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FEBRUARY 2021

05 Close to our clients, always

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Solutions Efficient quoting

14

Interview Wiechmann Ketten

T H E

M A G A Z I N E

F O R

S H E E T

M E TA L

E X P E R T S


FRONT COVER

SUSCRIPTIONS

Anonymus

Marketing Department marketing@lantek.com

LANTEK MARKETING TEAM Copy, editing, layout and design: Diana Sánchez Patricia Ruiz de Sabando Editor in Chief: Juan José Colás Head of Global Sales & Marketing

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

www.lantek.com CONTRIBUTORS FOR THIS ISSUE. Our thanks to: Dan Taylor, Managing Director of Kerf Developments, Dimitri Manolis, Managing Director of Alfasolid (Greece), Michael Sanders, Authorized Officer of Wiechmann, and Hinrich Böhlje, Operations Manager Sheet Metal at Wiechmann (Germany), Beate Kramp and Ina Biehl-v. Richthofen, (Communicaton Specialists, rfw. kommunikation, Germany) Lantek employees: Carlos García Villate, Christoph Lenhard, Diana Sanchez, Enrique Parama, Francisco Pérez, Hannes Andresen, Igor Temprano, Javier Román, Jose Antonio Lorenzo, Joseba Montoya, Joseba Pagaldai, Juan José Colás, Patricia Ruiz de Sabando, Rob Powell, Rodrigo Argandoña, Rubén Segura and Miguel Ruiz de Alegría.

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index 05editorial Close to our clients, always.

10solutions Efficient quoting

20technologies Reinventing coil-fed laser cutting

26news new partner in Hungary

36services Lantek Hint. Did you know...?

06main topic Reinventing client proximity in times of Covid-19

14interview Michael Sanders Hinrich Böhlje Wiechmann Ketten

24innovation Machine connectivity

32partners Kerf Developments

38facts EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit

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05

editorial Close to our clients, always. When we write the history of this decade, 2020 will be remembered as the year that marked a turning point, imposing important changes on our lives and on our jobs. Rapidly understanding these new requirements, adapting to the circumstances, and creating opportunities is fundamental for overcoming moments of uncertainty like this one. This is something we are highly aware of at Lantek. No company can be entirely sure of the exact destination that these changes will lead us, however, we all know that we must be close to our clients. Now more than ever, clients are seeking confidence and solutions. Only by being close and becoming an extension of their team can we succeed. Juan José Colás Head of Global Sales & Marketing

No two clients are alike, they don’t all set off from the same starting point, and that’s why it’s important to carefully analyze the new normal, the conditions it implies, and not allow the current situation to prevent us from moving forward. Sharing challenges and being ready for the future has always been our commitment to clients by equipping them with the best technology, providing solutions that lead to real answers, and accompanying them in their journey towards a seamless digital transformation. We will continue to do our bit to help them achieve success in which, by allusion, we also share.

The future begins here!

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main topic

Reinventing client proximity in times of Covid-19 Rodrigo Argandoña, Lantek CCO

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main topic


COVID-19 has evidently marked a before and after in many areas, from healthcare to social worlds, including that of business, forcing companies to change the way in which we work, both with our team and with our clients, the most important aspect of any business Starting point In December 2019, we were aware of COVID-19, but nobody expected it to affect the world quite the way that it has. The pandemic brought with it unexpected and fast-moving variables that forced us to review and adapt processes, as well as make decisions on the fly. In the first few weeks after lock-down we were at the mercy of improvisation in many sectors. Everything seemed new. So, how do we draw up a valid strategy for a multinational company like Lantek which also needs to consider the unique needs of each market in which it operates? How do we approach our clients without putting the health of individuals at risk? How do we maintain active listening and productivity in these periods of practical standstill caused by lock-down? Fortunately, the successful strategy of our colleagues in Asia, especially those in China, was a valuable contribution to begin preparing a contingency plan that was launched in February, foreseeing the events that were to come. We adopted good practices from them, such as the implementation of detailed online training courses for both basic and advanced users. In South Korea, a country not so drastically impacted by the pandemic, the Lantek team managed to continue working in the same way as before the outbreak: on-site work at the office, visits to clients and on-site technical support at installations, training, etc. Everything just as before but with increased safety and hygiene measures.

In the first few weeks after lock-down we were at the mercy of improvisation in many sectors. Everything seemed new

In Europe, also at the client’s side While Lantek adapted and responded to the events quickly, the health and safety of our employees and clients was always our main priority. With these aspects covered, the next step was to design a contingency and business continuity plan.

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Lantek implemented other best practices to reinvent the concept of client proximity

We would be mistaken if we said that this transition towards a new way of doing business was straightforward, however, Lantek’s operating model adapted to this ever-changing environment with a high level of resiliency and efficiency. Lantek implemented other best practices to reinvent the concept of “client proximity.” No two situations are alike, so we’ll examine a few of them below: The United Kingdom: with a good track record and ample experience in carrying out remote installations, the lock-down didn’t disrupt our work and the team adapted quickly and smoothly to the

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main topic

situation. In fact, as the Lantek UK team explains, “Since lock-down began, around 90 remote installations and updates have been successfully completed for our clients.” Proximity was also reinforced with webinar sessions for clients, old and new, with the aim of allowing them to gain maximum benefit from the situation in which we all found ourselves, as soon as possible. Despite the urgency to adapt, Lantek was able to meet its clients’ requirements, even guiding them in the configuration of different remote access systems to help them continue with their work.


Spain: an intense cycle of webinars for clients was initiated, an action that was very well received. As for support activities, these were provided with the same working hours and intensity, combining office work with teleworking, while remote installations increased slightly. We must also highlight that, for the very first time, we performed a remote update of a complex installation of solutions. And COVID-19 crossed the Atlantic When the virus spread, the Lantek branches in America continued their actions of supporting customers and installing new clients remotely as they did before the pandemic. With support from the central office, we were able to continue being “at the client’s side” through various connectivity platforms. Faced with this situation and the conditions imposed by the “new normal,” once again, Lantek is providing clients with solutions the best way we know how: adapting so that work never stops and production increases.

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solutions Efficient quoting ARE YOU BEING EFFICIENT WITH YOUR QUOTES? ARE A HIGH PERCENTAGE OF THEM REJECTED? DO YOU KNOW THE REASONS FOR THESE REJECTIONS? Javier Román, Product Manager The topic of this article is efficient quoting in the world of sheet metal cutting, above all, for clients that are subcontractors. First, we must clarify what a quote is. Broadly speaking, a quote is an attempt to predict the future and find out how much it will cost to make one or several pieces, when you will be able to deliver them, how much transportation will cost, and the final price to set so that the client accepts your offer and you still have a healthy profit margin. It can be quite a difficult balance to achieve. This means that companies need someone with many years of experience to be able to generate accurate quotes, especially when the manufacturing requirements are complex (low tolerances, high quality cutting, difficult folds, multiple secondary operations such as welding or assembly, etc.)

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So, what does the efficiency of a quote mean? The efficiency is the capacity to perform said task using as few resources possible in as little time possible. Lantek has several quoting systems for this, from complex Excel tables exported from the CAM system to quoting tasks with secondary operations and the possibility of performing manual nesting without exiting the quoting module. By means of its tool iQuoting Lantek is currently striving to improve the facility of use and response speeds even more using cloud technologies that allow access to computing power that is, in theory, infinite as it is scaled horizontally (including more nodes) instead of vertically (swapping the computer for another more powerful one). In addition to efficiency, effectiveness is another aspect, which is the ability to achieve a desired effect, albeit expected or desired. It is also important to have high precision when predicting costs and for this prediction to be consistently maintained over time, regardless of the person putting together the quote. So, how can we make your quoting process more efficient and effective? Lantek is addressing quoting challenges with prediction models that use datadriven Machine Learning methods. As we said at the beginning, creating quotes is about predicting the future, so the ideal solution is to let the data modules do the work for us. We can predict the most suitable machine for a certain part, the amount of scrap that will be produced, the delivery time, the most probable discount for a specific client and quote, and the margin that a sales representative can apply to the final price. All this using cloud services and virtual assistants that guide the user in generating a quote meaning that they don’t need 12 solutions


to have many years of experience under their belt. What’s more, all of the quotes will be accurate and consistent as they no longer depend on the sales representative. Without these systems, there is potential for each sales representative to make a different quote for the same request. We not only want to be more efficient, but we also want to make quoting more accurate and standardized. With Lantek Analytics, you can see the cost variance between what is quoted and the real production costs and, subsequently, adjust quotes upwards or downwards. If we add to this the possibility of analyzing the reasons why quotes are rejected, the result is a feedback system that continually improves the process.

One sales channel that is breaking into the sheet metal cutting sector for subcontractors is online shops. With Metalshop, Lantek offers a solution that allows you to create fully automated quotes 24/7 without human intervention. Metalshop directly connects to iQuoting and, together, they create a quote following settings that the client can adjust. We can’t imagine a better time to use Lantek systems to generate accurate quotes than the one we find ourselves in today. The future is exciting and brings with it many disruptive developments. We’ll keep you informed on our progress.

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interview

“We also deliver in two hours“ Michael Sanders & Hinrich Böhlje, Wiechmann Ketten Transparent and specific processes in sheet metal processing

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Wiechmann Ketten- u. Kettenräderbau GmbH in Edewecht, Lower Saxony, processes around 8,000 tons of raw material annually in its sheet metal processing division to produce parts for a wide range of purposes and industries. Some are also assembled into complete components, including interim external processing. With Lantek software, all processes are always transparent, manageable, and traceable. An interview with Authorized Officer Michael Sanders and Operations Manager Sheet Metal Hinrich Böhlje (picture).

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There is no process in sheet metal processing that Lantek software doesn’t map

The name of your company does not directly indicate sheet metal processing. Michael Sanders: That’s true. In 1963 Otto Wiechmann, founded the company to produce milling chains, digging tools, and chain sprockets for trenchers used to lay drainage pipes, electricity, gas, and water lines in the ground. Today, we export these products worldwide. In 1996, his son Andre Wiechmann took over management and, shortly afterwards, invested in a laser cutting machine to modernize the chain production. This quickly developed into a second mainstay: sheet metal processing. We now have four Trumpf laser cutting machines, four Lissmac machines for edge rounding, three LVD press brakes, and one NC punching machine from Amada. With 50 employees, we now process about 8,000 tons of steel per year over an area of more than 10,000 square meters.

How do you do it? Sanders: In our warehouse we always have about 500 tons of material in stock. This is aluminum, steel, and stainless steel in various alloys and thicknesses from 0.5 to 25 millimeters. We also have a large, finished parts store where we keep up to five batch sizes, each of which can contain 30,000 to 50,000 parts. How do you keep track of it all? Sanders: For about three years now, we’ve been using Lantek software to control all our processes, including the management of our finished parts store. Due to their manufacturer-independent operating method, we can integrate all our machines from different manufacturers. And there is no process in sheet metal processing that the software doesn’t map.

Who are your customers?

How did you discover Lantek?

Sanders: Anyone who needs a lasered or punched part, as well as a hardened or even welded part. This ranges from a corporate group from the food or wear parts industry to a neighbor who comes into our office and wants a new bell plate. We’re here, on site and offer help wherever the customer needs it.

Sanders: Thanks to our Technical Manager Hinrich Böhlje, who joined us five years ago.

But custom-made products are not your main business, are they? Sanders: We have framework agreements with well-known companies. These run for 12 to 18 months and are called off in specific batch sizes. If you order by 12:15pm, we’ll deliver the next day. Which explains how sometimes a full 40-ton truck goes out. But sometimes customers are in a hurry - we also deliver in two hours.

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Hinrich Böhlje: I’ve known and admired Lantek’s software ever since I worked with the first laser systems 20 years ago, which ran with the Lantek Expert nesting module. Initially, Wiechmann was only looking for a software solution to combine parts for sheet metal processing. We wanted to start with Lantek Expert. But then we saw in just how many ways digitization can still help us and the matter gained such momentum that a completely closed system with Lantek was finally created. This has brought us quite far on the path towards Industry 4.0.


Michael Sanders

As an end-to-end solution, the software accompanies the orders through production, into shipping, and up to the creation of the delivery bill

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We want to work quickly and on time. This is why it’s important for us to be able to set the delivery date for each order and the system then uses this information to calculate the times for all work steps

What exactly does this system look like? Sanders: It starts with the quote. When a customer makes a request, it is created in seconds with the software. It accesses valid data and calculates realistic prices. If the customer accepts the quote, it can be turned into an order with just one click, which is then sent to production planning and manufactured by us. Böhlje: The software’s workshop manager maps all 19 possible process steps such as laser cutting, punching, edge rounding, forming, and machining. Each machine is displayed as a separate work center. This also includes subcontracted work for parts that leave the factory and come back to be reintegrated into the process. As an end-to-end solution, the software accompanies the orders through production, into shipping, and up to the creation of the delivery bill. We then export this to SAGE, since our overall accounting for both divisions is based on this program. What are the advantages of the way you work today? Sanders: Before Lantek, we did our calculations with Excel and everyone calculated their own prices. In addition, everything was done and documented by hand - every order, all processing times, all customer data. We had the documents in folders. We’ve been able to get rid of all of them. Today, we only have to enter the data into the system once and can access it for each work step - and also

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for repeat orders or future orders. For each offer the system provides the guiding line, according to which the calculation is made and, if accepted, the production is also carried out. Each calculation is made for specific machines, which are then also used. Böhlje: In the past we didn’t have the overall perspective. The continuous feedback after each work step means improved traceability. We always know how far an order has progressed, enabling us to speed up on an individual basis if necessary. For short-term and urgent orders, we no longer have to ask in the workshop. We enter them into the system, which automatically searches for suitable machines. Given that all the processes are much more transparent, we can also use free capacity to produce for stock, where we now have a better overview. This brought great advantages for the management of our framework agreements, which require processing and managing hundreds of production orders per year. How have your employees accepted the change? Böhlje: It’s not easy, of course, to give up a lifetime of habits. Accordingly, we didn’t change everything at once, but with the support of Lantek, and while the system was running, we gradually worked our way forward from nesting and programming the laser systems to preparing the quotation. This took about a year. Today, the system has been accepted.


The matter gained such momentum that a completely closed system with Lantek was finally created. This has brought us quite far on the path towards Industry 4.0.

How important is optimal material utilization for you?

What does the digital future hold for your company?

Böhlje: If necessary, we can optimally combine orders to have as little residual sheet metal as possible. But this is not where our priorities lie. We want to work quickly and on time. This is why it’s important for us to be able to set the delivery date for each order and the system then uses this information to calculate the times for all work steps.

Sanders: We want to reach even more customers faster and more directly. This is why we’re currently thinking about creating an online offer with the Lantek MetalShop module. We would then be available around the clock from anywhere.

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technologies Reinventing coil-fed laser cutting Francisco Pérez, Director of the OEM Channel

Although it may seem relatively new, coil-fed cutting 2D parts is a reasonably old practice and isn’t, for that matter, a process linked to laser. In fact, the first coil-fed machines, instead of precut standard formats, were plasma machines and, more specifically, machines aimed at the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning sector (HVAC) given that they mainly used thin layers, 0.6 – 1.2mm, generally supplied in coils. However, with the rise of fiber laser, its cost savings, its “ease” in terms of manufacturing and, subsequently, its drop in price and popularization, this market niche has paved the way providing quite a few advantages over the conventional laser that uses pre-cut formats and has a fixed work table.

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Here, we will focus on cutting with laser technology, although everything could all be applied to any 2D cutting technology (primarily plasma). We must remember that these machines are aimed at a specific market niche, that of thin sheet metal and with high production levels. Continuous format cutting (coil), improves on some problems encountered with the conventional laser, including: Optimization Of Time With conventional machines, using standard sheet metal formats (e.g., 3000mm x 1500mm) and thin layers, the existing laser capacities enable high-speed cutting (above 8000mm/min). This means that the time for changing the sheet metal


Continuous format cutting (coil), improves on some problems encountered with the conventional laser

(table change) in regard to the cutting time of a full nesting (a piece of sheet metal) is sometimes over 30%. In other words, a third of the total cycle period is used for changing the sheet metal. Coil-fed machines don’t require as much material handling time given that they feed the cutting area continually. Optimization Of Material: Since it’s an “unlimited” format, the scrap metal left over from pre-cut formats is reused in the next work area. Depending on the types and mixtures of parts, you can save as much as 10% of the material. Fixed-bed machines limit the maximum length of the parts to the size of the beds, in a coil-fed machine, this limitation is eliminated allowing for parts of “any length” to be cut. Optimization Of Costs: Coil-fed laser cutting reduces the price of the material compared to purchasing it in formats (blanks). If we add to this the optimization of time, we find ourselves with a system that is well-suited for large volumes of repetitive pieces.

But, just as with any new process, there are specific questions that need to be answered: -Evacuation of parts: If the sheet metal (coil) is moved, along with the parts that have already been cut, this can cause the material to collide with the machine’s surroundings. -Evacuation of scrap generated: During the cutting process, mainly when cutting holes, pieces of scrap are generated that may, once again, cause the material to collide with the machine’s surroundings. -Coil changing time: Despite the time improvements achieved by this process, if you had to change the material and/or thickness of the parts regularly, changing the coil may become a bottleneck. Each manufacturer has developed their own “solutions” to these first two issues: hatches for evacuations, micro-fasteners, skeleton destruction, etc., and it will be interesting to see which methods are most popular in the market. Continuing with the type of machine developed for the continuous cutting of material (coil), there are two groups:

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Coil-fed laser cutting reduces the price of the material compared to purchasing it in formats (blanks).

-Machines that cut with the material stationary: These machines unwind a section of coil and supply a work area. At this work area, the machine works in the same way as a normal fixed or closedbed machine, moving the bridge and the head in XY. When all the parts have been cut in the work area (some parts may have been partially cut because they are longer than the work area or they are between two areas), the machine unwinds the coil again and moves/repositions the sheet metal. -Machines that cut with the material moving “on the fly”: These are obviously the most productive machines, but they are also the most complex/ expensive.

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Typically, given the fixed forward speed of the coil, at the work area, the bridge moves with the cutting head in XY, making high cutting rates possible. To achieve higher cutting rates, these machines have been equipped with two or three cutting heads allowing each head to cut a different part of the same piece simultaneously and achieving very high cutting rates. These machines were destined to compete with traditional press cutting “blanking” lines. In fact, they are often called “laser blanking” and they have been mainly seen in the automobile, OEM, and TIER1 markets. It should be emphasized that, given


We find ourselves with a system that is well-suited for large volumes of repetitive pieces

the versatility of laser, this solution can be applied to any sector that requires a high cutting rate of parts. -There is also a small group of machines where the cutting head is fixed to a shaft and only moves in a cross-cutting direction when the sheet metal moves forward, and the sheet metal/coil moves forwards and backward. These machines are, obviously, more cost-effective, but have failed to have much of an impact on the market.

Lantek offers programming to help get the most out of coil-cutting machine’s capabilities. Once again, software plays an essential role given that it not only controls but also provides the process with sufficient intelligence so that it can connect the different agents that intervene on the line.

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innovation Machine connectivity - Machine connect José Antonio Lorenzo, Software Engineer

One of the main enablers of Industry 4.0 is the ability to connect to the machines in the plant and extract information about their status, their parameters, the work they are doing, and so on. Machine connectivity is vital to realizing the Industry 4.0 vision because it is the first link in the data processing cycle. If we have data, we can process it to obtain information which can enable us to better understand what is happening in the plant. This leads us to take actions aimed at improving productivity, which may eventually require extracting new data and/or metrics from our machines, thus closing the cycle. From a technical point of view, this first link is the most difficult. Once the data has been

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collected, completing the rest of the cycle is reduced to the issue of having the right software and expertise. However, the first step is usually the most complicated. Why? The machine tool ecosystem is extremely complex, with hundreds of manufacturers, highly specialized machines, and a multitude of features. Manufacturers are focused on making their machines faster and more accurate and have traditionally regarded connectivity as having lower importance. Fortunately, this is changing. An increasing number of machines incorporate some type of standard connectivity, such as the well-known OPC-UA. Despite all the difficulties associated with the pandemic, this year will see the release of the


Machine connectivity is vital to realizing the Industry 4.0 vision

UMATI standard which will be a major breakthrough in terms of machine connectivity. UMATI provides a standard vocabulary for communication with machine tools through OPC-UA and will undoubtedly be one of the standards that future machines will incorporate as an option. Meanwhile, the need for connectivity is a reality right now, and the installed base of machines does not yet incorporate such advanced connectivity mechanisms. It is therefore necessary to connect all these machines to continue taking advantage of the investments that were made in them without missing the Industry 4.0 train and the increase in productivity that it promises. Without losing sight of the evolution of the UMATI standard, Lantek is already working on offering its customers connectivity solutions that are perfectly integrated with the software it already produces. Lantek is a facilitator of the implementation of Industry 4.0 in the sheet metal cutting sector, and as such we provide the tools to make it much easier for our customers to achieve that first link we talked about at the beginning: machine connectivity.

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A new partner in Hungary providing their vast experience in sheet metal working Lamitec Kft. is Lantek’s newest partner in Hungary. The newly established company, based in Budaörs, to the west of the capital Budapest, specializes in sales, automation, and support of CNC sheet metal working machines utilizing various technologies.

Lamitec might be new, but their stakeholders are not amateurs. The company originated in 2019 from GE-CO Hungary which, over the past 22 years, has developed into one of the leading machine tool manufacturers in the Hungarian market. Within four years, the sheet metal working department, which was created in 2015, has grown to the point where it now operates independently. As a subsidiary, Lamitec dedicates itself exclusively to sheet metal working to meet the increasing needs of customers with tailor-made offers and state-of-the-art processing machines, to offer them a comprehensive service, and to also find suitable partners to this end. One of these partners is Lantek.

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“We see ourselves as a technology integrator rather than a company selling machines,” says Tamás Kutnyánszky, Managing Director of Lamitec. “We want to help our customers unlock the full potential of their cutting machines, and a key factor is how they use digital information.” Industry 4.0 is on everyone’s lips in Hungary as well. However, before the smart factory can become a reality, many Hungarian companies need to catch up in terms of production management to first increase productivity. Lamitec wants to close this gap by using Lantek’s software. Kutnyánszky describes the potential: “Companies receive 2D or 3D files from their customers and must therefore be able to calculate quotes in the shortest possible time.


We see ourselves as a technology integrator rather than a company selling machines

In addition, they must be able to manage the orders in production and simultaneously reduce the amount of residual sheet metal to a minimum. The better they use the available data, the more efficiently they work. So, it’s obvious what companies need to focus on: Software makes the difference.” Currently, Lamitec mainly equips their laser cutting and punching machines from Ermkasan with Lantek software, and also offers it as an option for the manufacturer’s plasma cutting machines. “Lantek’s strength lies in its international background, quick response times, excellent sales team, and technical support,” says Kutnyánszky, explaining why Lantek was chosen.

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Increased presence in Southern Europe AlfaSolid is our new sales partner in Greece and Cyprus AlfaSolid is Lantek’s new partner for Greece and Cyprus. The Greek company is a pioneer and expert in the field of 3D mechanical design, particularly in the industrial environment, production and tooling, medical technology, household appliances and transport. With this agreement, an important alliance is being forged between two companies whose expertise and experience complement each other. It includes all Lantek CAD/ CAM products for which AlfaSolid provides sales, installation, and support. With the addition of AlfaSolid into its global distribution network, Lantek, a pioneer in the worldwide digital transformation of the sector, strengthens its position in the Southern European market. With AlfaSolid, Lantek now has distributors in over two dozen locations worldwide. They complement Lantek’s 20 offices in 14 countries and consolidate the global network for the service and availability of Lantek’s expertise to more than 24,800 customers in over 100 countries. “As part of this agreement, we have initiated market research into our range of ERP and MES solutions for companies in the sheet metal processing sector, with which we intend to be their technological partner on the road toward Industry 4.0,” says Juan José Colas, Sales and Marketing Director at Lantek. Dimitri Manolis, General Manager of AlfaSolid, is “convinced that a partnership will enable us to provide our customers with better and more advanced solutions - especially in these times of great uncertainty.”

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solutions


This partnership will enable us to provide our customers with better and more advanced solutions – especially in these times of great uncertainty

About AlfaSolid Founded in 2006 by Dimitri Manolis, AlfaSolid is the distributor of SOLIDWORKS and SolidCAM in Greece and Cyprus. The high-performing team provides the Greek industry with SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD /CAM /CAE and PDM solutions, technical support, consulting, and training. AlfaSolid’s objective is to help Greek companies to develop and produce higher quality and more innovative products and to bring them to the market faster. AlfaSolid made SOLIDWORKS its first choice as a CAD solution in Greece and Cyprus - and now Lantek is to become number one in its field.

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More than 1,100 new customers worldwide Increase in the first half of 2020 to 24,800 – Advantage of remote access. Lantek consolidates its international leading position with an increase of 1,100 new customers in the first half of 2020. Lantek gained a particularly large number of new customers in Asia, with China and Korea, followed by Europe, especially the North and East. Western Europe maintained strong growth and picked up speed in May and June. In America, the USA had the greatest impact.

The increase to a total of 24,800 customers is a further milestone - especially in these difficult times. The COVID-19 pandemic and rigid protective measures in many countries to combat it had paralyzed or, at best, slowed down production in the sheet metal processing industry. “We are very pleased with the way the market is accepting our new 2020 software version, and also with the trust that customers are placing in us to continue their business while pushing ahead with their digital transformation,” says Juan José Colás, Sales and Marketing Director at Lantek. “These are

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solutions

the fruits of the endeavors of the entire Lantek family. Both employees and partners have once again shown enormous professionalism and an absolute willingness to cooperate by adapting to the exceptional circumstances.” Even in the pandemic and under the conditions of the “new normal,” Lantek is providing solutions to the unsettled sheet metal processing market in the way the company does best: adaptable, so that operations are not interrupted, and production continues to increase.


Even in the pandemic and under the conditions of the “new normal”, Lantek is providing solutions to the unsettled sheet metal processing market

Accordingly, Lantek is following the trend towards working from home, enabling both its own employees and its customers to continue their work wherever they are via the Internet. The new 2020 version is prepared for all outcomes and can run in various virtualization scenarios. This means that a customer’s technical and sales staff can continue to work with Lantek products even when not on site.

Likewise, Lantek can support its customers at any time and from anywhere. The innovations of the Lantek 360 cloud platform make all of this possible. “The wise use of technological breakthroughs is part of smart production. Customers expect this type of service and Lantek is ready to provide it at any time,” stresses Colás.

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partners Kerf Developments and Lantek collaboration delivers industry leading plasma technology KERF DEVELOPMENTS HAS BEEN BUILDING PLASMA, OXY-FUEL, AND WATERJET CUTTING MACHINES SINCE 2002.

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The company originally started as a service-based organization repairing and upgrading a broad range of profile cutting machinery. It was the experiences gained working on such a varied range of equipment that formed the basis of the current machine range. Dan Taylor, Managing Director, explains the transition to machine building, “We have a considerable amount of experience in the industry and we could see which machine configurations gave the best and most reliable performance. The machines that we build here in the workshop in Rochdale have been designed by our team of engineers which, with Kerf being completely independent, means that we can select best in class products for our turnkey solutions from leading global partners such as Lincoln Electric and Burny.” In addition to offering a standard range of profile cutting machines, Kerf works with its customers to specify a customized machine that matches their own individual application. They design and build machines up to 4m wide and of any length with a combination of plasma and oxy-fuel heads. The smallest machine the company has supplied has a working area of 2.5m x 1.25m. The largest has a huge working area of 40m x 4m with multiple bridges. A choice of plasma systems can be supplied with the machines ranging in cut capability from 1mm up to 90mm. For oxy-fuel applications machines can cut up to 150mm thick as standard or considerably more if the application requires it. As part of their continued development Kerf needed to evaluate the capabilities of various CAD/CAM and nesting systems as this was becoming an everincreasing requirement from its customers. Following evaluation of several of the leading systems the one that came out on top for the engineering team at Kerf was the Lantek Expert system. As a world leader in software for the sheet metal and fabrication sector Lantek now has over 24,800 customers in over 100 countries and 20 offices in 14 countries. Its Expert software is supported by a team of engineers around the world and is developed at the company’s Technological Excellence Center in Bilbao, Spain. Lantek has trained Kerf’s engineers so that they can provide training and first line support. Dan Taylor says, “All our field service engineers have a copy of Lantek Expert software as part of their toolbox so that they can provide an instant response to any queries. Lantek provides regular and valuable updates to the software and are always on hand to provide online support to fine tune systems and work in line with our customers’ needs.”

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Lantek provides regular and valuable updates to the software and are always on hand to provide online support to fine tune systems and work in line with our customers’ needs

For offline programming of the cutting machines, CAD data can be imported directly into Lantek Expert, parts nested to optimize material usage, and the cutting path automatically created to provide a very fast and simple way of keeping the machine running and achieving high productivity levels and short delivery times. As part of the collaboration, Lantek has worked closely with the engineering team at Kerf to perfect its UltraSharp technology which delivers high quality parts with a square edge, better quality edges, and

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1:1 hole sizes, for example, a 5mm hole in 5mm material, a capability which would previously have been impossible on a plasma machine. For the user, this capability makes it possible to use much lower cost plasma technology rather than laser technology to manufacture parts and is especially effective for thicker components. Dan Taylor adds, “The UltraSharp technology involves internally enhanced software protocols, accelerating and decelerating the torch dynamics on tight contours and holes, controlling the power, gas pressure and flow, amongst other things, and also automatically


It is one of the best investments we have made. We transfer CAD data directly into Lantek, nest the parts for best yield, easily and quickly generating the CNC program

selecting special lead in and lead out configurations. The result is a constant and true arc with no lag between the top and bottom of the material being cut. All the parameters required to achieve this are built into our technology tables making it easy to achieve high quality components direct from the CAD data.” One of Kerf Developments’ customers, Pressed Flights based in Littleborough, manufactures screw conveyors. The shape of the screw in its flat state is complex and, in many cases varies along the length of the screw depending on the material being transported. Previously these parts were subcontracted for laser and waterjet cutting. Now the company has a Kerf RUR2500p machine with UltraSharp cutting technology and Lantek Expert software and carries out all the cutting in house achieving ± 0.25mm

general tolerance. Mark Cryer, Managing Director at Pressed Flights says, “It is one of the best investments we have made. We transfer CAD data directly into Lantek, nest the parts for best yield, easily and quickly generating the CNC program. The Kerf UltraSharp plasma is very reliable producing augers which are spot on in size making it a vital part of our operation. After sales service is excellent from both companies.” Dan Taylor concludes, “The 14-year collaboration with Lantek has enabled us to deliver industry leading technology to our customers as part of our turnkey machine packages configured to meet the demands of each client’s business. Our focus is on providing excellent service, as it has been from the start. Lantek has the same mindset making it a valuable partner for the delivery of a full process offering.”

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services LANTEK Hint Did you know that you can perform the nesting and machining of all the parts in a job using sheet metal formats that are not in the database? Simply activate the Pre-nesting option and the system will nest the pieces in sheet metal of fixed widths and variable lengths (useful for companies that use coils) or in sheet metal of variable widths and lengths (useful for companies that use the sheet metal format best suited for the job) always utilizing the best formats in any case.

HINTS If you want to find out more tips, send us an email at: marketing@lantek.com

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EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit The first EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit, which took place online from 27 –30 October 2020, provided the first meeting platform this year for the international sheet metal working community. More than 5,500 registered participants from 91 countries have used the opportunity to log on to the platform during the four virtual event days to network, watch webinar content live and on demand, view product demonstrations and visit virtual stands of exhibitors. During the event, seven live presentations took place, watched by 700 participants in total. OnDemand, all seven presentations had 1,807 views.

Over 5,500 participants from 91 countries, 4,219 of them were registered visitors

55% of visitors are decision makers and co-decision makers

37% of visitors stated that they haven‘t visited EuroBLECH before

Average time spent on platform: 54 minutes per session during live event, 13,890 visitor sessions in total

On average, visitors have visited the platform on two days

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LANTEK opens its trade fair calendar in Asia LANTEK INAUGURATES ITS EXHIBITION PROGRAM WITH TWO TRADE FAIRS IN CHINA: BOTH IN SEPTEMBER AND WITH AMPLE HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDELINES IN PLACE. Considered the largest professional manufacturing event in Southern China, SIMM 2020, which took place in Shenzhen from September 1 – 4, has become the main meeting point during this COVID-19 era. It saw an exchange of ideas on advanced technology and customized manufacturing solutions and was attended by industry experts, the main companies in the sector, and top-level technical profiles from Asian countries.

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The second show attended was CIIF 2020, taking place in Shanghai from September 15 – 19. This trade fair is considered the best platform for presenting and promoting integration between the manufacturing industry and information technology to guide companies towards digitization, networks, and intelligence. CIIF covers the entire industrial chain from basic materials, advanced manufacturing equipment, and integral industrial solutions. “We couldn’t stop attending these events, where Lantek showed its latest software solutions for improving productivity and simplifying industrial processes, as well as offering technical assistance on machine-tool technology and sheet metal cutting, something that is in the company’s DNA. For us, these trade fairs are a key showcase for continuing to expand our network of clients and collaborators and strengthen relationships with our clients. Especially after these terribly “difficult” months that we have been through,” highlights Genqi Liu, Sales Manager at Lantek China.

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TECHNOLOGY MEETS EFFICIENCY CAD/CAM MES ERP +

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