ARRK expands use of Delcam software

Steve Watson (centre left) was first to specify Delcam software ARRK's Rapid Tooling Development Centre in Teesside

ARRK, the world's largest rapid product development provider, has increased its use of Delcam's PowerSHAPE hybrid modelling software and PowerMILL machining system. The company is now using the Delcam software on its sites in the UK, France and Hungary.

ARRK has been a leader in rapid product development services for over 50 years and is now also expanding its production toolmaking and moulding operations. The company has a growing number of strategically situated locations throughout the world, including recent acquisitions in Japan, China, France and Spain. All are staffed with highly skilled and experienced professionals who use the latest technology to provide clients with outstanding quality, precision and service.

ARRK PDG, based on Teesside, UK, was the first part of the company to use Delcam software. This site specialises in the production of aluminium and steel prototype and production tooling, as well as low-volume moulding. Automotive projects make up a significant part of the work, with most of the remainder being for the electronics industry.

Most of aluminium tools are for prototypes and low-run production moulding up to 10,000 parts and have to be delivered within between three and six weeks lead time. Steel moulds are then manufactured when converting to larger scale production.

Tooling Manager Steve Watson introduced PowerMILL four and a half years ago and then added PowerSHAPE for surface modelling eighteen months later. "The initial attraction of PowerMILL was its ability to machine STL files," said Mr. Watson. "This gave us the maximum flexibility when deciding whether to produce a model with machining or rapid prototyping. It was also really simple to use, with very rapid training."

"After a short trial period, we rated the Delcam software high enough to standardise on it. Now, we do all our surface modelling with PowerSHAPE and all our machining with PowerMILL. In the time we've had our Delcam software, I haven't seen anything else that could compete with it."

"Whenever possible we machine to the final finish," said Mr. Watson. "Any extra details, such as ribs, that can't be machined, we add with electrodes designed in PowerSHAPE."

"I have total confidence when generating programs for our Makino and Hitachi Seiki machines. Often, we simply load up two pallets of parts and leave the machines cutting unsupervised over the weekend."

Mr. Watson also uses Delcam's PS-Exchange for data exchange. "This works really well with CATIA files," he commented. "It means that we are not spending a lot of time fixing imported data."

"The long-term benefit of being a Delcam user is the continuous improvement in the software," said Mr. Watson. "We push every new release of the software to the limits to keep our delivery times down. We have regular contact with the company and definitely feel as though our voice is being heard. This is critical in order for us to continually improve our service to our customers, enabling us to help them perform"
Steve Watson, Tooling Manager, ARRK PDG