Publications

09.02.2018

Closing the Manufacturing Loop

Closing the Manufacturing Loop

An interview with Simon Lee, regional director in EMEA, Vero Software

As Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence expands its solution offering towards data-driven manufacturing systems, Simon Lee, Regional Director EMEA at Vero Software, shared his thoughts on the relationship between metrology and CAD/CAM in a podcast interview with Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence information bulletin Accelerate!

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Let’s start with you telling us a bit more about Vero Software and your role.

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Vero Software has developed into the world’s number one provider of CAM software over the recent past. Similar to Hexagon, it’s been a serial acquirer, consolidating the CAM software market quite significantly. So, that put us in this number one position. We provide solutions for a wide range of applications for the machining of metal, whether that’s milling, turning, mill-turn (Edgecam, Surfcam, WorkNC, VISI) or sheet metal working(Radan), which is typically laser profiling, punching and CNC bending. We also provide solutions for machining stone, wood and composite materials.

It sounds like you have quite a lot of diversity in the marketplace as well.

We do. I think all our customers have one thing in common; they are machining, whether they’re machining metal, stone or wood. So, it’s an increasingly complex market. We have great coverage around the world through a network of resellers and industry partners, and we have built a very good reputation.

How do you see the union of metrology and CAM benefiting customers?

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I think the acquisition of Vero Software by Hexagon raised eyebrows because it is a potential game changer for the manufacturing industry. Metrology, as you are probably aware, is coming more out of the air-conditioned room on to the shop floor, which is where we exist. So, I think our customers are going to be very excited by the prospects of metrology and CAM coming together and closing this manufacturing loop where corrections can be made very early in the process, making the whole process a lot more efficient. Hexagon’s mantra is Shaping Smart Change, and that fits well in the context of smart manufacturing.

How does Vero Software use intelligence in terms of CAD modelling to bring efficiency to the manufacturing process?

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Vero Software’s CAD modelling tools are specifically aimed at the mould and die industry. So, this is where you are moulding plastic components and stamping steel or metal components. (VISI Modelling). There are ways to automate that design process. Of course, in a mould tool, for example, the core of the tool is based on the finished component. There is a cavity that mimics the form of the component. Apart from that, the tool is based around standard components. So, the design can be automated using these standard components. Also, based on the geometry of the component itself and the finished part, things like cooling channels and ejector pins can be placed in an automated and intelligent manner.

Could you talk a bit more about the optimisation of modern machine tool technologies and Vero Software’s role in that sort of scene?

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Yeah, as I mentioned earlier, machine tools are becoming more complex. Our customers are making more complex parts. Introducing computer technology gives designers greater freedom to express their wishes in terms of 3D freeform design shapes, which significantly impacts the manufacturing process. It makes it harder to make those parts. So, the complexity is achieved by high levels of complex machine tools. So, a machine tool, historically, would either be a milling machine or a turning machine. But now, with today’s machine tool technology, it means that these technologies are converging, and the machines can be multi-functional, performing lots of different operations, which means there are more moving parts. Different parts of the machines have to be synchronized with each other to avoid collisions. And controlling those machine tools has become a very complicated affair, which our software team handles. So, it’s a very powerful tool that customers must have.

What are some of the trends you are seeing in the CAD/CAM industry, and how is Vero Software addressing those?

I think the trends are similar to other markets and other circumstances. Globalisation, for example; the world is becoming a smaller place, and our customers who are based in various continents around the world are wanting to standardize their manufacturing processes so that they can make something anywhere – they can design it anywhere. And through the consistency that our products bring they can get the same result whether the part is made in the USA or in Europe. So, collaboration – our customers want to work with each other sharing data – the ability to use our products at the same time, or we call it ‘follow the sun’, so our software could be used in Europe in the morning and in the USA in the evening. Our licensing, for example, supports the sharing of our software between the facilities.




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