Delcam's PowerMILL to Support UK's Largest Mecof Machine

Delcam's PowerMILL CAM system will be used to drive the UK's largest Mecof machine tool, a twelve and a half metre long machine that has been installed by Concept Group International (Cgi) at its purpose-built Coventry, UK, headquarters. This large machine is the latest addition to the 4,000 sq. m Cgi facility, which has been rated by Jaguar Cars Design Director Ian Callum as "one of the most technically advanced in Europe."

Cgi is the UK's fastest growing independent R&D technology centre, supporting Europe's most technologically advanced digital studios. The company has two facilities in Coventry and also an office in Shangai China. It specialises in new product development for some of the world's most demanding automotive customers, including Ford, General Motors and Nissan.

In all cases, the priority is to bring new products to market faster. Cgi achieves this through their development of a unique 'fast-track' digital process that breaks down the boundaries between design and engineering found in the traditional linear approach to product development. Instead, activities are synchronised to speed the overall process, while retaining design flair and engineering excellence. In a typical example, Wrightbus was able to reduce its product development time for a new coach by at least 25% by using Cgi's services. The company is also expanding rapidly into the marine, aerospace and public transport sectors.

A key part of Cgi's process is in the engineering and design development whereby the rapid production of a full-size model of the new concept can be seen much earlier in the development process than is normal. This is undertaken in either clay or model board using specially-developed, multi-head milling units, in which up to four heads can be used simultaneously to machine the overall form.

All programming for these machines is undertaken with PowerMILL. With four synchronised programs needed to run the four heads, the programming speed of the software is even more important to Cgi than it is to Delcam's customers with more conventional machines. At the same time, the quality of the programs allows full-size clay models to be machined to within 0.1 mm.

Cgi's CNC studios are owned by both the design and engineering teams and the full scale CAD visualisation models can be viewed on the walls of the studios in the same environment as the physical model. This allows designers and engineers to review simultaneously the physical model and the CAD data. Changes in either the virtual or the physical environment can be quickly replicated in the other format.

PowerMILL is also an important part of Cgi's unique carbon fibre prototyping process. Carbon fibre prototype panels are taken from machine cut moulds to build up the 'Body in White'. Carbon constructions replicates steel and alumina body engineering and design without the need for expensive tooling and long lead times. These are then painted in Cgi's low bake oven painting facility to accurately replicate production intent. CGI can produce a fully-engineered prototype in-house in six months.

The new Mecof machine will allow Cgi to secure in-house machining capability for larger projects and also to machine harder materials, including steels and aerospace alloys. This will enable the company to take its projects further down the path to full-scale manufacturing by giving it additional facilities for the production of tooling, jigs and fixtures.

For further information on Delcam's PowerMILL software, please contact:
Peter Dickin, Marketing Manager
Direct phone: 44 (0)121 683 1081

Delcam plc
Small Heath Business Park
Birmingham, B10 0HJ

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