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By using a robot powered by Delcam software, Garner Holt has cut the time needed to produce sculptures of animatronics, special effects and show action-equipment.

The Robotic Milling Cell (RMC) was put together by Delcam reseller Robotic Solutions.

To operate it, Garner Holt uses custom-designed software from Robotic Solutions and a combination of Delcam programs: CopyCAD for reverse engineering, Powershape for detail design and Powermill for toolpath generation.

Garner Holt, company president, said: ‘We can either take data from a computer-generated file or we can take an actual model.

‘For example, if we do a sculpture of a dinosaur that’s maybe 6in long and laser scan it, we’re able to tell the robot that the dinosaur is now 40ft long.

‘The RMC will actually create the 40ft dinosaur.

‘Once the design gets to the RMC, it only takes a few hours to sculpt the figure out of foam.

‘We can scan a human head, clean the data up in an hour and then run the toolpath software and cut the head in 40 minutes.

‘You can have an image of a person’s head so that you could recognise that person within millimetres, in a couple of hours.

‘It would normally take a sculptor up to three weeks to do that.

‘Prior to this technology and even when we had our original five-axis gantry mill, everything was basically sculpted by hand.

‘We would sculpt things as large as parade floats, dragons and dinosaurs.

‘You would have five, six or even eight sculptors working for months to do something like that.’ At the same time as he’s cutting costs for his usual work, Holt is also paying for the RMC by attracting new business and turning it out fast.

It wasn’t difficult for his artistic staff to make the adjustment to working with the robot, thanks to Robotic Solutions’ experienced training staff.

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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