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« With Alma, we found a very efficient, skilled and open-minded partner able to optimize the functionalities of its software to adapt it to each specific case. »
« To invest in the valves and fittings sector, off-line programming with act/weld is a precious asset since teaching programming would not be precise enough. »

Win-win partnership between CAM and laser expertise

Among the Italian laser machine and system manufacturers, the Righi company, based in Montecchio di Sant’Angelo, Lizzola (province of Pesaro e Urbino) is one of the more dynamic players in the field of industrial applications using YAG technology, thanks to its very high level engineering know-how. In Alma, Righi has found a partner able to provide the company with a full range of CAM manufacturing software, from 2D/3D cutting to tube cutting and laser welding.

Market demands as innovation incentive

Righi prides itself on over 20 years of experience in the industrial automation sector. The company was initially specialized in the design and manufacturing of standard or specific machines, electrical sets, embedded systems, programming and supervision software. From this still core activity which is very successful, the company has created a range of 3 to 5-axis numerical control machines for cutting, drilling, welding, marking applications and the machining of metals and other materials. In its machines, Righi integrates laser Nd:YAG sources manufactured by the Swiss company LASAG.

“All our cutting and welding centers are based on real needs, often stemming from the other branch of the company”, explains Umberto Ferretti of Righi’s Technical Department. “For example, the first laser machine was developed for a customer in the goldsmith’s and silversmith’s art field who needed a specific solution enabling him to also recover the off-cuts of precious materials such as gold or silver. We therefore designed a customized machine that was so perfect that is has never been modified since then! The machines we manufacture nowadays are still identical to this prototype”.

Another significant example it that of the prototype of the 3 or N-axis laser micro-machining center, now called BC micro within Righi’s machine range. “Originally designed for a Swiss customer, this machine was entirely made of granite and offers 2-micron precision. We took up the challenge since the black granite frame, linear axis and optical rulers allow a resolution equal to zero that can be compared to that of the best measurement machines”, adds Umberto Ferretti.

 

The best of laser welding

The best Righi machine is ROBOWelding, a welding system equipped with a ND:YAG laser (LASAG EasyWelder source) able to work according to an infinite number of configurations. The torch that pilots the laser beam is manipulated by an anthropomorphic robot able to successively carry out different operations on one, two or more work stations according to a repetitive and automatic pre-ordered sequence. Many operations can be carried out with the laser beam, such as continuous welding, discontinuous welding, spot welding, soldering, welding of different metals, cutting, micro-cutting, marking, ablation, cladding, scribing, drilling, micro-drilling or micro-welding. It is easy to imagine the various ways of using this machine.

 

Installations adapted to each application

The range of automatic GoldCUTTER machines complements the anthropomorphic robots of the ROBOWelding range. Equipped with linear motors, digital actuators, the latest generation numerical command and a Nd:YAG laser source, these machines are adapted to different applications (cutting, drilling, all types of welding, ablation, cladding, marking).

“The application fields of this type of laser cells are varied, from precision mechanics to goldsmith’s and silversmith’s art, from electronics to medical equipment where quality, precision, technical and aesthetic features are essential key factors of success”, comments Mauro Righi, Director of the company. “These are our markets, that is why we only want to focus on medium size machines. The largest one currently manufactured has a working scope of 800 x 1,000 mm. Before starting to manufacture large machines and penetrate other markets, we are trying to attract all our potential customers, not to be in competition with the larger manufacturers. By concentrating on this target, we are able to customize our standard solutions, with Alma’s decisive contribution in optimizing any kind of process, which is essential to be able to develop new applications”.

 

A unique expertise for the programming of 2D machines and cutting/welding robots

“Knowing precisely what we needed to pilot our machines, we decided to adopt Alma’s software because of its large range of standard modules that could potentially cover all our requirements”, explains Mauro Righi. “It was only afterwards that we realized to what extent Alma was a very skilled and open-minded partner, able to optimize the functionalities of its software to adapt them to each specific case”.

And that was the beginning of a winner-winner partnership based on a close collaboration between Righi, manufacturer of laser cutting and welding systems with more than 20 years of experience in the field of process automation, and Alma, an editor able to offer a complete range of CAM software for mechanical manufacturing, from 2D/3D cutting to tube cutting and welding. Righi has found in Alma a unique partner able to answer all the requirements of the company.

act/ software allows 2D and 3D programming in the same environment. It provides the integrator-manufacturer with three competences: IT, technological and robotic. Known for its quality and advanced technology, act/ software also gives added value to Righi’s offer. Whatever the application, standardization of programming simplifies the work of Righi’s technicians in charge of installing the software, training and customer support. Alma sometimes helps with technical-sales support during the feasibility analysis phase or with answering specific customer needs. This partnership enables Righi to offer special solutions that translate into innovative machines likely to be marketed.

 

Being independent when customizing software

It is also thanks to its collaboration with Alma that Righi can count among the main Italian providers of laser applications, even if its intervention scope has mainly concerned goldsmith’s and silversmith’s art and jewelry up to now. “Our objective is to widen our market opportunities; we are currently studying micro laser machining which could become a strategic base to penetrate the sector thanks to the accessibility of Alma’s software and our know-how and expertise“, adds Mauro Righi.

One example among others is that of the 3D cutting cell for tubes, used in goldsmith’s and silversmith’s art for the cutting and micro-cutting of rings, necklaces and jewelry, but also in the mechanical field; the use of the act/tubes module customized in terms of functionalities enables the user to program the cutting of tubes with circular and regular sections, but also irregular sections.

Righi chose act/cut and act/tubes to program 2-axis GoldCUTTER systems (flat metal sheet cutting) and 4-axis GoldCUTTER (tube cutting) in the goldsmith’s and silversmith’s art industry because the software is easy to use, modular and can be configured according to the different needs of customers. It can be entirely automated thanks to the execution of the ‘batch’ program that imports 2D parts or 3D tubes from any CAM system (via DXF, DWG, STEP or IGES formats), generates files that launch part or tube production, executes nesting on flat metal sheets and tubes, and lastly generates NC files and workshop forms. Moreover, Righi’s technicians are independent when customizing the post-processor, choosing the technological parameters and the documents to be printed, thanks to a compatible Visual Basic® language, to the Resources editor and the Excel® tables integrated to act/cut. act/ software has thus been configured for all machines, taking into account the different parameterizations of the Nd:YAG laser and the preparation of the parts with specific cutting, micro-cutting, drilling, micro-drilling, welding or marking processes.

 

Piloting all robot models

 act/weld and act/cut 3d have been chosen for the programming of the ROBOWelding laser welding cell with a 6 or N-axis robot initially targeted for the valves and fittings industry. The software allows the efficient programming of all applications relative to welding and laser cutting in space, whatever the number of axis. Not only do they carry out simulation but also generate a digital file for the real manufacturing of the part. Decisive factors in choosing Alma were the adaptability of the software to all robot models, Righi being free to define the robot best suited to the application required by the customer, and the capacities of the ‘modeling’ function that enables the user to model and define the cinematic of each 3D cell projected by Righi, with its gantries, positioners and tools specifically studied for each customer. “With this type of system, we invest a lot in the sector of valves and fittings for which we have already designed two cells equipped with a Motoman robot to aesthetically weld shower handles. Off-line programming with act/weld is a precious asset since teaching programming would not be precise enough”, concludes Mauro Righi with a smile.

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