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Delcam’s PowerMILL CAM software gives yacht designers more freedom


Machining a hull with PowerMILL
Viking Yachts is one of the leading manufacturers of luxury yachts

The addition of Delcam’s PowerMILL CAM software has given designers at the Viking Yacht Company increased freedom to create new advanced aesthetic features. Previously, the designers could have drawn more complex shapes with their CAD technology, but "were limited to what our carpenters and R&D personnel could physically carve out of foam and putty,” according to Chris Babek, who manages manufacturing engineering and handles special projects at the company. Some parts had proved to be extremely time consuming, or even impossible, to carve by hand.

The Viking Yacht Company, based in New Jersey, is one of the world’s premier luxury performance yacht makers. Each year, Viking builds more than 100 yachts ranging in length from 45 to 74 feet. The boats must offer state-of-the-art levels of performance and safety, while also displaying cutting-edge aesthetic design and individuality.

Viking Yachts founders Robert and Bill Healey say their mission is to "Build a Better Boat Every Day.” They reasoned that large-scale five-axis machining capability would enable the designers to move directly from 3-D CAD models to scale models or full-size patterns. Accordingly, the company acquired a MR125 gantry milling system able to handle parts 60 feet long by 20 feet wide and 10 feet high. It can mill patterns as large as a vessel’s bridge and helm, as well as Viking’s smaller hulls, in one piece.
 
Machining a hull with PowerMILL  
To make the most of the big milling machine's capabilities, Mr. Babek evaluated the available selection of CAM software. Initially, he was disappointed in what he saw until he arranged a demonstration of PowerMILL from Delcam reseller DM Solutions. He immediately appreciated the software’s capabilities. "I like the idea that you can change things very quickly,” he said, "without regenerating the whole toolpath.”

In addition to making forms for production moulds, Viking is using PowerMILL to create scale models for its designers to review before producing full-scale parts. "We’ll quickly cut a scale model, let the designers look at it, and then they can decide whether they want it cut full size,” explained Mr. Babek. "In the past, until we had a full size pattern made – in which our R&D dept. could have invested weeks and weeks of work – the designers couldn’t look at it and decide if it was what they wanted.”

"The Delcam software gives our designers more flexibility in their designs because they are no longer limited to what can physically be built by hand,” concluded Mr. Babek. "It gives them the ability to make more organic shapes and it helps us improve on our product development cycle.”
 
Viking Yachts is one of the leading manufacturers of luxury yachts