From ideas to plastic parts – quickly and accurately
With seamlessly integrated CAD/ CAM, Werner Langer meets customers’ demanding quality requirements
Werner Langer’s high-profile clients expect only the best, which requires this plastic part manufacturer to maintain state-of-the-art machinery and tool-design processes.
Customers expect the best
Werner Langer GmbH & Co. KG, with 120 employees, develops and produces high-quality plastic parts. The firm is a supplier to the automobile, construction, electronics, household goods, furniture, sanitary and sports and recreation industries. Langer is also Europe’s largest supplier to the living-space lighting industry. Clients such as these expect the highest level of technological expertise, not only of the firm’s production machinery (more than 40 injection molding machines), but also of its design and tool-making processes.
CAD/CAM solutions are not new to Langer. The firm has been using them since 1990. In 1995 the company decided to adopt 3D design to help meet the continually rising quality standards its customers imposed. Langer’s original 3D CAD/CAM system consisted of Varimetrix CAD software and Camand for CAM. Tool design data from Varimetrix was transferred to Camand via the IGES format. Some contours were lost in the process of transferring the data, however, and these had to be recreated within Camand. This slowed the tool development process and introduced the possibility for error.
These problems led the company to search for an integrated CAD/CAM solution. In 1999 Langer chose I-deas™ software (now called NX I-deas™), which which integrates CAD and CAM within a single database. With I-deas, the problem of converting one data format to another and the subsequent reworking of surfaces became a thing of the past. Another advantage of I-deas was its integrated product data management system, called Team Data Manager (TDM). TDM made it possible for different design engineers to work on the same project simultaneously and to exchange CAD data simply by clicking a button. The efficiency of this solution was enhanced by the I-deas mold-design application, Core Cavity. With these integrated applications, geometry for roughing and milling work became available directly to the toolmakers and tool development time was reduced by up to 40 percent.
More functionality with NX
Although everyone was happy with this system, Langer needed additional functionality not available from I-deas, such as applications for electrical discharge machining and highspeed milling. The consolidation of SDRC and Unigraphics Solutions to form what is now Siemens PLM Software, and the subsequent integration of I-deas functionality within NX, provided the missing elements. NX CAM provided many additional machining strategies as well as support for simple and high-speed milling. Its routines for rotation and wire erosion were impressive.
Authorized dealer Alphacam GmbH offered to exchange Langer’s I-deas licenses for NX at the end of the year 2000. Since then, Langer has benefited from an optimized integrated CAD/CAM system that supports all of its tool design and construction requirements.
Langer uses its own system specialists to administer the networked system and maintain the software. Alphacam, which has been working with Langer for more than 10 years, provides the software support, training and further education for Langer’s system specialists and second-level support. Trained system specialists then use their expertise to train other engineers as well as tool makers and instrument mechanics. This guarantees that employees possess the best and latest knowledge, and that optimal application usage is ensured.
Langer’s CAD/CAM investments have proved to be economically profitable, providing such bottom-line benefits as holding down costs and reducing tool making time. The CAD/CAM system also helps deliver customer satisfaction by ensuring accuracy even for the most complicated parts.