Delcam software gives Ferretti faster boat building


Delcam Software is improving delivery times for the Ferretti Group's yachts
A high quality finish is essential in yachts having an average value of £1 million

The introduction of five-axis machining on a CMS machine programmed with Delcam’s Power Solution software at its DI&SSE subsidiary is helping the Ferretti Group to further improve the delivery times for its yachts. The new facilities are used both in the production of master models and lay-up tooling for the main structure of the yachts and for the manufacture of wooden trim and other components.

The Ferretti Group builds around 100 yachts under the Ferretti name with an average value of £1 million each year. The Group also includes the Pershing, CRN, Custom Line, Riva, Itama, Apreamare, Mochi Craft operations in Italy, plus the Bertram company in the
USA. All the boats are made to order, although most are based around standard sizes.

The target set by Vice-President of Engineering Andrea Frabetti is to need no more than twelve months to take any new project from concept to show launch. The Group already claims to have one of the shortest times to market of any builder in the industry but pressure is on all the time to improve processes so that times can be reduced still further.

The new CMS five-axis machining centre represented DI&SSE’s first move into true three-dimensional machining. After two years working with the machine and with the Delcam software, it is now fully integrated into the company’s methods.

Massimo Gallegati, who is responsible for all the machining operations, explained that he first creates detailed designs in PowerSHAPE from each new concept presented to him. A combination of computer visualisations and physical models is used for design approval.

After the design has been approved, patterns are created in PowerSHAPE and machined with PowerMILL. Even though the CMS machine has a six-metre bed, it is often necessary to machine the larger patterns in sections and then assemble them into the final tool. "The combination of the machine tool and the software gives us very good accuracy,” claimed Mr. Gallegati. "We never have any problems with the fit.”

High accuracy and quality of machining are even more important with the exterior components. These standard parts are typically machined from harder woods, usually mahogany or teak. Even so, they come off the machine virtually as they will be used, with only minimal hand finishing before they are sent for varnishing or painting.

"When a customer orders one of our boats, we have to deliver the performance and quality we promise,” concluded Mr. Gallegati. "The introduction of five-axis machining has helped us increase our productivity but, most importantly, these facilities are part of our guarantee that there will be few surprises when a new model hits the water for the first time.”