Product Details Supplier Info More products

After retiring from the rail industry, Stephen Ollier and his wife invested in their composites engineering company, Pentaxia.  Today, with the support of Delcam’s PowerMILL CAM software, the company is going from strength to strength. 

Stephen Ollier said: “In the beginning our customers were small composite companies. We supplied them with patterns and always focused on providing a reliable service. This was appreciated and we started to progress strongly.”

By the second year, the company had two machines and decided to start looking at composite moulds and tooling for the aerospace industry. The business was also steered towards investing in composite component manufacturing and it now runs a full-service composite facility.

Today, the company employs 57 staff and has one of the largest five-axis facilities in the UK, with five five-axis and two three-axis machine tools installed in a 7,000 sq ft workshop. The site also has two autoclaves, a new Langzauner composite press, four clean rooms, a full inspection facility and new paint/lacquering booths. The IS0 9001 approved company also has AS9100 aerospace accreditation, and works with many of the leading Formula One teams, luxury automotive brands and aerospace companies.

“As managing director, I see my job as always providing the right equipment, the right machines to the right people,” Stephen Ollier explained. “We have never been afraid of investing in the business and a key part of the investment is software; we started with Delcam and today we have three seats of PowerMILL, supported by Vericut CNC simulation software.”

Every machine tool is programmed off-line using PowerMILL and the post-processed NC code is then taken straight into Vericut. “Using both software systems provides us with accurate run times. Although not perfect as they cannot predict everything, it is within five or 10 per cent. This is important to our production planning as we have run uninterrupted jobs for up to sixteen hours,” Ollier stated.

Pentaxia’s production services manager John Bates and production manager machining Daniel De Cecco selected PowerMILL. “Back in 2008, as the company started on its steep growth curve, we evaluated a number of the leading CAM systems available,” recalled Bates.  

“We had some limited experience of Delcam from previous employers and, on testing, it offered us all of the capabilities we required with a simple, user-friendly interface.”  

“Some of our employees have undertaken the Delcam 3-axis and 5-axis training courses, which provided a very good introduction to the system,” added De Cecco. “Subsequently, we have then tailored our own training relevant to the type of work that we do.  However, on the occasions where we have required support with a new strategy or any problems we have encountered, Delcam has been very helpful and quick to respond. These are important considerations when you are up against delivery deadlines and you need to get a job programmed and on the machine.”

“We often produce complete suites of tools and we are very competitive on the machining side,” he added. “For the majority of the components we produce in the composite business there will also be an element of machining required, such as trimming and drilling. We are unusual in that we offer a single source solution for the composite components industry, from design to prototype tooling and components right through to finished part supply.”

Many of the jobs produced by Pentaxia are unique and a majority of the files are received as solid models, with the occasional 2D drawing. As a ‘batch of one’ there is a high degree of variation and also complexity for most of the work.  Here, the ongoing development of Delcam’s software comes to the fore. As John Bates said: “We only use a small percentage of strategies that are available in PowerMILL; the development of just those strategies over the years has really helped us to speed up our programming time, allowing more jobs to be put through our machine shop.”

The software’s comprehensive range of high speed machining and multi-axis toolpath strategies allows users to tackle the most difficult and challenging parts while achieving faster machining times, reducing tool loads and producing smoother surface finishes.

“Delcam is a great investment, particularly for any company starting out with CAM software due to its user friendliness and the good support,” said De Cecco. “In comparison to a lot of the other CAM software systems I have experienced, PowerMILL seems to be much easier to navigate through the menus, and the way the process of creating programs is set out follows a straightforward, logical process.”

“Using Delcam has helped us to grow and to be able to run efficiently,” added Ollier. “Anyone looking to take their business forward needs to be using every available tool and I see PowerMILL as an essential part of our future.”

“One of the key things for us to do is move composites into the more cost-conscious markets,” he concluded. “The challenge is to get production costs down and volumes up. We are always looking at ways to be more competitive and cost-effective. Delcam is providing us with the support needed to run our sophisticated machine tools to the best of their ability to help achieve this goal.”

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.

View full profile