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The Sheet Metal MES

Latest News, Product Innovations, Fairs and much more




LANTEK LINK is the magazine of Lantek Sheet Metal Solutions

COVER Tyne Bridge Newcastle UNITED KINGDOM

LANTEK MARKETING TEAM Patricia Ruiz de Sabando Editor Jesús Martínez Marketing Director
















Lantek and Bystronic: Allies in innovation


MAKRO Handels GmbH: Speed for the ‘extended workbench’





Reason to believe

Integration of cutting processes in the supply chain

The sheet metal MES

Juan José Colás Sales Manager

SUBSCRIPTIONS Marketing Department

Laser in hot stamping production lines

Lantek Services Lantek Hint: Lantek Expert

Self-organizing machines





Reason to believe

hen Lantek started conceiving of a sheet metal MES system in distant 2007, very few in the industry thought that was the way to go. Focus on CAD/CAM and material utilization, not even on machine technology, was the main focus. During the last ten years, Lantek has demonstrated not only that was the right evolutionary path for the software systems in the sheet metal industry, but the only one. Nowadays, every company related to sheet metal is talking about manufacturing management and how to exploit real-time data to improve and automate processes. Recently, Lantek has been selected as the MES system of choice for machine manufacturer Bystronic, which will create an even more robust and scalable system that has been widely proven worldwide in many different scenarios. Since that distant day when Lantek started the construction of the first system based on a powerful software platform, it has launched many others with the same idea: increase the productivity and efficiency of its customers by providing software systems specifically developed for the sheet metal companies. This history of successes the ability to overcome difficulties gives Lantek, its partners, and its customers a reason to believe.

JesĂşs MartĂ­nez


main topic

The sheet metal MES Over time, production management has become the key factor in productivity and competitiveness for companies in the metal industry, far beyond other factors that have traditionally been very important: use of material, calculation of times and costs, elimination of paper, and acceleration of the information transfer process, etc. An MES (Manufacturing Execution System) is a software system used in production that controls and records the transformation of raw materials into finished products. An MES provides information that helps make decisions on how to optimize production based on the current conditions of a production plant. An MES normally works in real-time and is connected to the rest of the existing management systems and production elements. It allows for the control of multiple elements involved in the production process: requests, personnel, machinery, or support services. From Lantek’s point of view, an MES adapted to companies that produce sheet metal pieces, tubes or sheet metal profiles is composed of the following functional units:

• Management of product definition This includes the assignment of its location in warehouses, version control, and exchange of information associated with each product with other systems. It provides key information to the plant manager, such as production routes, cutting technology, itemization of materials, or specific characteristics (geometry, material, thickness), all focused on defining how to produce a piece or product. • Resource management This includes the registration, modification, and analysis of information associated with each resource, either human or material (workplaces, if the material is to be cut or not), aimed at preparing production orders using the most appropriate resources in terms of capacity and availability. Based on this structure, a set of data associated with production is created that, with the appropriate analysis tool, may be processed and made available to the manager or higherlevel systems.

• Production scheduling The production of sheet metal pieces, tubes, or sheet metal profiles is rarely a process that can be planned out in the medium-term. Agility, flexibility, and continuous change are desirable characteristics in a metal production plant environment. Furthermore, in the workshop it is necessary to plan out minute details almost immediately, depending on the situation. Lantek assumes that, in this environment, no one knows how to resolve each situation better than the workshop manager. Therefore, wellorganized information is provided to him or her so that timely decisions can be made as quickly as possible, scheduling the work orders that best meet the established requirements and priorities. These systems must be connected to the business management systems so that business-related constraints can be applied to this schedule. • Planning of work This includes the creation and distribution of work to the workplaces. In this step, an appropriate consideration of the concept of nesting, in which pieces from different orders and/or clients can be grouped together, becomes vitally important. • Execution of production orders Though the actual execution is performed in process control systems (Lantek Wos), the MES system can perform checks on resources and report on the progress of various production processes to other systems. In this case, it is also important to have a view of nesting in addition to the work order or request and have the possibility of making last-minute changes to already-set schedules. • Collection of production data This includes the collection, storage, and exchange of process data, the status of the various pieces of equipment, pieces pending/in process/finished, real times, material used, and scrap generated. Lantek has different systems (Lantek Wos, Lantek Workshop Capture, Opentalk) to deal with the different scenarios that may occur in an operating workshop. • Analysis of production performance This includes the creation of data and information from the raw data generated during production processes. For example, it can provide OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) performance indicators or any other pertinent indicator. • Monitoring and traceability of production Recording all of the information related to production makes it possible, both in real-time

and once the process ends, to know the status of any element during its processing in addition to the materials and resources used in its manufacture. This makes it possible to regulate quality and traceability when it is necessary to search for the causes of irregularities. • Integration An MES system by itself is meaningless in a company today. Integration with other operating systems or company or business management systems is essential for making correct decisions in line with the company’s objectives and strategy. Therefore, Lantek includes various mechanisms for interconnecting ERP/MRP services (Powersync, Avantiaservices) with machines themselves (Opentalk) or even with external CAD/CAM systems. This makes an MES into an open system that cooperates in a dynamic, seamless way for the user along with their environment in the points of the process where it is needed, whether it is definition or validation of production. These mechanisms are possible thanks to the software platform the system is based on, which grants unlimited power of connectivity, even in real-time. A client that wants to implement a management system in a scenario where there are several companies related to sheet metal — but in which all are not centered on cutting pieces — with several production, logistics, and sales centers and that, given their turnover and the financial control involved, needs a financial ERP able to provide analysis in that area and must choose very carefully which software is going to be used in the specific management of their cutting centers. The Lantek MES is in charge of providing the solution as it is integrated with an ERP software with specific intelligence on metal production, extending and supplementing what the ERP generally manages. This solution allows us to focus on optimizing the metal, mixing different orders/projects in the same work units, achieving the best possible use of resources, and maintaining the ability to control each piece in detail (which operator and machine processed it, what date and at what time, on what material, etc.) Lantek Manager is the ideal MES for transforming sheet metal, tubes, or sheet metal profiles because it is a system that is specific to metal. It is modular, scalable, integrated “to the core” with Lantek CAD/CAM software, capable of openly and dynamically collaborating with any system (machine, software) and is accessible from any type of device (web, mobile phone) and from any point.


solutions Integration of cutting processes in the supply chain After the radical change in how companies compete as a result of technological advances, globalization, increased complexity, and ever shorter execution periods, industrial companies are fully aware of the need to integrate all their production processes into a single system that is integrated into their supply chain. Integrating any process into a supply chain, whether within the same company or among multiple companies, depends on two fundamental factors: • Alignment: This refers to a common vision and objective for the entire chain. This ensures the consistency throughout the entire supply chain, whether within one company or among several companies that cooperate. • Connection: This refers to the communication and information both for planning and for decision-making, which ensures that the necessary data is available and is consistent and reliable. Integrating a cutting process means that we must be capable of aligning our systems with the general objectives and connecting them by providing and gathering the information needed to make specific decisions on the production of sheet metal, pipes or sheet metal profiles based on general circumstances and priorities established for the supply chain as a whole. This integration must be strong yet have little dependency so that it is possible to cooperate flexibly with different systems simultaneously. In the current scenarios, management is accomplished in an increasingly distributive manner, without a centralized system which controls everything. The supply chain is orchestrated to meet the objectives of alignment and connection with interdependent autonomous systems. In a typical integration, • We collect information from the ERP on manufacturing orders and operations routing and incorporate specific concepts.

• We import the structure of a composite product or the information associated with the client’s order/project. • We obtain the planned delivery dates for each manufacturing order from the MRP. • We transform the information received from the CAD/BIM design systems, generating the specific information that defines the different elements. • We collect the basic design, to which we later apply the characteristics or properties for its manufacture, associating the raw materials needed and technical characteristics in order to choose the best routes based on the operations to be carried out, the design of the piece, and its physical characteristics, such as material or thickness. With all of this, we can combine designs, business priorities, and production priority to organize the pending manufacturing in the most optimal manner in terms of cutting resources. These resources are the most sensitive to poor planning, given the difficulty of the concept of nesting. Once manufacture is complete, it is necessary to report on what happened to the ERP, adapting the information to be able to use it. This makes it possible for the data to be connected coherently with data from other processes involved in the supply chain and allows for the generation of data analytics related to the materials, machine ratios, etc. Thanks to the integration of a specialized tool for the production of sheet metal that works jointly with a financial and business-focused-ERP, the resulting solution provides a series of advantages that generic solutions cannot offer: • Competitiveness through improved costs. Thanks to the better use of material and specialized resources. • Shorter production cycles. By grouping orders into a single cutting operation, we can substantially reduce time to client (TTC) and increase takt time.

• Quicker development cycles. The improvements and changes on products are incorporated more effectively.

allowing them to adapt both their production schedule and logistics and their prices in a much more precise and advantageous manner.

• Better overall quality. Reduction of irregularities and rapidly incorporating improvements when opportunities for improvement are detected.

• Preparation of budgets. The client itself can find out the best price they could obtain by modifying their order variables (delivery date, amount, material, etc.), knowing that workload and business variables (margins, volume discount, bundles, etc.) are taken into account

• Reduction of capital employed. Upon finding out the assessment of the different warehouses and of the work in progress (WIP), we can optimize the resources employed. Furthermore, in an extended supply chain, we could achieve additional benefits: • Visualization of order status. The client can check the status of their order and request partial shipments, add additional units, or decide on irregularities. • Visualization of purchase needs. Suppliers can make their offers based on their actual needs,

• Automated sub-contracting. Based on the situation of the plant itself, the system may automatically derive operations or complete orders to external companies that we know are available as their production is integrated into our supply chain. In conclusion, the integration of internal or external cutting services into the supply chain is going to open up a world of possibilities for the sector and will radically improve its productivity and efficiency.



Juan José Colás Sales Manager

Strategically align with the client Accompanying clients both in terms of closeness and with regard to the development of their business is the objective of Lantek’s new Sales Manager. Juan José Colás, who has proven experience in foreign markets in the machine tool sector, is committed to continuing Lantek’s international growth. His calling is to be close to clients and to strengthen the Lantek Advanced Manufacturing concept, which allows for the scalability needed to assist the client in the future. 18,000 clients in over one hundred countries, offices in 15 countries and international business that makes up 88% of billing. Is the main challenge maintaining this leadership position? Exactly, but it is a beautiful challenge because we find ourselves in very interesting times. It is evident that Lantek was on the right path and this data is motivating. However, the message must be that we have no room for complacency, since we have a great responsibility because we understand that the market expects more from us. The objectives continue to be the same, but the environment is different. Connectivity and digitization are already realities and have changed the rules of the game. That’s why it is challenge for us to remaining in this leadership position. What are the key growth countries for Lantek?

What steps is Lantek taking to satisfy and take care of its clients overall? Our global presence is supported by data: We have over twenty offices and a presence in fifteen countries, alongside our network of distributors. We are about to launch a new subsidiary in the United Arab Emirates to be closer to the many clients that we already have in that area. A strategic perspective may even have us take further steps in this area of interest. What does Lantek Factory provide to the commercial strategy? Lantek Factory is a concept that we have internalized and which we have been talking about for a while. A solution by itself isn’t enough anymore; Lantek Factory provides something more, a package of solutions, in addition to knowledge for its efficient management. It cannot be ignored that Lantek Factory has a concept of platform architecture on which the connectivity and scalability needed to accompany clients into the future is based. The implementation of these systems allows the client to scale the business from where it is today to wherever it may take them.

Connectivity and digitization are already realities and have changed the rules of the game

These have to be the ones in which transformation is more evident and where advanced manufacturing solutions form part of day-to-day operations. In the case of Lantek, this coincides with those countries in which we are already established and our structures have a more consolidated position. What determines if Lantek is present in a country in one way or another?

There are several factors, but a fundamental one is the concentration of clients. From the point of view of development and of the situation the market life cycle is in, being close to our clients with one of our own offices or a subsidiary provides us with many advantages. But it is also important that they have the strategic vision of developing their business with advanced solutions.

Should Lantek be the essential ally, as a the precursor that it has been, to introduce its customers to the concept of Industry 4.0? Yes. Lantek plays a role which, in this case, goes beyond concepts such as mobility, an integrated management system, e-commerce, etc. The digitized and connected version of the factory, the change towards decentralized management models, of both machines and plants, forces us

to equip ourselves with tools of a particular intelligence that enable us to analyze our businesses and force us to look ahead of us more and less into the rearview mirror. The amount of data which passes through our systems is very large. The specificity of Lantek’s systems has been capable of collecting them, interpreting them, and building the smart algorithm to be able to work in a more planned manner. In what areas do you expect new business niches to arise? We have adopted a concept that is an extension of Lantek Factory, which is Lantek Advanced Manufacturing. In the sheet metal world, which is where Lantek operates, there are times when the number of orders doesn’t allow for a proper planning for materials or stock. Or, at the very least, it becomes complicated, as a large amount of data related to consumption, geometries, or clients is processed. Lantek’s solutions have the ability to integrate all of this data, manage it correctly, and develop tools that provide real intelligence to the plant or set of plants. And that is precisely where we see a clear niche opening up: multiple-plant management. What will the strategic alliance reached between Lantek and Bystronic mean for Lantek’s clients? Undoubtedly, what the client will receive is greater homogeneity when combining our areas of expertise, both that of Bystronic as a machine manufacturer and that of Lantek as a provider of plant management systems. In addition, they will reach maximum levels of efficiency in the implementation process. These months you’ve spent with the company, how would you define the added value that Lantek provides to its clients? First of all, the technology; not just in terms of means, but also in terms of the software itself. It is not trivial that Lantek is in the birthplace of the machine tool and that gives it a very particular DNA. In addition, the company has a knowledge base that includes all machine tool technology for sheet metal cutting. Finally, I would point out our global presence as another pillar. It is very revealing and inspiring to see these three points so clearly highlighted in Lantek.



RaĂşl Chopitea R&D Manager

Laser in hot stamping production lines

Car companies have been obligated to drastically reduce the weight of vehicles to meet the CO2 emission standards established in international regulations. Other challenges which large brands confront, such as cost reduction and safety, also seek to reduce the weight of all elements. In order to reduce the weight of the main structures, manufacturers have been obligated to introduce new materials and new BiW (Body in White) architectures. The arrival of light materials such as aluminum or fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) have not prevented steel from continuing to be in great demand, mainly for its good cost/weight ratio, especially in those parts of the car that require special mechanical safety characteristics. New technology for shaping metallic pieces makes it possible that, despite the continuous reduction in weights and thicknesses, the mechanical characteristics of pieces and the systems that group them together have improved. Hot stamping is a process in which ultra highstrength steel is shaped more efficiently than through traditional cold stamping. One of the main problems in shaping high-strength steel (HSS and UHSS) is the issues arising from the poor formability of these materials. This characteristic causes repeatability problems in the process (springback) and premature wear on the die and press due to the need for greater forming strength.

Laser technology has been incorporated into this process with the appearance of the latest generation of special formats (tailored blanks), hot-stamped pieces and special designs of pieces aimed at car safety. In addition to the use of lasers in preparations for welding, thermal treatment, hardener tempering or synthesized strength coatings, they have also recently been applied to cutting. Laser cutting occurs at the start of the format cutting process (blanking). Starting with a sheet metal coil feeding line, it passes through a roller and from there to a laser cutter cell. Formats of different geometries are rapidly cut at the same time that the contours are modified thanks to an offline CAD/CAM system that reduces, and even avoids, later cuts in 3D laser machines after shaping the piece. The final stage of the process is the trimming of the contour and the holes in hot-stamped pieces. These pieces can be hardened up to 200 Kpsi or higher. The cutting dies are spent and suffer damage when performing these operations. Laser machines with 3D heads are specialized in the automotive industry’s intensive production. The laser allows great flexibility in the process while at the same time fulfilling the requirements for high output and productivity demanded by the sector. Ultimately, this high output significantly reduces the cost of the piece.



Asier Ortiz CTO

Self-organizing machines Originally, industrial machines had a hardware interface. An operator mechanically configured the machine and handled it so that, after a sequence of actions, a product was made or an operation was carried out on the product. In a second stage, machines had electronic interfaces that made calibration and configuration possible. Once the machine was started up, the operator waited until it carried out the sequence of operations according to the parameters entered. This step resulted in a significant decrease in the error rate. Later on, the machine interface became computerized, allowing the machine to be prepared and configured in a prior process, reducing preparation times. In this method, the configuration and programming for the job was loaded into the machine, the operator started it up and then waited for the process to be completed. In this stage, the machine has an automaton — a combination of electronics and software — for receiving external instructions. One person organizes the work and is supported, or perhaps not, by management software. In the 4.0 era, the machine has software for receiving instructions in a high-level programming language that, in addition to preparing, configuring, loading, and executing the programming, makes it possible for the machine itself to determine when it will be free in advance. The machine will request new work assignments to be sent from the management system to meet its objective of being constantly in use. Furthermore, the machine itself will determine how it should produce the assigned work by requesting the sequence of instructions from an appropriate CAM system. Once the job is finished, the machine will send data on the process, the behavior of the machine, and the results

so they can be stored and analyzed to improve its own processes. These machines would be capable of communicating to each other to autonomously establish the network and flow needed for each product. They could also communicate with the services that would determine their programming. In this manner, we train the machines so that they are able to know the production work flow in real-time and request work load. This way, it is possible to accelerate or stop the process based on the current situation. It prevents last-minute reprogramming and preliminary tasks to move forward with the work and prepare the automation of the process, which are unnecessary in this environment. What role do we reserve for humans in this scenario where machines organize themselves to keep busy and execute and validate the tasks they are assigned? Here, a new type of operator emerges: the analyst-transformer. This professional must be capable of analyzing data obtained, observing the process during its execution, drawing conclusions that allow for improvements or corrections to be made, and, finally, implementing these changes, transforming production entirely. In this scenario, both machines and employees would be much more productive and efficient. They would be supported by cloud software systems that systematically manage processes associated with production. We would succeed in creating a selforganizing production plant.


news Lantek and Bystronic: Allies in innovation October 17, 2016 was the official date that Lantek and Bystronic entered into a long-term technological association and strategic global alliance. In this alliance, Lantek will provide Bystronic with manufacturing software systems and consultancy experience. The aim is for the companies to collaborate on developing an MES system that will seamlessly integrate with Bystronic’s software and mechanical systems. The result will be a solution that stands out for its cooperation with Bystronic systems, elevating them to the next level of productivity and efficiency. Lantek CEO Alberto Martínez said, “I am delighted that Lantek is now a technology partner with Bystronic, a symbol of innovation for tool machining manufacturers around the world. The Lantek technology portfolio is broad and varied, and Bystronic is world-renowned for its excellence in building machines. While innovation is part of the DNA of both companies, this association will help Bystronic clients transform the way they manage their Bystronic machines and will transcend the limits established in the sheet metal industry.” Bystronic CEO Alex Waser stated, “With Lantek, we have gained a strong partner that will help us expand our existing software portfolio with new solutions. This association will provide our clients with twice the amount of specialized knowledge. Together, Bystronic and Lantek will develop innovations that will guide users toward a digitally-connected manufacturing world.” Both Lantek and Bystronic celebrated their thirtieth anniversaries this past year, so the alliance is a milestone for both companies. For Lantek, the agreement supports its strategy centered on digitizing sheet metal companies around the world.


partners MAKRO Handels GmbH: Speed for the ‘extended workbench’ Earlier, MAKRO had worked with five different IT programmes – data was manually transferred for each new step of every process. Thies: “That was very error-prone.” Only the ERP software is left, which is used today to record data that are taken For small companies, MAKRO Handels-GmbH & Co. over by the Lantek Suite. Initially, the partners KG is the ‘extended workbench,’ says Roland Thies, explained the current situation, expectations, Head of Department for Steel Processing. “Quick and the possibilities of modern IT. Then Lantek quotation submissions and implementations are becoming more and more important.” Since 2014, suggested an individual total solution with only one CAD / CAM software for MAKRO has been working with all machines, and with MES a complete software solution elements and building blocks by Lantek. “We are sending out The entire operation is more quotations, can process for creating quotations and very transparent thanks warehouse management. more orders, and can monitor to Lantek Today, all systems have access the entire process at any time,” to one database. states Thies. “Delivery within 72 hours maximum.” MAKRO Handels GmbH can still keep their promise for laser cutting, thanks to Lantek’s software.

MAKRO offers everything in one piece: 60 employees in Itzehoe and Breitenburg Nordoe, Schleswig-Holstein, supply steel and tools, and carry out cutting and processing work. They work with Prima Power and Amada laser cutting machines, oxyfuel cutting machines from ESAB and Messer cutting, and Stako for oxyfuel and plasma work. All five are now controlled with one software – and all processes from quotation to production, billing and documentation, to warehouse management. “The entire operation is very transparent because we are operating everything from one interface,” says Thies.

The MES software sheet by Lantek is creating more transparency during production: “Before, we had a stack of paper with orders in it; now all orders can be viewed in the system,” Thies explains. “And I can quickly put them together using different factors.” The software helps to streamline time and costs. Feedback processes provide constant information about the current machine workload and use of materials. For tracing, individual order items can also be looked up. Thies: “Now a small quotation can be dealt with over the phone in just five minutes.”



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

Lantek Hint

Lantek Expert

Did you know that you can copy and move parts from one sheet to another? First, you must use the Copy or Move options, then select the parts, select the target sheet and, lastly, place the parts.

This way you can take advantage of complicated nestings without having to make them again.

If you would like to find out more tips, send us an email at:


facts Lantek is present in the main exhibitions around the globe




One step beyond

You are controlling everything about the production at your metal factory. Feel that you are able to perform at your best. Create real value for your customers providing them excellent sheet metal, tube, and profile products. Set your professional seal on your daily job, like a master craftsman. Go one step beyond with Lantek software.

Lantek Link - January 2017  
Lantek Link - January 2017