As manufacturing and related processes have evolved over time, quicker and more efficient forms of manufacturing have become the norm. Leading CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing) software provider, Vero Software works at offering software for design and manufacturing processes across various industries. We met with Steve Sivitter, CEO, Vero Software, who talked about becoming a larger part of the manufacturing workflow, staying relevant with modern technologies, as well as the importance of data analysis.
Much of what Vero does at present pertains to automation, said Sivitter. This comes at a time when one of the great pressures on businesses around the world is the shortage of skills. Therefore, there is a need for more knowledge to be integrated into the software to automate it, and allow the software to make decisions that previously would have been made by suitably skilled people. Sivitter added that this level of automation is very important, and is particularly true in the mould and dye design for the automotive industry, as well as for the machining industry.
Vero has traditionally been a CAD/CAM supplier addressing a very small part of its customers’ workflow. Both Vero, and Hexagon, which is the parent company of Vero Software, are increasingly working to become a bigger part of the workflow, noted Sivitter. For some of the company’s automotive customers, Vero is managing everything – from the time the company provides a quote for a mould or dye, up until the time they ship these products. Sivitter said Vero is integrated in the workflow and that’s where the company really wants to be.
Another area that the company finds important is that of analysis, especially in terms of how materials, be it plastics or metals, respond to manufacturing processes. Sivitter noted that Hexagon has grown in increasing its footprint in the complete workflow process of customers, by providing technology for costing, as well as analysis. “We are getting much more upstream into the costing and analysis of parts, with our footprint within design and manufacturing, as well as that in the automotive industry growing,” said Sivitter.
Talking about validation and verification, as well as digital testing and simulation solutions for customers, Sivitter said one of the key drivers at Hexagon is ‘actionable information.’ This is the information that comes in when a component or product is made and defects are discovered. The idea is to use this data upstream, in order to be able to make parts better and more accurately thereon. This is where the process of simulation and verification play an important role, he added.
TRADITIONAL vs. NEW MANUFACTURING PROCESSES
There are still a large number of companies that are traditional in the way they carry out their manufacturing, and for such companies Vero tries to provide solutions that will help them design and manufacture faster. If you think of a mould or dye for a large automotive part, a large amount of time is spent on developing the machine tools, and the company is working on reducing this development time significantly, observed Sivitter.
Now, Sivitter said, there are companies looking at additive manufacturing as it is interesting for certain applications. Another new area where the company is seeing growth is in the process of hybrid manufacturing, which combines additive and subtractive manufacturing. Currently there are certain applications within the aerospace industry that use hybrid manufacturing machines, and analysis is being carried out on whether this technology can be made suitable for automotive applications as well.
Sivitter said there is also the case of companies like Vero offering solutions to stay relevant in the market, with advancements in technologies related to manufacturing. With ongoing development in autonomous driving and electric vehicle technologies, there will be a significant shift in manufacturing as well as in the types of materials used, he observed. Therefore, it is important for Vero to be able to apply its expertise in CAD/CAM technologies to offer solutions for new materials and processes in the future.
Vero, through the acquisitions carried out by Hexagon in the past, offers solutions from CAE right through to shipping. There are technologies for additive manufacturing, data management and analysis for planning software, noted Sivitter. Much of what the company is working on today is also about growing the levels of efficiency in manufacturing for its customers. Vero is helping customers increase profits through efficient tool management as well, which ensures that customers become more efficient by improving their current processes.
Sivitter said that in terms of the important standards being applicable for manufacturing, there is a lot of discussion on smart factories and Industry 4.0. When talking about standards in manufacturing, one of the critical processes that need to take place is standardisation of interfaces across different technologies, he noted. The role of standards needs to be that they ensure that individual components of all the technologies used in a manufacturing facility communicate with each other. Machines need to communicate on a common platform across production processes and across geographies – and achieving that may be the biggest challenge in the next few years.
We are at a period of rapid change, and the biggest business challenge for Vero is in staying relevant with all of these changes, noted Sivitter. These are ever more important with the surge in new materials and processes, frequent design changes, shorter product lifecycles, smaller turnaround timelines and need for increase in efficiency. There is also an increasing amount of analysis, simulation and verification being carried out further upstream, to become a larger part of customers’ workflow and adding value to their processes, concluded Sivitter.
TEXT: Naveen Arul