New CEO for HVM Catapult

The board of the High-Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVM Catapult) has named Katherine Bennett, senior vice president at Airbus UK, as the successor to Dick Elsy when he retires later in 2021. The announcement follows a formal recruitment process led by the chair of the HVM Catapult, Allan Cook. Bennett was awarded a CBE in January 2019 for services to the aerospace and aviation sector, while in July 2018 she founded the UK’s Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter, which is committed to building a fair and balanced industry for women in the sector.

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UK launch for latest Verisurf

Bowers Group is introducing the latest Verisurf 3D CAD inspection software into the UK and Ireland marketplace. Offering a direct connection to Trimos portable arms and the C-Line series of portable CMMs, Verisurf software provides a 3D measurement platform for manufacturing inspection and reverse engineering.

Verisurf 3D metrology applications support quality inspection to verify design intent, but also find favour for tool building, guided assembly and more. The software allows manufacturers to overcome many challenges, such as complying with customer quality requirements, confirming conformance to design specifications, and automating and verifying the manual inspection process.

Notably, the software increases the CAD inspection capability of the Trimos Arm, alongside the ability to offer Trimos Arm 3D laser-scanning solutions that were previously unavailable. Verisurf can also build a CAD model from a physical part with its reverse-engineering capabilities, and is composed of integrated metrology modules available in specific combinations or single product suites.

Verisurf uses a windows-standard interface and opens all popular CAD file formats, as well as working with all CMMs, including portable arms, laser trackers and projectors, scanners, and photogrammetry systems.

The Inspection Suite is cost-effective and simple to expand as needs increase. With its easy-to-learn and easy-to-use interface, the software enables users to quickly verify finished parts against normal 3D data or blueprints. Complete first-article inspection also supports the generation of meaningful reports in seconds, using a variety of business presentation formats.

The 3D Scanning & Inspection suite integrates Verisurf’s CAD, measure and analysis modules, while the proprietary CAD-based architecture can read any file format, interoperate with any common portable CMM, and has flexible reporting capabilities.

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Alucast wins mayoral approval

The Mayor of the West Midlands praised Alucast’s commitment to investing in new technology and its people during a recent visit. Andy Street (pictured right) received a socially distanced tour of the aluminium casting specialist’s facility in Wednesbury to understand how the company is bouncing back from COVID-19 by targeting new opportunities in lightweighting – a major growth market with castings at its heart. The Mayor talked with staff to understand how it is supporting major OEMs in the automotive sector, as well as supplying parts to the hydraulics and chemical industries.

There was also time to find out more about the £2.2m investment in a new CNC machining shop that features six five-axis CNC machine tools. This advanced equipment will give Alucast the speed and precision necessary to meet the just-in-time delivery requirements of existing and future orders.

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Simulation completes full digital chain

A combination of tool-path simulation for G-code verification and cutting-tool management has significantly improved productivity for a company specialising in the machining of hydraulic blocks. Based at Saint-Germain-Laval in central France, Evaflo uses NCSIMUL’s machine simulation module from the Hexagon group to help create a complete digital chain, from receiving the customer’s product plans, through to setting up its CNC machine tool for cutting the prototype.

Around 80% of income at Evaflo comes from machining hydraulic blocks for agro-industry and aerospace applications. As manufacturing the blocks is highly specialised, the company originally programmed through a mix of basic CAM and code written manually using a text editor.

“Checking the code line by line on the machine was time-consuming, so we invested in simulation software that would validate the checking stage,” says co-director Élysé Botellé. “Installing the NCSIMUL Machine module from Hexagon reduced the time taken to complete that task by a factor of three.”

Having saved time in the workshop, the company turned its attention to improving productivity in the office.

“We developed our own code generator, dedicated to producing machining tool-path programs for our five Mori Seiki machining centres and turning machines, which we simulated in the digital twin created by NCSIMUL Machine.”

Based on the real characteristics of its machines, NCSIMUL provides Evaflo with a dynamic verification solution. But it does not end there, as the company discovered the software has complete synergy with another module, NCSIMUL Tool, which integrates its digital tools into the global production process, and optimises the tool cycle.

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PFF creates 100 jobs and invests £2m

Keighley-based PFF has created 100 jobs and invested more than £2m in its custom-built machines for manufacturing PPE. The investment follows PFF’s appointment by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to manufacture 360 million disposable polythene aprons for frontline NHS staff and social-care workers. PFF began manufacturing aprons using existing machinery purchased from international suppliers, but has now collaborated with British machine manufacturer Hanbury-Autogil to design and commission two bespoke, faster machines. The firm is also investing in four folding machines.

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