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  • Delcam software reduces costs and time to market for composites manufacturer

Delcam software reduces costs and time to market for composites manufacturer

Plyform uses PowerSHAPE to develop the complex shapes demanded by its customers

Delcam’s Power Solution software is helping Italian composites manufacturer, Plyform, to reduce its costs and its time to market. The software is also enabling the company to create the increasingly complex components requested by its customers.
Plyform is located in the Piemonte-Novara region, from where it supplies the aerospace, communications, automotive, boat building and medical industries. The range of materials used is equally broad, including carbon, Kevlar and glass reinforcement in a variety of resins.

"The history of Plyform began in 1996, when we began supplying composite structures to the aerospace industry,” stated one of the company’s owners, Gianluigi Grillo. "We now specialise in the automotive and boat-building industries as well. Our most important customers include Agusta, Aermacchi, Alenia, Piaggio Aviation and Ferrari Auto.”

"These customers don’t ask for simple systems any more,” continued Mr. Grillo. "They need to design and produce increasingly complex industrial structures. As a result, we have become more and more like a development partner rather than just being the supplier. We have a special role as a co-innovator, able to manage all the different technologies needed to optimise the product. To do this, we use the latest materials and production processes, from CADCAM systems to five-axis machine tools, co-ordinate measuring machines, thermoforming systems and autoclaves of various sizes.”

The first challenge is to capture accurately the designer’s idea, whether it is a new body panel, a fuselage’s fairing or any other structural part. To manage the complex geometries involved, the engineering department at Plyform uses PowerSHAPE. "With this important tool, we’re able to develop projects according to the customer’s needs,” claimed Mr. Grillo.

"PowerSHAPE’s hybrid modelling capabilities enable designers to optimise details within the design and to minimise the component’s weight,” added Mr. Grillo. "Then, the close integration between PowerSHAPE and PowerMILL enable designs of new parts to be rapidly converted into machining data to mill components or to produce a resin model.”

Using PowerMILL has helped Plyform to introduce five-axis machining. "The main benefit of this kind of technology is the opportunity to save time by machining complex shapes in a single set up,” explained Mr. Grillo. "In addition, the ability to use shorter cutters enables greater machining accuracy.”

"In the aerospace industry products have not only to provide high performance, their reliability has to be absolute. At the same time, we must reduce costs and time to market. Owning Delcam’s CADCAM tools helps to match these needs,” he added. "This technology shouldn’t be considered as an option, especially when the competition is becoming more aggressive,” concluded Mr. Grillo.