Delcam software used to recreate porcelain history
Delcam’s range of design and manufacturing software is being used by the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to create duplicates of antiques and to produce new designs. The unique Total Modelling approach within Delcam’s PowerSHAPE design software has substantially increased the design flexibility, while wide range of machining strategies in the PowerMILL CAM system has reduced machining times.
Imperial Porcelain was established in 1744 by Empress Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great. Its designs are included in the collections of the world’s biggest museums and they regularly appear at prestige auctions like Sotheby’s and Christie’s. To date, the complete range of products consists of four thousand different styles, from everyday services and souvenirs, to festive services and vases, animal sculptures and ornamental dishes.
"First of all, we like the flexibility of Delcam software and also the comprehensive approach which it offers in solving our problems,” says Kirill Pimenov, Director of the workshop specialising in the manufacture of Imperial Porcelain’s highest-quality products. "The software perfectly combines solid, surface and triangle modelling with functionality for reverse engineering and artistic sculpting. All this gives our designers complete freedom in choosing the methods they wish to use to develop new products.”
"They don’t feel the restrictions which exist in traditional CAD systems,” he added. "We don’t need to simplify any part’s design because of the limitations in the software. For example, now we can easily add complex decoration by wrapping a relief onto a CAD model using the ArtCAM engraving software.”
The first project for the Delcam software was to create a replica of an antique vase with two female figures that was made originally during the reign of Emperor Alexander the First. The design was large and contained complex geometry that would be difficult to mill so the designers decided to divide the STL model of the vase into a set of smaller sections, machine the moulds for these pieces and then assemble the moulded parts.
The first stage was to use the reverse engineering program to capture the original design. An important benefit of using Delcam’s CopyCAD software was the ability to create parting lines, which could be used afterwards in PowerSHAPE to generate the parting surfaces for the moulds. The completed STL models were imported to into PowerMILL. The main benefit at this stage was the ability to analyse and improve parameters such as machining time, toolpaths and strategies, so users could choose the optimum alternatives before generating any NC code."To be a successful company in our field, we must keep up to date and use new technologies, but not forget about our experience and traditions,” said Evgeniy Kornushin, Chief Technical Officer at Imperial Porcelain. "We have received constant understanding and support from Delcam in maintaining this balance”.