NetComposites
3M

Red Bull finds a Winning Formula with JETCAM

16 July 2009

In 2008 Red Bull Technology decided to replace their existing flat bed knife cutter with two Zund knife cutters, one with a conveyor bed, as well as evaluating CAM systems.

According to Andy Bosworth, Production Coordinator; “We ran a series of benchmark comparisons and JETCAM had the lowest scrap rate and highest efficiency on material, with nests at least 16% more efficiently than our current nests. It was also recommended by the machine tool vendor, which was a major factor in our decision to select it.”

After the implementation of the machines in a new clean room staff were trained in November 2008. Steve Brown, Composite Kit Cutter commented; “JETCAM is more user-friendly than our previous system, and also easier than another system I'd used in the past elsewhere.”

Once the system went live Red Bull Technology saw a number of benefits, the most noticeable of which was the nesting efficiency. Supplies of composite materials can be limited and leadtimes can be lengthy, and so Red Bull Technology has to maximise their material efficiency. Steve noted; “Recently we had to make some parts but could not get additional material, so had to make do with the material in stock. On our previous nests we were running at 300mm short of requirement, but when I ran the plies through JETCAM’s high performance nester it saved us 305mm - enough to complete the order.” Andy added; “If you can't make enough of a part it can leave the team in jeopardy if they don't have enough spares. We outsourced the cutting of another order as we had no time to cut it in-house. The supplier was telling me that they needed 327 linear metres to complete the job, however when we ran it through JETCAM we did it in 287 metres, which at over £100 per m2 equates to a £4k saving, and this on a nest we ran two or three times. ”

In addition to material savings Red Bull Technology also saw an increase in throughput on the machine due to features such as common-line cutting, which allow plies to be separated using a single cut rather than leaving a skeleton. Steve noted; “Our previous system would not always rotate parts at all available angles, and also could not perform common cuts. Previously one particular nest of a wishbone would take three hours to cut, but with JETCAM I can do it in 1 ¾ hours.”

The process of loading JETCAM Expert with orders remotely is achieved using JETCAM Orders Controller (JOC). Steve cites that this has significantly improved time from order to nest; “Previously it was sometimes quicker to cut a ply by hand than re-nest it. Now we just load a complete part or individual ply orders into JOC and all required plies are immediately ready to nest. I can queue up all the jobs and combine orders and then nest them together. We can also save end of roll material and create smaller nests to better utilise it.” JETCAM has extensive reporting capabilities, providing instant nesting efficiency and runtime statistics, which Red Bull Technology load onto their works orders. This provides the accounts department with immediate visibility of where material costs are within parts on the shop floor.

Purchasing also saw significant benefits; Andy explained; “Many materials are specific to the Formula 1 industry, with some even unique to Red Bull Technology. JETCAM gives me the scope to forward order and plan better.”