Facilitating innovation

Posted on 14 Nov 2015 by Jonny Williamson

Jonny Williamson takes a tour of Delcam’s Advanced Manufacturing Facility.

It’s often said that innovation is the key to achieving growth. But how does a company innovate?

More importantly, how does a company innovate when assembly lines are already running flat out to meet existing orders

Delcam AMF Inspection
Delcam’s AMF offers a unique, low-risk, low-cost environment to test processes and designs.

Aerospace is a sector looking to double its annual output, so arbitrarily halting production to produce a prototype or test a potential process improvement is almost impossible.

That’s where offerings such as Delcam’s Advanced Manufacturing Facility (AMF) play a vital role.

Equipped with some of the most impressive machining and finishing technologies available, the AMF serves a number of vital roles in its aim to become a one-stop-shop for companies to experience advanced technology.

Historically, the AMF allowed the company to showcase its CAM tools to potential customers, explains Delcam’s marketing manager, Peter Dickin as he gives me a tour.

According to Dickin, a live demonstration proved invaluable, especially when the technology was in its infancy.

Ideally located in the same building as Delcam’s 63,000 sqft Birmingham-based headquarters, the AMF’s close proximity to the company’s developers means any software improvements can be physically experienced far swifter than otherwise, greatly streamlining the process.

Delcam’s current AMF capacity:

  • Hermle C50U MT 5-Axis Mill-turn (Siemens 840D)
  • DMG DMU 160P 5 Axis (Siemens 840D)
  • Huron KX200 5-Axis (Siemens 840D)
  • Mazak Variaxis 630 5-Axis (Mazatrol Fusion)
  • Huron VX12 (Siemens 840D)
  • GOM ATOS ScanBox (Structured Light Scanning)
  • Poli Galaxy CNC CMM (Part Inspection)
  • Poli Sky CNC CMM (Part Inspection)
  • Romer Inspection Arm (Portable Part Inspection)

Today, its main – and arguably most important – activity is offering large companies with limited engineering support, capability or skill a unique, low-risk, low-cost environment to test processes and designs without taking out vital factory resources.

The AMF’s 38-strong team of highly-skilled operators are on hand to help companies produce samples; offer advice on design changes to make the part more manufacturable; enable processes to become more efficient, and make recommendations regarding tooling, parts, materials and machines.

Certified to AS9100 (quality management for aerospace) and ISO 9001 (quality management system) standards, the AMF provides services including high-speed machining; advanced 5-axis milling; fixture and part manufacture; reverse engineering; component inspection; process development; technology trials; repeatability studies; robotic systems, and automation trials.

Dickin tells me that companies that have embraced the AMF’s capabilities have, among other factors, successfully embraced more efficient technologies; maintained their competitive edge; improved part quality and consistency; made more efficient use of existing resources; reduced their reliance on manual operations, and increased their productivity by automating processes.

What is Delcam?

With more than 40 years of experience developing CADCAM software, Delcam has continually invested 50% of its software royalties in research and development, and is now a leading global solutions supplier to 50,000 customers in 80 countries.

With more than 700 staff worldwide and over 150 subsidiaries and partners across The Americas, Europe and Asia, Delcam helps clients manufacture aerospace and automotive parts; moulds; tools; dies; consumer products; shoes, and medical devices.