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Radan keeps underground rolling

Almost everyone who has been on a London Underground train will have seen products drawn up and manufactured in Radan by sheetmetal subcontractor Sweetnam & Bradley Ltd.

Having had framework agreements in place with London Underground for around 20 years, Sweetnam & Bradley Ltd are heavily involved in refurbishing carriages, with anything from door skins and window frames, through advert and map panels, to sturdy cover flaps for alarm levers.

Operations Director Christian Olejnik says: "Although they are an approved supplier, most contracts are put out for tender across Europe, and Radan's 2D draughting, and 3D design and unfolding capabilies, along with Radprofile and Radpunch's CNC programming, helps them put successful bids together.

"Radprofile drives the company's recently-acquired Mazak Optiplex 3015 Fiber 2kW laser cutter, with Radpunch programming two Amada punch presses.

"Once the OEM no longer supports the product, London Underground need a contractor who can update the original drawings to produce a replacement part. They put a material procurement strategy in place, creating a number of commodity codes, one of which was metals, to reduce their hundreds of suppliers. We successfully bid to become one of six core suppliers for metalwork."   

Ironically, with an annual turnover of £2.5-million, Sweetnam & Bradley's 40-strong workforce operates out of 20,000 square foot premises on the old station yard site, just metres from the engine shed in Malmesbury, alongside the route of the former GWR line, closed by the Beeching axe in the 1960s.

Manufactured mainly in Zintec and stainless steel, the parts are first drawn up either in Radan's 2D draughting solution Radraft, or Radan 3D. "The basic panels are generated in Radprofile or Radraft which produces geometry to the full accuracy that modern computers allow," says Production Supervisor Andrew Boulton. "And we use Radan 3D for assemblies to ensure the components all fit together properly. Even if we have approved customer drawings we like to know for ourselves that it all fits together before we start to manufacture anything. We just couldn't do that without Radan, because the parts we make couldn't be programmed manually."

Once a Radan part has been drawn up, tooled and nested, the DNC link is set and the CNC code sent to the laser or one of their two Amada punch presses; a Pega 357 with Auto Index, and Vipros 255.

The Mazak Optiplex 3015 laser is one of the first in the UK, and Christian Olejnik says: "They selected Radprofile to drive it, because the software seamlessly integrates the whole programming process of geometry creation, nesting, toolpath profiling, sequencing, code generation and finally DNC connectivity to the machine controller. 

"We were looking for the most efficient way to nest, and Radprofile's fully integrated Project Nester gives an instantaneous overview of our profiling demand. Automatic rectangular nesting, single part true shape nesting and manual drag and drop nesting techniques mean we can quickly, easily and efficiently meet ever changing production and customer demands.
Everyone in Sweetnam & Bradley's factory can perform several tasks, with five employees trained on Radan.

"The same person could create the part, send it to the nester, set the DNC link, set up and operate the machine, run the part off, then bend it on our manual press brakes, weld it and dress it. We've even got a dedicated finishing department, working with both wet spray and powder spray, to finish the components, using the latest spraying and curing technologies."

With some of the rolling stock dating back to the 1960s Christian Olejnik says they often need to work with the original manufacturers' drawings which don't tell the full story of how to manufacture the parts using modern technology. "This is why Sweetnam & Bradley has such a good reputation with London Underground. We have skilled engineers who can use Radan with these old drawings, ensuring that the new parts we make are a perfect fit.

"And Radan recently proved invaluable for working with modern drawings, too. We were contracted to produce sturdy cover flaps for alarm levers, which London Underground wanted to roll out on the Jubilee, Piccadilly and Northern lines ahead of the 2012 Olympics. But the product couldn't actually be manufactured from the drawings, so we used Radan to create new designs on the original drawing layouts, and as a result, we've been invited to produce these parts for more of the fleet."

As well as manufacturing products for the infrastructure of the London rail system, including overground as well as the Underground, the ISO9001-registered company also produces components for Metrology, Defence and Aerospace.   

Part of the Vero Software Group, Radan is acknowledged as one of the world's leading PC based CAD/CAM solutions for the Sheet Metal industries. It offers a unique combination of applications for profiling, punching and bending, along with design and production management capabilities.

Vero sells and supports its range of products through its direct offices in the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Netherlands, USA, Brazil, India, Japan, Korea and China, and through a comprehensive global reseller network across more than 45 countries.

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Radan helps CNC World diversify into metal cutting

A machine tool distributor has diversified into cutting metal for customers who are working to capacity and need to fulfil another order, or if they're asked to cut a different material from normal and do not have a suitable machine for it.

CNC World are the UK's sole distributor of MultiCam lasers, water jets and plasmas. Having launched a partnership with the world's most powerful sheet metal CAD/CAM software, Radan, at the MACH exhibition in 2014, they now offer Radan, from Vero Software, as an option with all machines. It also drives the demonstration machines which they use for the new cutting service.

"When our machines weren't being used for demonstrations they were standing idle," says Sales Director Jason Rowe. "Customers receiving orders for cutting a different material have to subcontract it out, and we were often asked to recommend companies to undertake emergency cutting, so decided to start using our own machines for it."

They have also hired a programmer with extensive knowledge of Radan to ensure they provide customers with the best possible solution, including the most efficient nesting available, keeping material wastage to an absolute minimum.

The service has proved particularly useful for machining overspill when a manufacturer's shop floor is full to capacity, and when a customer needs to work with material they do not normally cut. He explains that as CNC World also supplies 3-, 4- and 5-axis routers driven by Radan's sister software, Alphacam, they are able to cut wood or plastic, which metal-focused customers with lasers, plasmas and water jets cannot undertake.

"It means we can offer wood and plastic cutting for metal manufacturers, and metal cutting for woodworkers. For example, a woodworking company needed to cut a couple of pallets of stainless steel as part of a cabinet-making contract. We were able to do that for them."

The cutting service has also helped CNC World to secure a machine order. "We've recently been cutting components for a manufacturer which led to him winning a major contract. The additional work that is bringing in justified them investing in a new machine from us." 

Having been offered partnerships by several software developers, CNC World undertook research amongst their customers. "Many were already using Radan and recommended it to us - so our decision was customer-driven and is the obvious choice. Radan is extremely powerful software that can be adapted to every customer's specific needs - whether it's for our new cutting service or their own machines - which is vital as everyone needs something different."

He says CNC World's major strength is that they have a machine for everything. "Normally a company would only deal in one type of cutting technology, but we have MultiCam water jets, lasers plasmas and routers and now, with Radan and Alphacam, the best software to fully optimise those machines."

They always offer Radprofile with the nesting module. "When used with Radprofile, Radnest can automatically produce common line cuts between adjacent parts to further increase material utilisation and reduce cycle times. Gaps between components are controlled by the kerf width created by a given material, thickness and cutting method for a specific machine. This data is stored within Radan, meaning that complete automation is possible.

"Radnest can mix different nesting techniques on the same sheet - including rigid kits, picking clusters, common cutting, or standard spaced, giving industry-leading results for manufacturing techniques used by customers with CNC World's modern machines."

He says water jet and plasma is a major growth area in the UK, and their range includes 3- and 5-axis machines. "Full 5-axis water jets are extremely popular, and we're being asked for 5-axis plasmas a lot more nowadays, which come with the full range of hypertherm torches."

When cutting metal at CNC World's Norfolk headquarters their 3000 Series water jet is linked to a KMT Streamline SL-V 50 STD pump which sends water out at 60,000 psi. A steady flow of GMA garnet abrasives to the focusing tube allows uninterrupted production without downtime resulting in optimum efficiency and lowest production costs. CNC World also supply the full range of KMT intensifiers going up to 90,000 psi.

In the short time since the partnership with Radan began they have already shipped a number of machines incorporating Radan, and quotes are out on several more. "We also held an open day recently running machining demonstrations with Radan, and customers were most impressed."

For further information e-mail: or view website:   

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