Introducing Columbus.NET™ Programming and Nesting Software

ESAB Welding & Cutting Products introduces Columbus.NET™, an intelligent programming package designed to streamline workflow and improve cutting machine productivity. Based on Microsoft.NET standards, Columbus.NET offers many new features to make programming easier and more efficient, improve material utilization, and increase productivity.

The Columbus.NET system is a powerful database-driven software designed to handle all your parts-cutting and nesting needs. All data is arranged in an easy-to-navigate hierarchy structure. The database stores all the parts, sheets, nests, remnants and other data required to cut parts and nests. Data can be exported, allowing Columbus.NET to drive other business planning software, or imported from inventory systems to allow Columbus.NET to be more automated. These capabilities can save a tremendous amount of time and reduce errors by eliminating manual data entry into multiple systems.

At the heart of Columbus.NET is a user-friendly interface that provides complete control over the entire programming process. The Layout Designer manages all functions necessary to generate a CNC program or nest for straight cutting in oxy-fuel, plasma, laser and marking processes. Improved machine set-up features include control left or right, nesting from multiple points, multiple staging areas for using two plates side by side, and support for multiple marking stations. The menu-driven user interface complements the screen icons to keep the workspace more organized and keep important functions at your fingertips. User can also customize the workspace by hiding or showing all features in each section. For users who prefer working with multiple displays, Columbus.NET can un-dock all command menus, allowing one screen to be dedicated to the program graphics and the other screen dedicated to menus and dialogs.

Columbus.NET’s improved Parts Database allows users to save a part with specific lead-in/lead-out geometry, SDP files assignment, and edge bevel information. After the part is programmed and stored in the Parts Database, it can be used over and over again in different nests with all of the correct assignments in place. Programmers can set lead-ins in a specific place, and they will not be moved. This saves significant time when beveling, since the bevel information only has to be applied once. This also reduces errors and programming time since a part can be perfected and then saved in the Parts Database indefinitely.

A new Assembly Database allows parts to be grouped into assemblies that are automatically nested based on the number of assemblies required. Assemblies may include different parts, quantities, materials and thicknesses. Once an assembly is created, it can be ordered in any quantity, and the software automatically creates the correct requirements. These requirements can be filtered by material and thickness to automatically nest the assemblies, yielding higher material utilization and easier, more organized programming. This decreases production time by reducing material handling through well-planned production runs.

Columbus.NET also now offers Order Tracking for cutting jobs using the Customer Database. Multiple customers can be entered, and all parts, orders, and assemblies can be organized by customer for better workflow and more systematic data handling. Orders can be entered in the database to allow tracking of parts status and material usage by customer, by part, and by assembly. The system provides better plate management, and lets users track orders all the way through the system, so they know when orders are completed and jobs can be closed.

DWG and DXF import is simplified as Columbus.NET graphically identifies the layers and allows the user to pick which layers to import. When importing a part, the user sees the part graphically, and contours or layers can be graphically selected for import with no need to open a file in CAD to see the layers.

Columbus.NET includes ESAB’s Precision Hole Technology™, which automatically generates the best possible program code for cutting small holes and slots. This technology is encapsulated in the new Process Database and is automatically applied when cutting mild steel up to one-inch thick. No programmer intervention is required to produce high quality plasma holes, since all the expertise is now embedded in the Columbus.NET software. Precision Hole Technology applies to mild steel up to one-inch thick, on holes from 1:1 up to 5:1 diameter-to-thickness ratio.

Columbus.NET also automatically selects the correct cutting parameters (SDP Files) for inside holes, containers and slots and for outside contours. These cutting parameters can be set up for each material and thickness. Then Columbus.NET embeds the correct codes into the part programs automatically. Since this information is stored in the Process Database and assigned automatically, quality cuts will be produced no matter who programs the parts.

Columbus.NET uses a Microsoft® SQL database as the backbone for all of its databases. This state-of-the-art platform ensures the programming changes, updates and improved features will be quick and easy, allowing the software to keep pace with the continually evolving technology of plasma cutting. Columbus.NET will run on both 32-bit and 64-bit systems.

Columbus.NET also now features automatic notification of updates. When the software is started, it automatically checks for software updates, then prompts the user if any new features are available to install. This keeps your software up-to-date, and eliminates waiting for e-mail messages or checking web sites for updates. They will come automatically as long as the maintenance contract is maintained.

In addition, Columbus.NET is offered with total on-line support at no additional charge. All support is done on-line, to get customers up and running and questions answered as quickly as possible. Training is also provided on-line to reduce travel costs and time.


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