Major Technological Steps For RADAN 2016
The latest release of sheet metal software, RADAN, contains a number of major technological steps to improve CAD/CAM, Radbend, Radm-ax and Radtube functions.
Also, there is now a closer link between those individual modules, including a new style of program and file-type icons, giving a more unified feel.
Product Manager Olaf Körner says: “RADAN is actually a whole suite of connected products. For example, there is a major connection between 3D in CAD/CAM and the Radbend press brake software. When manufacturers unfold a model they need to know how the bend process will be affected further down the production line. And when we bring in a 3D file we don’t know what’s in it; there might be a tube, or something that needs to go to the Radm-ax 5-axis laser system. So technologically it made sense to bring the products much closer together.”
And for the first time, Radm-ax and Radtube use CLS licensing, bringing them in line with other RADAN products from Vero Software.
The CAD/CAM module includes four major updates:
• Interactive auto-tooling.
“When manufacturers look at their more complex parts they make a decision on where to use auto-tooling. In previous releases of RADAN, auto-tooling didn’t give the option for specific tweaking. But RADAN 2016 allows users to specify which areas of the parts and nest to automatically tool, including individual variations of the parameters, such as the settings for a complicated aperture. This means you can be much more creative with the automatic tooling routines.”
• Support for the latest 2D/3D file formats.
All file converters are brought up to date to the latest versions. And new functionality provides the ability to bring in additional information about the part, including material and thickness.
• New side panel.
RADAN 3D now analyses the model straight after importing it, showing a bill of material-style parts list in a panel on the right side of the screen. “As well as identifying which parts are sheet metal for manufacturing with RADAN, it can make the non-relevant parts of the assembly, such as bolts and screws, invisible.
“It shows whether we can progress the sheet metal parts to the next stage, by detailing whether the material is available and if the thickness has been properly calculated, considerably reducing the risk of errors.”
• Open profile lead-ins.
RADAN 2016 extends the ability of specifying the start condition of closed geometry laser cuts, to open profiles and sheet cuts. “With the new open profile lead-in function, users can choose the start condition of their open profiles...so they can start gently, or even try twice, to make sure the cut will work.”
Radbend 2016 includes four major items of new and enhanced functionality:
• Simulation with result.
Collision checking is more accurate, as simulation can now be performed using a modified part, rather than the designed part. “Sometimes designers create theoretical models, which may not be possible to make when they get to the press brake” explains Olaf Körner. “In Radbend 2016 the software gives the press brake a better idea of what the manufactured part will look like, and will physically change it. With previous versions, the simulation used the designed part, but it now uses the modified model, so it’s more accurate and flags up any issues much earlier in the process.”
• Manual tool selection.
Optimising Radbend’s strong automatic tool selection, users can now manually select tools more efficiently. “When Radbend automatically calculates a tool set, it’s accurate for producing the part. But that’s always in isolation, and it may be possible to use the tool set already on the machine, that’s produced the previous part. For example, if you need to have one bend on a part that is 25cm wide, it’s often possible to use a tool that is wider than that. If that tool is already on the machine, this will save considerable set-up time.”
• Progress bars.
“Some calculations can take a while to execute, so we have provided progress bars to keep the user informed about which part of the complex calculations are being dealt with.”
• Support for more machine tools.
Radbend 2016 supports nine additional machine tools; either new controllers or models. There are four major items of new and enhanced functionality for Radm-ax and Radtube.
• Improved nesting.
As nesting for tubes becomes more popular, so do the demands for achieving optimum results. Radtube 2016 now uses an improved algorithm to improve nest results by mirroring (or ‘flipping’) parts, as well as rotating them. “A lot of companies are now designing a wide range of tube-based products, for buildings through to furniture, and Radtube’s nesting produces material savings of between 9-12 per cent, which is a strong step forward in tube nesting.”
• Autotooling imprints.
Autotooling imprints are particularly valuable for accurately cutting I-beams, reducing the overall time on individual jobs by between 15 and 20 per cent. Olaf Körner says extra cuts need to be drawn on I-beams to ensure the finished shape is accurate, and using the new imprint function is a significant time saver. “The final shape isn’t the problem – the issue is the complexity of cutting away the material you don’t need. Imprints sketch the additional information, over and above the solid model information, regarding what the machines need to cut.”
• Bevel angles.
The user is able to specify a particular bevel angle to cut into a tube, to connect another tube to it. “This function provides the ability to cut the tube off at the required angle. Ideally the designer’s choice of angle would be a perfect fit and easily machined...but if it’s not able to be machined, this is a way of overcoming that issue without having to redesign the tube.”
• New simulation.
Radm-ax and Radtube both benefit from a new simulation engine, capable of more accurately showing detailed machine movements. In earlier editions the simulation was restricted to the CNC program, but Olaf Körner says many other aspects need to be taken into consideration. “The new style simulation completely simulates what the machine is going to do, allowing us to show the user whether it’s clamping properly, and that the cut tube will be safely removed from the machine.”
It also means that the time of each job can be accurately calculated.
“This latest release underlines RADAN’s intention to continue investing heavily in developing the software.”