This collaboration builds on the results received from the BeroSim project (see video), an initiative that gives users a 3D model that lets them see how heat affects sheet metal as it is cut and predicts the effects that it will have on the material (deformation, changes to thickness or quality, etc.) caused by high temperatures used in laser and plasma cutting processes. As a result of this project, this innovation was made available to the industry to increase production efficiency, generating significant savings on resources, by anticipating and avoiding potential material deformation during the cutting process.

With this renewed commitment, both organisations have taken one step further in their aim of offering the fabrication and sheet metalworking industry innovative solutions and services that provide real and continuous added value. Vicomtech has developed algorithms to support multi-head cutting machines, improving their performance and the quality of parts.

The results of this solution have been verified and compared with those obtained from the existing software and were “very satisfactory”. The results were endorsed by the journal Materials, a high-impact scientific publication, which echoed this research with an article entitled: “Fast Analytic Simulation for Multi-Laser Heating of Sheet Metal in GPU”

Benefits of these latest technology advances include:

  • The simulation of heat-affected zones makes it possible to optimise sheet metal CNC programs before they get to the machine, making significant savings in material and in both human and machine resources.
  • The high speed simulation allows more tests and optimisations to be carried out at the same time as part nesting and cut path creation.
  • Visual verification of the temperature of the sheet metal helps designers to understand and identify which nesting pieces are problematic and which are not.
  • The simulation of sheet metal cutting processes is a phase of the production process that enables the definition of the best sheet metal strategy and cutting order while substantially improving output, making it possible to anticipate and detect possible unforeseen anomalies during the nesting and cut path phases. The program does not need to be tested on the actual machine, resulting in savings in machine time, materials and energy, while at the same time lessening the risk of potential incidents, breakdowns and workplace accidents.

    This technology has been proven using laboratory processes to calculate the heat distribution in materials and Lantek is currently analysing its incorporation into commercial products for sheet metal manufacture.

    Asier Ortiz, Lantek's director of operations, says: “These virtual heat generation and dissipation models greatly help prevent the production of parts that will not pass quality assurance due to deformation or deterioration of their physical qualities as a result of excessive heat. In manufacturing processes where fairly thick special materials are being worked, anticipation of heat-related problems is essential in order to ensure good results."