Common Sheet Metal Issues
When I visit clients, I am surprised that SOLIDWORKS users are not aware of the sheet metal bend tables included with the software and quite often I find there is a disconnect between design/engineering and manufacturing departments. Typically this means:
- Engineering/design may not be providing the right information to manufacturing.
- The as built part can often be different to the design drawing.
- Costs are incurred as the wrong material is ordered for inventory.
- Wasted time defining sheet metal characteristics, and sometimes use tooling that does not exist in store!
- Wasted time with rework, and purchasing unnecessary tooling and material.
- Using a generic K-factor of 0.5 (or similar value) to calculate sheet metal part flat patterns means that when working with thicker gauges, and multiple bend parts; the inaccuracy of using a generic value results in parts that are off by as much as a 1/4 inch!
Solving your sheet metal issues
Our new Sheet Metal Service is customized to solve your unique SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metal issues. A certified SOLIDWORKS expert will analyze your current sheet metal design and manufacturing process, including your Material, Tooling, Bending Process, Material Thickness and Bend Angles — to define your sheet metal standards and best practices. Then train your team to adopt the new best practices and become proficient with SOLIDWORKS sheet metal.
- We determine what your manufacturing standards are, and implement a process and set-up to ensure your departments design and manufacture consistently to those standards.
- We will help you to set-up your sheet metal design environment so that your team uses a comprehensive set of templates, tables, and library of forming tools.
- We can provide you with a more accurate design process and facilitate better communications between your design/engineering department and the shop floor.
How the sheet metal service works
Here is a detailed breakdown of our new service:
Phase 1: ANALYZE your Process
We will analyze your current sheet metal design to manufacturing process and determine where your problems occur. This involves learning and understanding how your design team use SOLIDWORKS sheet metal tools and create production drawings.
If you fabricate sheet metal on site then this phase will also include gathering information from your CNC Programmer or Manufacturing Engineer to understand what are the most popular types of material you use, along with the gauges, dies, and forming tools used for fabrication.
Phase 2: OPTIMIZE System & MENTORING
Work with your CAD Administrator or Power-user to set-up an optimized Sheet Metal environment. So that your entire team use a consistent set of SOLIDWORKS sheet metal templates, tables, and settings.
Optimization tasks can include:
- Defining folders on the server for your sheet metal environment.
- Defining Gauge, Bend and Punch Tables.
- Creating the most used Forming Tools.
- Creating Cut-list Table templates.
- Installation and instruction on the use of #TASK sheet metal productivity tools for creating DXFs, flat pattern drawings, and more.
Phase 3: Implement Process and TRAIN your Team
We will implement your optimized process and train your team on the best practices and techniques for creating sheet metal parts and drawings. The custom training will be delivered at your office on your models.
Implementation and training is tailored to your needs but can include the following:
- Create a typical part using the created gauge table
- Apply forming tools that the CAD Admin created
- Create a drawing using the templates and tables the CAD Admin created.
- Customize the SOLIDWORKS user interface to streamline the tasks and optimize performance
- Discuss with the SOLIDWORKS users about common issues and review some of their work. Show them best practices and provide solutions to their issues.
- Deliver SOLIDWORKS sheet metal training.
Interested in improving your sheet metal design process?
With our sheet metal service you will be able to:
- Optimize your process: Create standards that better connect your engineering/design with manufacturing.
- Save material costs: Ensure that the right gauges of material are used in your engineering/design stage.
- Reduce rework: Ensure that your sheet metal drawings are accurate, and as built parts will match perfectly.