Nov 28, 2011

Planit Steps in to Create Manufacturing Excellence Trophies

Sheet metal CAD/CAM software, Radan, along with engineering production software Edgecam, played vital roles in creating 14 trophies for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Manfacturing Excellence (MX) awards. And two members of staff gave up their spare time to design and manufacture them.

Radan and Edgecam’s parent Group, Planit, were asked to step in through their close working relationship with Autodesk, one of the principal supporters of the awards, when the company originally doing the work had to pull out.

Edgecam engineer Bob Thorne designed the trophies using Autodesk. The tooling was provided by Sandvik, and Edgecam’s UK Technical Sales Manager Phil Gill worked with sheet metal customer Altex Engineering to laser-cut the sheet metal using Radan. Radbend was then used to fold the metal on their CNC press brake. The solid stainless steel billets were machined on a Mazak lathe at Edgecam customer Garner Engineering.

“The Institution of Mechanical Engineers wanted the trophies to fully demonstrate the quality of engineering,” says Phil Gill. “We incorporated something that looked engineered and was still prestigious.” The profile of the MX lettering was made from a solid ring of stainless steel. The IMechE logo and lettering on the stainless steel plate were carried out in Radan.

“We had 14 billets of material to produce 14 trophies, so there was no room for error. But with Radan’s powerful nesting feature which ensures full material utilisation to reduce waste – along with Radbend automatically determining the bending sequence, guaranteeing the part’s ‘bendability’ – and Edgecam’s full machining simulation and collision detection, we could be 100 per cent sure that the cutting toolpaths and bending were completely accurate before we started cutting metal.”

Manufacturing Excellence is one of the longest established manufacturing awards programmes in the UK, working with manufacturing businesses of all sizes, ages, sectors and areas of expertise, to improve processes and showcase their excellence. The trophies were presented at the Dorchester Hotel in London at a ceremony attended by Alistair Campbell and MPs Margaret Beckett and Mark Prisk.