup and production times all with the same number of employees. Starting with 10 employees as a custom shirt maker they have expanded to 32 employees with little to no recent increase in employment. Even with the same amount of help they have experienced gains of 20-25% in production just from utilizing the software. With high production output, paired with a 10% increase in raw material utilization and 50% reduction in production preparation, Southern Design has found a way to produce higher quality metal signs at a reasonable price. An increase in shipments, due to their distribution to Wal-Mart locations around the U.S., have spurred discussions of ordering another machine within 12-24 months. Tance states, “We’re already planning and thinking ahead for that and starting to get our ducks in a row so that we’re not caught off guard and trying to play catch-up.”

About Southern Designs Southern Designs is a family owned metal, wood and printed product manufacturer located in Vidalia, Louisiana. Comprised of three divisions – MetalUnlimited.com, Southern Design and Semafab –they have experienced sales growth of over 800% in the last three years. This growth has given them the honor and recognition of being on the Inc. 5000 list, Inc. Magazines’ list of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies. MetalUnlimited.com and Southern Design’ primary focus is in-house fabrication of custom home décor. With high customizability and volume, they needed a way to nest custom decorative pieces efficiently while reducing scrap and maintaining quality and speed. For more information, visit them at: www.southerndesigns.net

With Lantek, you can pretty much drop the parts in, select material thickness, what type of material you have, and the quantity and it zips it right out for you. Tance Hughes, CEO









If you are interested in any of these services, send us your contact info to sales@lanteksms.com and one of our sales representatives will be pleased to give you all the information you need.


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LANTEK Hint Did you know that... ... now you can organize your nesting browser? Groupings in Nesting Explorer New functionality that allows creating groupings from the different fields that define a sub-job. This is especially useful for those machines that allow you to define Material/thickness dependent data while considering technological data such as: • Laser machine: With lens, gas, power and alias • Waterjet machine: With orifice diameter, pressure, mixing nozzle diameter, abrasive, abrasive flow, etc. All this data becomes part of the list of fields that define the subjobs. In these cases, a large number of subjobs can appear in the nesting explorer, and it can be difficult to search for and select the one you want to work on. The new functionality allows the user to create groupings to group subjobs in a more logical and friendly way. In order to define groups in the nesting explorer it is necessary to right-click on a folder type node (new) or subjob type, or on an area of the panel where there are no elements of the tree, and execute the option Configure nesting explorer. Iñaki Martioda. Global Support Manager

HINTS If you would like to find out more tips, send us an email at: marketing@lanteksms.com


30 facts LANTEK

Events Some of the trade shows where Lantek is participating as an exhibitor. The latest implementations are shown at these shows as well as what will be worked on in the near future.

LAMIERA 2019. Milano, Italy

MACHTOOL 2019. Poznan, Poland

TOLEXPO 2019. Lyon, France

SIMM 2019. Shenzhen, China

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Trade Shows Blechexpo 2019 NOVEMBER 05-08 Stuttgart GERMANY

FABTECH 2019 NOVEMBER 11-14 Chicago, IL USA




*Customer Testimonial, November 2018





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