Delcam software prompts rapid expansion at RP company

The new Object machine at Innov8es

Innov8es was founded in 2003 by David Piper and Mathew Turner, who between them have over 25 years experience in rapid prototyping and rapid manufacturing.  The company initially produced master models and silicone tools for short runs of polyurethane components for the automotive industry and this has remained one of its key technologies.

However, as its customers wanted the company to be able to undertake more extensive projects, it expanded into other areas.  Initially, the diversification was made possible by sub-contracting work but, in the last two years, the company has moved to larger premises and added new equipment to progressively bring more and more of its projects totally in-house.  During the same period, the scale of production has increased, with over 100,000 parts being produced in several cases.

"We work with a variety of processes and materials so the versatility of the Delcam software is essential to our success,” commented Mr. Piper.  "For example, we recently supplied Land Rover with complete prototype cockpits using a variety of our facilities.”

"The reliability of the software is equally important,” he added.  "We aim to provide our customers with high quality parts in a time frame that has previously been unachievable so we have to get everything right first time.”

The latest additions at the Telford site include two five-axis machining centres and an Object 500 V rapid prototyping machine.  The new machining centres, which like the company’s earlier three-axis machines are programmed exclusively using PowerMILL, were initially acquired to allow more efficient production of prototype seat foams.  However, they have also opened new opportunities for the company, in particular, in the production of jigs and fixtures for welding, assembly and inspection.

The Object machine is capable of producing prototypes built up of layers down to 16 microns in thickness.  It is designed for the manufacture of high accuracy components but also gives the ability to produce textures directly onto the models.

"Currently, we have to sub-contract the addition of textures onto our models.  The process involves adding latex film onto the prototypes by hand, which is time consuming and subject to the workload of our sub-contractor,” explained Mr. Piper.  "We are looking into using ArtCAM to create the textures and then wrapping them onto the CAD model using Delcam’s Total Modelling techniques.  With the increased accuracy of the Object machine, we should then be able to produce fully-integrated textures of very high quality.”