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Tyneside-based MKW Engineering is utilising computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software from Open Mind Technologies to manufacture components as part of a project to rebuild the Bluebird K7 vessel.

The craft sank in 1967 in Lake Coniston and was finally raised from the lake bed more than 30 years later. In 2006, a group of engineers and enthusiasts decided to rebuild the vessel — a project that has received charitable support from numerous companies in the north east, including MKW.

MKW has provided its expertise by manufacturing critical components that sit on the underside of the Bluebird’s 14ft-long sponsons — the floating wings on each side of the craft. During the vessel’s final journey, the sponsons were identified to be continually bouncing off the water.

The company — which produces complex five-axis components such as satellite, communication and aircraft parts — has invested heavily in five-axis machine tools over the past decade. Open Mind’s Hypermill CAM package was purchased to support this investment.

Key benefits of product application

  • Hypermill’s feature recognition option improved the manufacture of the two sponsons — each of which have more than 480 holes of differing diameters — by reducing the tool changeovers and optimising toolpaths.
  • Instead of programming the opposite hand part of the sponsons with an estimated programming time of an additional eight hours, the MKW team utilised the software’s mirror function to create the part in minutes.
  • The Hypermaxx roughing module enabled the team to shave 20 per cent off the four-hour machining cycle time for each of the sponson parts, which primarily consist of holes and slots.

Open Mind Technologies

OPEN MIND Technologies AG is a leading developer of CAD/CAM software and postprocessors for designing and manufacturing complex moulds and parts. OPEN MIND offers an extensive range of products, from 2D feature-oriented solutions for milling standard parts through to software for 5axis simultaneous machining. With their hyperMILL software, which is used in the automotive, tool and mould manufacturing, mechanical engineering and aerospace industries, OPEN MIND Technologies AG is represented in all the important markets in Asia, Europe and North America.  

OPEN MIND’s solutions feature a user-friendly interface and the largest range of 2D, 3D and 5axis modules available to users. In addition, the company delivers a fully integrated product concept encompassing CAD solutions, plug-ins, interfaces and postprocessors that cover the entire manufacturing process from design to manufacture. We take our innovative ideas, long-time CAD experience and milling expertise and create technologically sound CAM strategies. OPEN MIND has made a name for itself internationally as a pioneer in innovative 5axis technologies. What makes OPEN MIND and its products special is the unique blend of computing and production expertise, experience and vision, and international character and individual service. This combination of qualities results in a constant stream of new ideas that help companies optimise their production processes.  

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