Delcam software aids design & manufacture of automotive styling kits
Australian company UP Industries has developed a fast-growing subsidiary making automotive styling kits, C2R, to compliment its more established product design, patternmaking and toolmaking operations. Central to the success of this business is a unique composite tooling system produced with Delcam software.
Development of the system began from the expertise in urethane resin development of Mani Riederich, who founded UP Industries together with his brother Jogi. Whilst aluminium, mild steel and cast steel moulds are used for producing large volumes of parts, the company recommends that customers use its composite tools for production runs between 100 and 2,500 units. "Composite tooling can be produced at a fraction of the cost of steel or aluminium tools and offers good design versatility as well as a class A finish,” emphasised Mr. Riederich. The unique formulations used mean that there are few limits on size; the largest composite mould made by the company weighed 7 tonnes.
The C2R concept came about when UP Industries was faced with a quiet period in certain OEM contracts. "To tide us over the reduced amount of work, we decided that we should produce our own parts and use them to raise the value of some second-hand cars,” remembered Director Eric Schell.
"We then managed to sell our idea to Ford and were commissioned to produce front and rear bumpers and grilles for its Falcon AU mode” he added. The company completed the Ford kit in six months. "Once our extras were added on to the vehicle, the manufacturer saw an uplift in sales,” claimed Mr. Schell. "Since that success, we have become established as plastic surgeons to the local automotive industry, using our expertise to make cars more beautiful.”
Typically, the first stage in developing a new automotive component is sourcing data, which is generated by a number of means, including PowerSHAPE. The composite resin cavity and core are cast from this model. A master sample is then produced to allow preliminary fitting of the part on a vehicle and so ensure that there are no design discrepancies. Only after this check is a complete tool produced.
Mr. Schell said that the Delcam software helps the company to meet its tight lead times. "The translation of files from our customers into PowerSHAPE is very fast and reliable,” he explained. "Also, we are able to determine if any problems will occur before we start any manufacturing by using the software’s analysis tools and can quickly complete new designs. Similarly, with PowerMILL, we have advanced our machining techniques and dramatically reduced costs and delivery times.”
"By combining the power of the software with the skills of our patternmakers, we can achieve an extremely attractive combination of accuracy, high-quality finish, short lead times and, most importantly, financially viable methods to suit most customers,” concluded Mr. Schell.