While the world’s most powerful sheet metal CAD/CAM software, Radan, has become an integral part of the manufacturing process for a specialist in the metal enclosure industry, they say Radan’s technical support and customer service is the real icing on the cake.
Ritherdon manufactures a wide range of metal enclosures such as feeder pillars, service cabinets and street lighting for the transport sector; meter repair units for housing maintenance and construction; and pre-wired electrical meters. “Supplying quality products to our customers on short, reliable lead times is of paramount importance to us, with rapid after-sales service,” says Works Director John Wright.
Working mainly with 1.2 mm to 2 mm stainless steel, their Trumpf T5000 punch press is fed by a Sheet Master system, which in turn collects sheets from a 26-shelf storage tower (pictured left) that is capable of holding a total of 78 tonnes of material. And although a typical program might have 30 tools, thanks to their automatic tool changer there is no limit to how many tools can be used, meaning they often run it unmanned overnight, producing parts for four or five different jobs.
Typically, they create the night’s run in the morning, then undertake a normal day’s production on the machine, setting it to run on its own overnight when they leave in the evening. John Wright says there would be insufficient machine time for manufacture if they did not have Radan’s capability of programming offline.
“During the day we spend more time programming for our complex components than the actual running time of the machine, if we include the Radan 2D and 3D drafting work. Therefore, to ensure that the machine is free to carry out the day’s production it’s absolutely vital for us to fully program it offline with Radan, including tooling and creating the toolpaths.”
When they purchased their first modern punching machine they used different programming software, but quickly found it was incapable of getting through the volume of programming work they needed, and switched to Radan after researching the market. “From a design, drawing and production point of view, Radan is a very full and capable system which does everything we want it to do to make us efficient. It enables us to produce cost-effective, quality, products with faster turnaround times than we could achieve without it.”
With Lancashire-based Ritherdon placing great store on the after-sales service they provide to their own customers, they are particularly impressed with the support they, themselves, get from Radan. “For me, Radan is all about the quality of the support behind the software. If I have a technical query or I need advice about programming for a particularly complex job, I either ring the support desk or I log the query through Radan’s online support portal, and I have always been given the solution very quickly.”
As an example, he cites a recent query he raised when Ritherdon needed to add a number of multi tools to their tooling inventory. “This required considerable setting up in the background. Also, we requested some changes to a post processor so we could make better use of the features on our machine tool and I knew there would be possible collision issues. In both cases we were exactly where we wanted to be within hours of contacting the Radan support desk.
“As we’re constantly improving the way we work we expect teething problems when we try something completely new, but it’s extremely comforting to know that Radan support has always been able to get things done very quickly – usually within hours, and never later than the next day.”
He says Radan is taking great strides forward with new technical developments in the twice-yearly releases, so he is personally investing more time in extending his knowledge about how they can positively impact on Ritherdon’s efficiency even further. “The recent updates have led to a dramatic improvement in the way we work, particularly the new nesting module. Because Radan was advancing faster than we were learning how to use the new modules we now subscribe to the Support Plus service, and go to the upgrade training twice a year.”
John Wright (below) puts into practice what he learned
on a Radan Project Nesting training course
He says implementing what he learned on the Project Nesting training session saves them considerable time. “It’s important with a product that’s advancing as much as Radan, that we know how to get the very best out of it. In my experience, I go on a day’s training and then suddenly find I’m saving a lot of time because I’m fully aware of how to use the new features. These regular updates definitely improve efficiency and increase production, meaning we can provide a better service our customers.
“For technical support and customer service, Radan is up there with the best of them.”