Given increasingly demanding requirements, the complexity of software powering automotive products and solutions is increasing every year. However, basic CAD CAM continues to be relevant in the development of products and components. Vero Software is considered to be a world leader in CAD CAM software, developing and distributing software for design and manufacturing processes across various industries. The company has a number of brands and they all address the challenges of achieving manufacturing efficiencies and bringing value to operations where they are deployed.
Among Vero’s many brands, VISI is a PC-based CAD CAM software, a flagship brand providing solutions for the mold and die industries. We caught up with Massimo Vergerio, VISI Brand Manager, Vero Software, who spoke of the company’s automotive offerings, as well as its initiatives and expansion plans in India.
EXPANDING MARKET REACH
Vero Software was established in 1988 with the development of the European equivalent of the Automatically Programmed Tool (APT) high-level computer programming language, which was called Graphic Tool Language (GTL). The company developed and sold software applications to control machining centres.
Vero has been offering complete CAD CAM solutions and it found that the best way to expand its market reach is by the process of merging with, and acquiring other businesses. With its many mergers and acquisitions, the company is moving towards becoming a complete solutions provider, rather than just a CAD CAM company, noted Vergerio. Vero has been providing solutions covering the entire spectrum of mechanical industries, right from designing to manufacturing. An important factor across Vero brands is to follow the philosophy of end to end integration, ease of use, and keeping a uniform, consistent interface in order to dismiss the perception of jumping from one application to another.
The Vero brand is currently owned by Hexagon, which is a global provider of information technology that drives productivity and quality across geospatial, industrial enterprise applications. Vero Group, which encompasses the group’s various brands, is now the top CAM software company according to statistics, said Vergerio.
A large part of the business for Vero Software comes from the automotive industry, with its main market being Europe. The VISI brand is focussed on mould makers, who usually make moulds for plastic parts or sheet metal parts, and from that perspective, the company is very much involved with the automotive industry. However, the focus within the automotive industry is in the area of interiors – components made of plastics, composites and resins, as well as components made of sheet metal.
On the other hand, the WorkNC brand is also focussed on the automotive industry, but related to creating punches or press moulds for metal components. Another brand of Vero that also caters to the automotive industry is EdgeCAM, which is more focused towards production of large parts or parts in large batches of similar components.
The typical scenario of the use of VISI software by an automotive components supplier can be seen in three steps. The first step includes reading of the geometry of component or product to be manufactured, and assessing it for integrity of all information provided. Vergerio said that a strong feature of VISI is that the software has the capability to read any file format from various companies. The next step is in the application of a number of tools for the separation of the core and cavity for a product’s manufacture. VISI also offers a tool that identifies the line where an object should be separated to create a parting plane, which basically defines the core and cavity.
The last and most time-consuming step is in the verification and certification of the ability to manufacture the product. It needs to be checked for parameters like draft angles, radius and thickness of the material to be used. VISI offers all the necessary tools, including those relating to flow analysis and identifying cooling points to resolve the various problems that could come up while preparing moulds and dies, Vergerio explained. VISI has been capable of manipulating and simplifying large amounts of data, and also works on optimising tools to result in reduced development times.
The Vero Group has about 150 employees dedicated to software development. Vergerio said the company has adopted the ‘agile’ philosophy, which defines groups to work on different parts of development, with smaller development cycles, which finally come together as a complete project. This has helped cut down development cycles to about half the time when compared to earlier cycles, noted Vergerio. He added that this methodology helps the company predict updates better and plan the roadmap better, since development cycles have been reduced. This also ensures that the best of its various competence centre locations can be brought together in the regular development of its software.
Vergerio said that Vero typically carries out its R&D in association with its partners that include customers and the industry. The company attends various events to learn of newer materials and manufacturing processes. Additionally, specific customer needs also drive R&D activities of the company, he added.
India has been on the Vero Group’s radar for a long time, and is a very interesting market with great potential, noted Vergerio. The customers in India are well-informed and technologically-savvy, which presents a good opportunity for VISI, he added.
TEXT: Naveen Arul