Delcam ensures Gardner Aerospace is quick off the mark
Speed is of the essence in the fast paced, competitive world of aerospace manufacturing, particularly when it comes to any maintenance or repair work relating to an aircraft being stuck on the ground waiting for an urgent replacement part to be manufactured. In this instance, time quite literally means money, as every airline operator needs its aircraft to be up in the air and earning them money. Speed is also of the essence when new aircraft are in the development phase.
To help ensure that this fast turnaround of items goes like clockwork, Gardner Aerospace’s Basildon, UK, facility is very focused on making sure it provides on-time delivery of finished machined components back to the aircraft for installation. This entails the machining, fabricating, assembly and repair of precision parts, kits and subassemblies in a myriad of aerospace metals for the aerostructures, wings and engines for many ongoing and new aircraft programmes.
"I started using Delcam’s products from the day I began working at Gardner,” Gardner Aerospace Basildon’s Engineering Manager, Andy Cook, told Mike Richardson of Aerospace Manufacturing magazine. "I needed to very quickly hit the ground running with the types of difficult-to-machine components Gardner was increasingly being asked to supply and within a week I was on a training course at Delcam’s Birmingham headquarters.”
"At that time, Gardner was looking for a CAM software product solution that could enable it to machine from 3D models as opposed to traditional 2D drawings. Although we do use machine-tool software packages for simple 2D machining, whenever we have a 3D model we prefer to use Delcam’s software because it’s the most suitable for our applications.”
Mr. Cook says the key reasons Gardner Aerospace selected Delcam’s PowerMILL CAM system and PowerSHAPE design software over similar competitor offerings was for their 3D machining capabilities, ease of use and compatibility in terms of all the features the company needed.
"Delcam’s software has saved us time with the various revision improvements and upgrades it has provided to us throughout our working relationship,” Mr. Cook continued. "I’ve witnessed many product revisions and I’ve also visited Delcam to liaise with their engineers and help them tailor the five-axis machining techniques to better serve our requirements. I’ve always enjoyed a good rapport with the software engineers and they are always willing to listen to our ideas.”
"In the past, we’ve needed support for certain machining techniques on difficult-to-machine items, which has meant reinforcing our relationship with Delcam to discuss various suggestions and find solutions to suit our needs. Delcam’s products really have progressed year on year, and we’ve benefited from many of the improvements it has introduced over the years.”
Mr. Cook added that one of PowerMILL’s key strengths compared to its competitors is its speed of actually creating usable and efficient program toolpaths to improve the machine tool’s productivity. "When we run smaller batches, we can quickly generate a set of toolpaths via our tried and trusted in-house methods to get a one- or two-off onto the machining centre in an economical way – rather than look at optimising many different parameters to get the ‘perfect’ program, which we would normally do when we’re running a bigger batch,” he explained.
12 July 2012