The global market situation for sheet metal manufacturing has changed significantly in the last few years. Today’s challenges are the constantly changing lot sizes, a higher number of individual assembly requests, the ever increasing quality requirements and a wider range of materials and thicknesses to process. Additionally, in order to stay relevant on the market, these challenges must be faced quickly and at the lowest price possible.
Amada’s own softwer suite, the VPSS 3i has the answer for these difficulties. The VPSS (Virtual Prototype Simulation System) is a system that provides a streamlined workflow from the initial 3d CAD assembly to the finished product.
The manufacturing of the product shown in the video is a very complex process. To reach its final state, it requires laser cutting, punching, bending as well as welding. The VPSS 3i provides an optimal solution for synchronizing these processes to save time and costs in manufacturing. We’re giving you a detailed description below about the required steps implemented in the VPSS 3i digital platform.[youtube]JKTAcUsaFC0[/youtube]
Functioning of the VPSS 3i
The process starts with the importing of the CAD model to the Production Designer converter software that uses reverse engineering to disassemble the original CAD file into flat and solid files. These parts are then used to generate an unfold model which can be imported into the Amada software system. The system supports native Solidworks, Solid Edge and CATIA files as well. This process allows the designer to run feasibility tests and machine simulations right at the start of the project, eliminating every possible error ahead of time.
Weld CAM, Bend CAM, Blank CAM
The unfold model is then processed in software modules. These modules automatically generate each of the necessary programs specifically for the machines used in the manufacturing process. Weld CAM and Bend CAM also run physical simulations to check for any collisions or other types of error. The Blank CAM, performing the last steps of the process, has complete material and tool management through a central database. The module generates an NC code that can be easily transferred to the blanking machine via a barcode system or a digital direct link.
Cutting, bending, welding
With having all the necessary information, the production can start, now with the usual sequence of blanking, bending and finally welding. The data is processed in the central database which transfers cutting information to the Amada 3015 AJ fiber laser cutting machine, punching information to the EM-3612 ZRB punching machine, the bending program to the HG 1003 ATC bending machine and the welding program to the FANUC robot equipped FLW 4000 M3 fiber laser welding machine.
Achievements of the VPSS 3i
The key to the success of the VPSS system is the constant data link between the separate software modules, the machines and the central database. This database stores every part, machine, tool, material and technology related information in a consistent way and distributes the data quickly and reliably. Utilizing such a huge mass of data allowed Amada to create optimized algorithms and automated production workflows that helped increasing the efficiency and performance of sheet metal manufacturing.