Thilot Holland saves time switching from Flow Cut software to ProNest for waterjet cutting
The company and products
Thilot Holland BV, of Lottum, Netherlands is the world’s leading manufacturer of phase I composting plants and phase II and III tunnel operations, as well as equipment and machines for mushroom farming. Thilot also designs and manufactures a variety of other machinery and operates a subcontract job-shop waterjet cutting operation using their Flow waterjet cutting machine.
Machinery designers are increasingly relying on 3D CAD software to create the entire product design. These software programs, including SOLIDWORKS®, Creo® Parametric (formerly Pro/Engineer), and Inventor™, have helped revolutionize the design process and can significantly reduce the product development cycle. However, for those processing sheet and plate materials, these process improvements come at a price: 3D part drawings need to be flattened before they are nested and cut.
Rudy Thielen, owner of Thilot explains, “We had been using the Flow Cut software that came with our Flow waterjet machine. Although a bit limiting in certain applications we had to make do with it for processing our 2D DXF files. Then, when we decided to shift to Inventor for our design process (where 3D files are standard), creating the 2D DXF files needed to interface with FlowCut became an additional process that took a lot of extra time. We also had to be careful that any changes we made to the 3D files were updated to the 2D files. The process became very tedious so we decided to look for a programming solution.”
After some internet research, Rudy discovered ProNest® software. With its optional Inventor 3D CAD Interface module, Thilot is able to directly import 3D files flattened and ready for use. ProNest not only gives Rudy the 3D CAD interface, but also CAD line-color mapping to furnish specific feedrate values and the native *.ORD CNC file format used with his Flow waterjet machine.
Right from day one, the ProNest software started to save programming time with the Inventor 3D CAD interface. In addition, the company has been experimenting with the Automatic Nesting module and have already realized material savings from the improved nest utilization.
“Overall, the operation with our system is seamless,” noted Thielen, “and I am confident that the software will pay for itself many times over in the coming years.”