Manufacturing

Sheet-Metal Productivity (On the Edge Solid Edge Tutorial)

1 Feb, 2007 By: Russell Brook

Solid Edge v19 includes new SheetMetal tools.


Solid Edge Version 19 saw a major update to SheetMetal that lets you document and aid manufacture of sheet-metal components in less time. This month, we'll look at some of these key enhancements. (Read related articles on sheet-metal design for Solid Edge in other On the Edge columns, Using Solid Edge to Speed Up Sheet Metal Design, Part 1 and Part 2.

SheetMetal Design Tools
Solid Edge SheetMetal enhancements deliver process-oriented commands that enable you to create design-specific features, reducing the amount of time required to complete 3D sheet metal components. All these commands use the Solid Edge SmartStep ribbon bar to guide you through the command steps and to present design parameters as you work. Read more information on StreamXP and SmartStep in the On the Edge columns, Stream XP, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Gusset Command. On a bent sheet-metal component, ribs are pressed into the bend from the outside in; this reverse pressing makes the bend substantially stronger. The Gusset command provides a process-oriented workflow that provides options for creating multiple gussets at the same time, including spacing, relief angle, fillet type and gusset profile required.

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The Gusset command adds a reverse pressing to stiffen corners on sheet-metal components.

Cross-Brakes. These often span large sheet-metal surfaces, because they are used for stiffening large panels without adding additional material. Although they don't deform the actual 3D model, the brake lines are represented in the sheet-metal model, flat, DXF flat patterns and 2D drawing views.

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The Cross-Brake feature represents panel stiffening on sheet-metal surfaces.

The Hem Command (commonly referred to as a Safe Edge) provides more capabilities than simply folding a corner to remove sharp edges. Other options are provided to create rolled and circular profiles; such as a wired edge or hinge. Hems can wrap around curved edges, so designers can remain in Solid Edge SheetMetal to complete their designs.

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The Hem command lets you make exposed sheet-metal edges safe by folding them over. Hems can also be used to represent a wired edge, and to create butterfly hinges -- and more.

Contour Flange. As with the hem, they can be wrapped around curved edges, with options for how the corners should be treated. Depending on how the part will be formed, it may be desirable to split the corners.

Sheet-Metal Manufacturing Support
There is a thin line between sheet-metal design and manufacturing responsibilities, more so than in any other design discipline. Where the designer leaves off and the production engineer takes over is different from company to company. Many times it is the design engineer who must decide how components will be made. Solid Edge provides tools that add detail used for manufacturing that can be completed at the design or manufacturing stages, such as fold or crease lines, bend tables and blank size. The descriptions of these tools are very self-explanatory; below are examples of some of these tools.

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Triangulation lines transitional ductwork is an important enhancement for users who create transitional sheet-metal work, such as square to rounds or conical shapes. These shapes are often formed using a press brake. Designers can decide how to bisect the developed pattern and centerlines are added to the flat pattern.

Triangulation lines transitional ductwork is an important enhancement for users who create transitional sheet-metal work, such as square to rounds or conical shapes. These shapes are often formed using a press brake. Designers can decide how to bisect the developed pattern and centerlines are added to the flat pattern.

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Bend Tables in Part enables documenting the bend order for a component while giving you the freedom to design the part as you wish.

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Flat Pattern Cut Size reports the maximum blank size for unfolded components; they can be linked to a new sensor that warns you if the raw material sheet size is too small.

Solid Edge now has the capability to match faces between two adjacent flanges, even if one of them is at a compound angle, reducing many steps and forethought into a single command. For designs that require logos or words stamped through them, Solid Edge now offers the Stencil Font, which uses a style commonly seen on crates. This font leaves a small connecting strip to stop the center of certain letters (such as O, B and D) from falling out after being punched.

Other tools, such as direct access to flange profile constraints, allow you to quickly change the flange angle or the angle of its edges. Enhancements to the normal cutout provide more options for controlling the cutout size on angle of the faces.

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The normal cutout SmartStep Ribbon Bar shows options that control cutout edge conditions.

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Flange Match Face lets you associatively create or modify a flange to match the face of an existing part in the assembly, which could be time-consuming or downright cumbersome in some instances.

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Stencil Fonts provides punchable font types used for many sheet-metal designs.

That wraps up this month's column, covering major updates to Solid Edge SheetMetal. I hope these new tools help shorten your design time and assist you manufacturing your components.

See you On the Edge next month.


About the Author: Russell Brook

Russell Brook

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