Seeing a massive boost to business when it moved offices, SolidCAM UK took the change of location to Barnsley offices in 2012 and now it anticipates another growth spurt when it opens its Barnsley Technology Centre.
Gordon Drysdale, Managing Director said: “We ran very successful monthly seminars at our Technology Centre near Milton Keynes supported by ROMI and tooling and workholding suppliers. These seminars enabled engineers to see the whole manufacturing process from design through to the manufacture of the finished part. We outgrew that location. We are now moving the Technology Centre to Barnsley which will bring us together in one location so that customers can see our full range of services and meet all the SolidCAM UK team in a new and much bigger environment.”
Business has doubled since the move to the new Barnsley office and it is anticipated that the Technology Centre will result in a further 50% growth in business over the next 12-18 months. “The aim of the Technology Centre is for customers to understand the complete manufacturing process. We make some bold claims with iMachining, which is particularly effective on hard and difficult to machine materials such as Inconel and titanium, where we can achieve improvements in speed of 70% and up to 90% in some cases.”
One of the key technologies in iMachining is the software’s ability to maintain a constant chip thickness during cutting, continually changing the morphed toolpath step over and feedrate to achieve this and keep the tool cutting for more of the time.
As well as iMachining, SolidCAM has powerful 5-axis machining and Mill/Turn capabilities. There is no limit to the number of axes it can control and synchronise with Mill/Turn applications. Drysdale said: “Some of the Swiss type (Sliding Head) lathes can have 14 or more axes. SolidCAM can write all the programs for the different channels, synchronise them, simulate the result and preform clash detection to produce a safe and efficient toolpath.”
SolidCAM UK has developed some close partnerships with machine tool manufacturers, workholding suppliers and tooling suppliers. With the new Technology Centre, it will be able to build on these partnerships to develop and test new techniques for optimising machining productivity. This will be the third SolidCAM Technology Centre in Europe. The company already has centres in Germany and the Czech Republic and, as well as educating engineers in advanced metal cutting technology, the facilities are used as a testbed for new ideas from customers and partners in collaboration with the software development team at SolidCAM’s headquarters in Israel.
SolidCAM software works inside SolidWorks and InventorCAM inside Autodesk Inventor, making the combined software an extremely powerful CAD/CAM solution. SolidCAM UK already has close relationships with leading resellers of these products in the UK, supplying resources such as CAM specialists, postprocessors and training, as required by each reseller, so that the customer has the right level of support to maximise the productivity of his system.
A large proportion of SolidCAM UK’s business comes through this reseller network. However, with the advent of the new Technology Centre, the company is intending to grow its direct business where the customer’s requirement is not mainly design. The team at SolidCAM UK has grown significantly and it is actively seeking additional skilled employees to fill engineering and business development roles to meet the anticipated further growth.
As a Tier 2 member of the Nuclear AMRC, SolidCAM UK has taken advantage of its proximity to Sheffield to participate in seminars and has been involved in the manufacture of parts for the Bloodhound SSC. Additionally, it works with Sheffield Hallam University which has 200 copies of its software. MACH 2018 will be a major event for the company where it has a 40m2 stand in Hall 17 stand 640.
Drysdale added: “We are looking forward to MACH and we will be having a machine tool on the stand again (kindly supplied by Romi) so that visitors can see for themselves the productivity gains that iMachining can bring. We are excited about the new Technology Centre and the opportunities it will deliver in technology transfer, partnership development and new business. The strength of SolidCAM UK lies in the skilled and dedicated engineers we employ. We now need more people of the same calibre to prepare us for growth.”