Mayflower Questions the Need for Prototypes Thanks to DELMIA Virtual NC from Delmia Corp.

The Hull office of Mayflower Aerospace believes that the need to produce prototype components is becoming increasingly limited.

Troy, Mich. U.S.A. - December 11, 2002 - The Hull office of Mayflower Aerospace believes that the need to produce prototype components is becoming increasingly limited. Since adopting the DELMIA VNC system from Delmia Corp., a Dassault Systemes company, and following extensive tests, Mayflower is making the bold claim that all the components produced following its virtual prove-out will be usable. So confident is Mayflower that it has also discontinued the practice of tape prove outs and fresh air test runs, thus saving its clients’ time and money.

Chris Smith, head of Mayflower’s Hull office, explained: “VNC utilizes 3D models of machining tools, and emulates the machine tool controller and numerical control (NC) program to simulate and help eliminate on-the-floor manufacturing problems related to fixturing, tooling, program errors, and process setup.”

Mayflower Aerospace was established in March 2001 following the joint acquisition of Mayflower Technical Services and Trim Engineering Group to create a design-to-manufacture organization. Industry best practices have been implemented at every stage, so that Mayflower’s management believes that its efficiency matches the very best in the sector.

Chris Smith said: “Our VNC results are checked by two different manufacturing engineers and the detailed analysis is intense. They check the depth of cut, the volumetric removal rate, collision detection and carry out a comprehensive method check. VNC also captures any problems there might be with peripheral elements, such as set up sheets and tooling. All this adds up to making all our prove-outs virtual, so that our customers are able to immediately produce only final specification parts. Our current right first time figure is 85%.”

“DELMIA Virtual NC is the complete digital manufacturing solution for rapidly emulating, validating, and optimizing NC machine processes,” said Philippe Charles, CEO of Delmia Corp. “The cost reductions that Mayflower has achieved using DELMIA VNC is a clear example of the competitive edge that 3D modeling can bring manufacturers, regardless of industry domain or company size.”

Kevin Cutsforth, Mayflower’s Team Leader for NC commented: “Mayflower has tested its new DELMIA VNC methodology on 100 different components over a six month period. Given typical running costs, Mayflower found that running just one CNC machine during the additional prove–out can cost £250 per hour. The industry standard for prove-out varies between three and four iterations, so the initial saving runs into thousands of pounds. To that, you can add comfort in the knowledge that collisions are eliminated, each one of which can cost £30,000-40,000 to repair. Finally, being able to sell every component that is produced, would over an entire aircraft consisting of many thousands of components, speed time to market by months, a saving which would be impossible to quantify.”

Mayflower believes its success in the aerospace sector could easily cross over to more mainstream manufacturing. Chris Smith concluded: “We seek to be at the forefront technically and this has led us to be confident a customers’ NC machine will never sustain damage and that no part material will be wasted. No company is too small to benefit from the savings that do accrue when the NC machine is accurately mimicked.”

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