Delcam's PowerMILL CAM software is being used to produce a number of complex components for the BLOODHOUND SSC (supersonic car).
The CAM software expert's products have been employed by the AMRC (University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing). The AMRC is one of a number of Delcam customers and technical partners that use its software to manufacture parts for the vehicle, which aims to set a new world land speed record of 1,000 mph in South Africa in 2016.
Delcam is an SME Sponsor supporting the project with its manufacturing expertise and software, while the company is also a Product Sponsor, as it produces components for the potentially-record-smashing jet- and rocket-powered car.
Although there have been many challenged faced by the AMRC team, one obstacle that proved a particular head-scratcher was the front suspension sub-assembly of the BLOODHOUND SSC. At first glance, the part appears extremely complex and tricky to machine due to the deep pockets with small internal corners. However, these issues were overcome with ease thanks to the Vortex high-efficiency area-clearance strategy in Delcam's PowerMILL that roughs out pockets.
Consequentially, the AMRC was able to produce the finished part within the tight time constraints demanded by the project.
The Bloodhound SSC has further evolved the long-standing relationship Delcam has with the AMRC. Aero Structures Platform Group Leader Matt Farnsworth praised the software developer.
"We've dealt with Delcam for seven or eight years now. Delcam offers us a lot of functionality in terms of the programming capability within the software. In addition, we like its ability to give us rapid programming so reducing the time it takes to give us the cutter paths we require.
"Delcam allows us to be on the machine cutting a lot quicker that the alternative software solutions because we're able to reduce our programming times. We also use On-Machine Verification with PowerINSPECT so, when we are getting near to finishing a part, we can probe the surfaces and machine adaptively, if required, to ensure that we get good geometrical tolerance.”
He added: "We're focused constantly on reducing costs mainly through looking at cycle time reductions. We need to understand the limitations of any process in order to challenge traditional production methods and then apply new technical developments in machining strategies, as well as in tooling and machine tools."
Machining for the BLOODHOUND SSC is a change of pace for the AMRC, where 95% of the projects are involved with the aerospace industry.
Farnsworth concluded: "AMRC has always been a strong advocate of the Bloodhound project, not only because it is an exciting engineering challenge to go at 1,000 miles an hour but also because it is an opportunity to bring young engineers through by getting children interested in engineering. We've recently opened our training centre with 250 apprentices coming thorough that each year. The BLOODHOUND project has a lovely synergy with that initiative."