Lantek Expert CAD/CAM software has helped European Electrical Laminations focus on the bespoke end of the laminations market.
October 30, 2013 - Based in the West Midlands, the company, which can trace its roots back 40 years, produces electrical laminations for stators and rotors, armatures, stator segments, and pole laminations for motors and generators. These are used in a diverse range of applications including wind turbines, high speed rail and power generation. Geoff Brookes, Technical Manager, adds, “We cut silicone steel between 0.5 and 0.65 mm thick which is then built up into core lengths. The profiles are to customer design which we import into our AutoCAD system.”
Traditionally, laminations are cut with hard tooling, which can cost many thousands of pounds to produce, making it a very expensive and time consuming option for special applications and small quantities. Geoff Brookes says, “We purchased three pre-owned Trumpf L2530 laser cutting machines three years ago with the aim of offering a better solution to our customers. Lantek Expert was recommended to us and after a three day training course we were up and running.”
Laminations are generally between 50 and 1250 mm diameter, which is the largest which will fit on the Trumpf, and are circles with features, or circle segments depending on the design supplied to European Electrical Laminations. Geoff Brookes explains, “The laser is an inexpensive way of producing blanks. We transfer the CAD data into Lantek Expert using DXF or DWG files and automatically nest the required blanks into one of our stock sheet sizes. We mix products in the sheet as the software puts smaller parts in holes or areas which would otherwise be scrap. If we want to, Lantek Expert gives us the flexibility to further manipulate the nest to get even better material utilisation. For the slots in the laminations, we use other special machinery with hard tooling to complete the job.”
All three of the Trumpf machines are fitted with an automated pallet changing system which allows parts to be unloaded by the operator while the next sheet is being cut. Geoff Brookes says, “We can make quantities of laminations from just 200 to around 6000 with this process, which gives us a big competitive advantage as hard tooling to do the same job could cost around £20,000. We find that the vast majority of our customers are very happy with the laser cut finish.”
Bespoke laminations make up approximately 40% of European Electrical Laminations’ business, so the laser machines and Lantek Expert are an essential part of the company’s business model. Geoff Brookes says, “The main advantage of Lantek Expert is its ease of use and versatility. It automatically generates collision free laser paths which avoid crossing previously cut components. The support is very good too, with questions dealt with immediately through online remote operation of our software. We are very satisfied with it.”
Lantek is a leading global multinational in the development and commercialisation of software solutions for the sheet metal and structural steel industry. Its capacity for innovation and its firm commitment to internationalisation and the development of emerging markets has led Lantek, founded in 1986 in the Basque Country and with head offices in Vitoria (Alava), to become a global reference in the industry with its CAD/CAM/MES/ERP solutions. Today, the company has over 12,000 clients in more than 100 countries, offices in 15 countries, and a wide network of distributors providing worldwide coverage. In 2012 its international operations provided 85% of its turnover.
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