Corporate Industries

Delcam’s CADCAM software has Ambler sitting pretty


The chair developed by Ambler for Trelleborg AEM

Delcam’s CADCAM software has left Ambler Technologies sitting pretty after the successful completion of a unique chair for composite materials supplier Trelleborg AEM.  An impressive project was needed to illustrate the machinability and finish quality of Trelleborg’s new TB400 low-density epoxy tooling board and Ambler was chosen to produce the design.  The model had to incorporate complex shape and compound curvature, as well as having to be finished to the highest standard, and so was an ideal fit with Ambler’s Delcam software.

The design was developed using Delcam’s PowerSHAPE CAD system, which was able to generate quickly the smoothly flowing curves making up the shape.  After the design was approved, sections were taken from the 3D model to enable the material to be rough cut to an approximate size.  The component parts were bonded together and then machined with programs generated from the PowerMILL CAM software.  After final polishing, an epoxy surface coating was added.  The final chair was shipped to Paris to take pride of place on the Trelleborg stand at the 2009 JEC exhibition.

Ambler Technologies was founded in Rochdale in 1969 as Ambler Patterns by Peter Chadwick, the father of the current Managing Director, Adrian Chadwick.  It started as a traditional patternmaker, serving the local foundry industry.  Over the next thirty years, it evolved into a specialist in CNC machining of epoxy resin and polyurethane tooling board. 

More recently, the company has moved into the production of models and lay-up tooling for reinforced plastics, and also into rapid prototyping.  It has also expanded outside its initial automotive business into new industries, including aerospace, defence, medical, marine, offshore oil and gas, and power generation.  The name was changed to Ambler Technologies to reflect the broader interests of the company.

The Delcam software was added about seven years ago, coincident with the introduction of the company’s first CNC machine and a move to the current 20,000 sq.ft. workshop.  "We knew a lot of people that were using the software; in fact, it seemed to be the industry standard,” remembered General Manager Craig Pickford.  "All the companies we asked were happy with the software and the service so it wasn’t a difficult decision to choose Delcam.”

"The software fits well with the traditional patternmaking skills that form the core expertise at Ambler,” added Mr. Pickford.  "It is an important part of the strong technical foundations that have enabled our company’s recent growth and development.”

A major part of that growth has been in the manufacture of composite tooling.  The company first developed the technology to produce lay-up tools and moulds for glass-reinforced plastics and has more recently also moved into carbon fibre-reinforced materials.  In both areas, Ambler offers prototype and short-run production, but the company mainly delivers turnkey tooling and ancillaries for its clients to complete their own manufacturing.