Homag’s iX 3D CAD/CAM software – complete manufacturing management from planning and presentation through to design and manufacture
Howard Bros Joinery is a specialist bespoke sub-contract joinery company based in Battle, East Sussex. Established in 1938, the company has led the way in the use of advanced CNC machinery. This has given the business the flexibility to manufacture unique bespoke items and high-volume batch run projects.
“We have been Homag users for many years and currently have an HPP 300 beam saw, a KDF 650 edgebander, a BHX 200 vertical CNC and the BMG 511 five-axis CNC,” explains Karl Tarrant, design manager/CAD administrator at Howard Bros Joinery.
He continues: “In terms of software, we have used Homag CAD/CAM for five years or more now – recently, however, we decided to upgrade to the latest Homag iX 3D CAD/CAM software.
“The iX software suite is bang up to date, which means we can take advantage of all the latest advances in automated production techniques. It is fully supported by Homag, giving us the peace of mind that there is always someone on the end of the phone to assist if there’s a situation we need help with.”
Homag iX – 3D design and production for furniture and interior fitting
Ever-shorter lead times, increasing demand for bespoke solutions and the push for lower production costs all drive the need for advanced control software. Homag’s latest iX 3D CAD/CAM software enables companies to manage the complete manufacturing process, from product planning and presentation to design and manufacture.
Based on proven CAD/CAM technology, iX software can save up to 70% of the time it takes to complete a job from customer concept to finished product. This new software contains modules that support existing manufacturing processes.
The industry-specific 3D design tools enable individual pieces of furniture or complex interior design concepts to be efficiently produced. A high level of design detail guarantees more accuracy in the manufacturing process.
3D design and production for furniture and interior fitting
iX CAD – efficient 3D design
iX CAD is a tool for design and 3D data modelling. Individual pieces of furniture or entire room plans can be designed and presented in the shortest possible time. Components are created from materials, coatings, edges and profiles, which are assembled on the screen into furniture and furnishings.
iX CAD has design assistants and optimum operating sequences that ensure simple and fast design. It uses the parametric approach, which eliminates the need for a designer to constantly redraw a design every time one of the design’s dimensions changes. Consequently, details, entire assemblies or room plans can be altered and recalculated quickly and easily at any time.
iX CAM – direct to the machine
Completed orders originating from iX CAD can be sent directly to the CNC machines. From the finalised design, iX CAM automatically generates the CNC programs for all common machine manufacturers – whether an individual CNC machine, an automated workshop centre or a totally networked production plant.
The iX CAM can automatically generate data for several different workflows to allow for flexible production planning. It can also assign special milling strategies, so solid wood and frame parts are machined according to their respective grain direction.
Howard Bros achieves over 50% time savings
Karl continues: “The new iX software is incredible. In our manufacturing, we have already made time savings of at least 50%, and there’s a lot more to come. What’s more, the accuracy and consistency of our production is now totally reliable.
“The iX CAD module massively speeds up the design to manufacture stage, and iX Organizer means we have all the data in one place in its raw form. This not only saves memory, but also means you don’t need CAD skills to be able to use it – so, for example, an estimator can use Organizer to create a price quote.
“For overall project cost control, we use the iX Calculation module, which enables us to monitor the detailed cost of each order in real time as it moves through the production process.
“The CAD to CAM procedure is seamless, and the iX CAD module enables us to combine all the different machining elements, saving time and eliminating errors. Once the design stage is completed, iX CAM automatically creates the CNC programs for the machines so production can start immediately. Previously, we would have had to manually create the cutting and programming codes for each machine, so you can imagine how much time the iX software saves.
“For our five-axis Homag BMG 511 CNC, we use the iX Post Processor for Nesting module, which automatically fits the shaped parts onto the flatbed in the most economical way. This ensures we maximise sheet usage whilst minimising material wastage. In the same vein, our MagiCut software optimises the board usage on our HPP 300 beam saw.
The software that keeps giving
“It’s really good at the moment because we can use iX remotely via Microsoft Remote Desktop. This has enabled us to continue pretty much as normal throughout the pandemic. Looking ahead, this could be very useful for future expansion because we would not necessarily have to have people working on-site.
“The software is very versatile, we can use it for traditional joinery such as door frames and sash windows, as well as panel-based products and all the different materials we use, such as glass, stone, metal, and of course, wood.
“The consistency of the detailing and machining is a massive plus for us, and with its built-in checks the software has virtually eradicated errors and minimised wastage. The iX software can expand into a factory manager application where you can track production progress and efficiencies from beginning to end.
“There is so much to this new iX software – it has so many potential benefits for our business over the coming months and years. Currently, we are creating 80% of our jobs on iX, but the aim is to handle 100% of our work on it within one-to-two years. One of the areas we are working on is better automation of our drawing process, because this will speed up the workflow even more,” concludes Karl.
For a demonstration or more information on Homag’s iX 3D CAD/CAM software, contact Adele Hunt at Homag UK on 01332 856424.