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24 Oct 2013

Going Beyond Its Traditional CAD Expertise, LEDAS Expands to ERP+

David Levin

Since its establishment in 1999, LEDAS became well known as a software development company capable of developing the most advanced, mathematically-packed components for engineering software. On the one hand, the firm has worked on products and technologies developed in-house, such as 2D and 3D geometric solvers, variational direct modeling, driving dimensions plug-ins, and its recently announced LEDAS cloud-based geometry comparator. (For a complete list, see LEDAS: Products & solutions).

On the other hand, LEDAS has also worked on many outsourced projects that resulted in building key components advanced design software, such as CATIA V5 and V6, the Russian Geometric Kernel, and JETCAM Expert. One of the most important customers of LEDAS is nowadays JETCAM. (For a description of the relationship and a dramatic history of JETCAM Company, see Dmitry Ushakov's paper, “From the Prague Spring to a Siberian summer”.

JETCAM was founded in 1986 to develop and market software systems for CNC (computer numerical control) programming, which controls punching and cutting machines used for sheet metal fabrication and composite cutting. By 2012, the company had over 12,000 licenses operating in enterprises located in more than 80 countries. Customers included manufacturers as well known as Embraer (Brazil), Bombardier Aerospace (Canada), and Red Bull Technology (England).

JETCAM in 2010 started to transfer its software product development to LEDAS. Since then, much work has been accomplished. Taking into account key competences, skills, and experience of the LEDAS team, it should come as no surprise that great progress has been achieved. One of the numerous examples of the development and enhancement of JETCAM's computational components is outlined in “LEDAS makes JETCAM to work 50 times faster”.

David Levin and Ivan Stern on the balcony at JETCAM headquarters in Monaco

LEDAS' David Levin (on the left) and JETCAM Founder and CEO Ivan Sternagreeing in Monaco to a long-term software development cooperation

Against such background, it is worthwhile mentioning one proposal in particular made by JETCAM to LEDAS: it was about taking responsibility for a project called CrossTrack. This system manages orders, materials and assemblies; it combines considerable features of ERP (enterprise resource planning), MES (manufacturing execution system), WMS (warehouse management system), and MLM (material life-cycle management). The project was important to JETCAM, because it had been initiated upon the request if its biggest customers. Together with JETCAM Expert, the new software had to form a full-cycle order processing system that generated CNC code of any machine.

The news that prompted me to talk about LEDAS' involvement with Crosstrack came from JETCAM wins Composite UK Trade Association “Innovation in Manufacture” award with CrossTrack Manufacturing Suite.

Composites UK Award Winner

As the JETCAM website says: CrossTrack tracks material, material life, plies, kits, parts, nests and orders — all in real time. It provides complete traceability from the finished part right back to the roll or rolls, and also delivers full material, ply and kit life traceability. Already in use by several global companies such as Bombardier Aerospace, CrossTrack delivers benefits across all departments involved, from material delivery through to layup. Key benefits include:
  • Eliminate waste due to material no longer going out of life due to newer material erroneously being used first
  • Further waste reductions due to highly optimised nests
  • Tight integration to JETCAM’s award-winning nesting software, allowing dynamic “just in time” nesting
  • Data is entered just once and follows material/plies/parts/orders/nests, reducing duplication of effort and potential for errors
  • All information is live, allowing the production manager to forward plan cutting schedules much better
  • Full traceability, with user logging and comments against every process
  • Nests can be optimised for material efficiency, grouped by plies/orders or a mix of the two
  • Common interface for all relevant staff, with only the functions available to the staff that need them.

A very detailed list of CrossTrack's functions can be found in a special section of the JETCAM web site.

LEDAS team is thankful to JETCAM for the trust it bestowed in allowing us to be involved in the development CrossTrack. The project provided LEDAS with a chance to prove in a practical manner the team’s ability to successfully attack large new areas of programming.

There are, I believe, at least three reasons of this success:

  • Our company’s fundamental competences and background in a R&D (research and development) culture,
  • Our extensive experience in organization and management of large projects
  • Our expertise in optimizing the performance of distributes systems, massive computations, and databases.
By fulfilling this big project, LEDAS has considerably extended its practical competence in the areas of ERP, MES, WMS, and MLM.

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