The Air Up There
We all want to be able to breathe clean air, and the personnel at Air Quality Engineering are well aware of that fact.
AQE produces a broad range of air cleaning products at its facility in Minneapolis, Minnesota. These range from industrial units for coolant mist or welding fumes to commercial kitchen-exhaust air cleaners, tobacco- smoke, e-cig filtration systems, and other air-quality systems.
“We focus mostly on air filtration, and we manufacture a lot of electronic air cleaners,” says Jon Borgen, production manager at Air Quality Engineering.
As an original equipment manufacturer, Borgen and his team recognize that repeat business depends on consistent product quality. The company includes a staff of 48 employees, 20 of whom are in the manufacturing department. The company has two punch presses, a laser cutter, a turret punch press, and four press brakes available for fabrication.
After acquiring its laser in 2014, the company opted to review the functionality of its computer-aided-manufacturing (CAM) software, which would be used to program its new laser and the existing punching machines.
This review of capabilities available in the software options indicated that the RADAN sheet metal solution, by Vero Software, would best serve the company’s needs. “We came from an older software and, moving forward with RADAN, we saw a lot of benefits,” Borgen says.
“Since Radbend and the addition of the new press brake, the idea is to have all of our parts programmed offline and have minimal adjustments that need to be made. RADAN has been great, and Radbend is working out great for us, as well.”Jon Borgen, Production Manager
Air Quality Engineering decided to take its improvements a step further by implementing Radbend — a RADAN product, also by Vero Software — after purchasing a new press brake earlier this year.
Designed for the offline programming of press brakes, Radbend is fully integrated with RADAN, in addition to computer-aided-design (CAD) packages SOLIDWORKS® and Autodesk ® Inventor®, and delivers 3D simulation of the bending process.
With the use of either 2D or 3D geometry, Radbend programs press brakes to automatically perform operations that are traditionally performed manually in sheet-metal manufacturing.
By programming offline, Borgen maximizes machine time, improves the repeatability of production, and eliminates simple, repetitive tasks. With Radbend’s automatic collision detection functions, he also protects his machine tool and associated tooling.
“Since Radbend and the addition of the new press brake, the idea is to have all of our parts programmed offline and have minimal adjustments that need to be made,” Borgen says. “RADAN has been great, and Radbend is working out great for us, as well.”
Implementation of the new solution has also been a smooth process for Borgen and his team. “Moving into Radbend was a very nice process,” Borgen says. “Those of us who have used it here comment that it’s easy-to-use software, not very cumbersome. Before we purchased Radbend, we got another demo from another software company and there are noticeably fewer steps with Radbend.”
Parts at Air Quality Engineering are typically designed in Inventor and imported into RADAN. “There are a fair amount of parts created in Inventor, so we have the benefit of the 3D model, but some of them are those old .DXF files.” A .DXF file is an AutoCAD® file format that was develop by Autodesk to ensure interoperability between AutoCAD and other systems.
“With the addition of the press brake and RADAN, we’re taking those flat DXFs and creating RADAN and Radbend programs,” Borgen says. “The company is 40 years old and there are some parts that really haven’t been changed. With RADAN and Radbend, we can still use those older part files.”
Jumping between RADAN and Radbend can be done with the click of a button. Once the programmer is within the RADAN interface, he or she can easily jump to Radbend by selecting the Radbend option. “We’re able to add the bend lines in RADAN, form it up, jump to Radbend and program the press brake,” Borgen says. “Radbend’s very easy to use.”
Delivering optimal automation capability, Radbend examines the parts to be programmed and automatically processes an ideal bending operation that takes into account factors such as part geometry and best machinery practices. “Essentially, with the new press brake, if a part comes through and it hasn’t been programmed, we can do that very quickly. The majority of the time, we can make our programs in a few clicks of a button.”
In addition to taking advantage of the ease of interoperability between RADAN and Radbend, Borgen and his team maximize the nesting capabilities within RADAN. Used by the company’s laser operator to build nests, RADAN’s nesting engine reduces error while saving time and materials.
To build nests, RADAN takes into account the accurate shape and material thicknesses of all the components within a batch. It automatically sorts and separates the parts to build nests from full sheets, as well as from off-cuts and remnants. “It’s a very fluid process for keeping parts going through the laser,” Borgen says. “It’s worked out really well.”
For Borgen, implementing the complete RADAN Solution at Air Quality Engineering meant making sure that he had chosen solutions ideal for the whole team. “I wasn’t sure how it would compare to the latest software from other companies, but it really was better than the other stuff,” says Borgen, who diligently vetted all of his options, of both RADAN and Radbend.
Moreover, he needed a solution that would be both easy to learn and quick to implement. “The learning curve was relatively easy and quick because the software isn’t overly complicated. It just does what it needs to do,” he says. “I wanted to make sure everyone else is also happy with it — and they are.”
About the Company
Name: Air Quality Engineering
Business: Manufacturer of industrial air filtration systems and air cleaners
- Ability to generate new programs with existing, older part files.
- Increased efficiency with automated programming options.
- Streamlined production with nesting capabilities that reduce error while saving time.
“Since Radbend and the addition of the new press brake, the idea is to have all of our parts programmed offline and have minimal adjustments that need to be made. RADAN has been great, and Radbend is working out great for us, as well.”
John Borgen, Production Manager