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What is Rapid Prototyping?
Rapid prototyping is a process in which a limited run of a part is created in a short time. This process is often done as part of the design process. As it will often identify issues in a physical item that may not be apparent during the design process. In terms of curved aluminium components, rapid prototypes have historically not been feasible. We have looked to change this and have developed a set of key processes that allow us to output prototype components with incredibly short lead times.
The Benefits of Rapid Prototyping
- Faster new product development
- Early-stage design/concept validation of the form, fit, and function of the design
- Production method and timeframe confirmation
- Functionality testing of the concept and final product specification
- Hands on interaction with the final product
Unrivalled Experience In Specialist Aluminium Bending
In the world of aluminium bending, we are uniquely set up to produce rapid prototypes of curved components. We have worked with a number of companies, in a range of industries and have had great success in producing prototypes. Many of these for some of the most cutting edge designs in the world. Industries such as Aerospace, Automotive and Rail as well as unique sculpture and decorative components. One such project being The Dome: A massive aluminium structure designed to be the centre piece of a state of the art plaza. This project involved developing a method of bending some of the largest pieces of aluminium ever curved. We were the only aluminium bending company in the world to successfully curve these sections.
The Rapid Prototyping we can do:
- Producing batch quantities of prototype parts with material characteristics and accuracy representative of production.
- Producing single components using rapid prototyping high-speed machining techniques
- Offering prototyping methods, such as inhouse 5 axis-machining, Heat treatment, Powder Coating and more.
- Creating fully functional prototypes to match the strengths and mechanical properties of the designed component.
A Range of Bending Methods
Our facilities house a number of roller bending machines with a wide range of bespoke options. Allowing us to bend parts that no other company can. Lengths of up to 12m can be curved on our machines to some of the tightest radius in the world. Our experienced bending engineers make quick work of almost any aluminium extrusion. Window system bending is a standard for our company and many systems have stock tooling available, greatly reduces lead time and costs. These systems include:
We are specialists in 3D bending and are one of very few companies in the world able to offer a 3 dimensional bending service for aluminium components. Our advanced bending equipment and techniques allow us to curved components that no other company in the world can.
There are a number of specialist bending services that we are happy to have available in our facilities. Specialist processes such as profile and fin twisting can be done on our bespoke twisting machines, allow us to crate absolutely stunning facades and designs for our customers. Additional techniques are also used to allow us to bend a wide range of tempers and alloys that most simply would not be able to. Based on years of experience and industry innovation, our bending processes are world leading.
Full In-house Production
One of our key speciality services. In-house 5-axis machining is one of our most sought after offers. Providing 3D bent extrusions and aluminium components has in the past led to issues of post bending machining, as not many machining companies can offer high accuracy 5-axis machining for these sections. It was because of this that we opened our in-house machining centre, to alleviate that difficulty for our customers of finding a machinist to finish their parts. We have developed a team of operators, specialty trained to machine these curved aluminium parts allowing us to provide a fully bespoke service to our customers and their projects. This is especially true when working with prototyping as it allows us to keep the product in our hands the whole way through production, ensuring a total lock down on information and quality control.
Heat treatment is key to many of our customers and projects. Ensuring the end components have the correct level of strength is crucial for most projects we work on. This is why offering In-house heat treatment is so important for us, it cuts out any risk of outsourcing issues and ensures we have total control over the quality of the final product. Another benefit is our nearly 8m heat treatment bed that allows us to keep providing curved parts up to 7.5m long that need heat treatment.
Powder Coating and other surface finishes are key to seeing a snapshot of what the final product will look like. Our inhouse surface treatment set up allows us to quickly produce fully finished part without the material ever leaving our factory. Our facilities allow for large and small batch powder coating, keeping costs down where possible and scaling up to meet demand as needed.
One of the most crucial part of any project, especially prototyping, is conformity. This is why our inspection lab is kitted with CMM inspection equipment, allowing us to check parts through multiple stages of production ensuring complete conformity to tolerances. Host both probing and 3D scanning capabilities, our CMM is designed to fit any part or project. Giving out team and our customers the confidence that we are keeping on track to success.
It has always been very important to us to supply our customers with everything they could possibly need. This is why we have developed our facilities to match all the processes that our projects require, limiting the need to outsourcing as much as possible and allowing us the confidence to tell our customers that we can handle it for them. Booking a job with us is so much more than just bending, we take the weight of the production off of your shoulders and supply you with accurate and distinct formed parts without any of the hassle of passing it back and forth between companies. This is especially true when developing prototype products, as on many occasions the production plan is not set in stone and often creative problem solving and use of equipment leads to an even greater product.
Custom Aluminium Profile Development
Creating custom aluminium profiles is often a very costly and time consuming process. Therefore is usually isn’t feasible when trying to get a prototype produced. For this purpose we offer a specialist custom profile development program. This program allows us to produce trial parts matching the proposed extrusion design at a fraction of the turn around usually needed for Extrusion production. In this way we are able to produce prototyped parts with customer extrusion designs for more quickly than is usually possible. We are constantly looking for new ways to grow and evolve our business. Our team are dedicated to supplying the best possible service to our customers through our full range of inhouse services. These include:
- Premium Aluminium Bending
- Coded Welding
- 3 and 5-Axis Machining
- Heat Treatment
- CMM Inspection
- And many more services