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Delcam is set to be part of a consortium of UK companies to be lead by GKN Aerospace in a three-and-a-half year, £13.4m research and development programme called Horizon (AM) that builds on GKN Aerospace’s extensive and fast-developing capability in additive manufacturing.


Nick Clegg at Farnborough
Nick Clegg at Farnborough

The Horizon (AM) team includes GKN Aerospace, Renishaw, Delcam, and the Universities of Sheffield and Warwick. The programme is backed by the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) and funded jointly by industry and the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB).

The project is part of a major investment of £154m in research projects to keep the UK as a world leader in aerospace innovation that was announced by the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg during his visit to 2014 Farnborough International Air Show.

Horizon (AM) will take a number of promising additive manufacturing (AM) techniques from research and development through to viable production processes, able to create components that could be as much as 50 per cent lighter than their conventional counterparts, with complex geometries that cannot be manufactured cost effectively today.

These new processes are hoped to unlock innovations in low-drag, high-performance wing designs and in lighter, even more efficient engine systems — and lead to dramatic reductions in aircraft fuel consumption and emissions.

Within the project, Delcam will work with GKN Aerospace on an integrated solution to combine additive and subtractive technologies seamlessly. This approach will allow companies to benefit from both the geometrical freedom offered by AM and the surface finish and accuracy that is possible with subtractive manufacturing.

Delcam supplies software and services that help manufacturing companies to maximise their profitability by increasing productivity, improving quality and reducing lead times. The company is the world's largest specialist supplier of computer-aided machining software, with its PowerMILL, FeatureCAM, Partmaker and ArtCAM programs making up the most comprehensive range of CAM systems from any developer.

This broad selection allows Delcam to offer a CAM system capable of machining virtually any product, in any material on any type of equipment. Delcam also develops product design, tooling design and quality control programs. The unique Tribrid Modelling approach to design incorporates solid modelling, surface modelling and triangle modelling in a single program, enabling complete design and reverse engineering projects to be undertaken without transferring data between software.

Delcam's Powerinspect offers fast, reliable comparison of parts, prototypes and tooling against CAD data on all types of inspection equipment and even on machine tools. This versatility has made it the world's leading hardware-independent inspection software. Related programs are available for checking machine tool set-up and part location. Delcam software is used in over 80 countries worldwide by around 40,000 organisations, from large multi-nationals to small sub-contractors, in industries including aerospace, automotive, dental, engineering, footwear, medical and toolmaking.

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