Delcam Asian Technical Summit – Day #1

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First up is Hankook Delcam’s chairman, the ever charming Mr Jeong, former doorman and teacher. He’s quite the gentleman and has become something of a legend. his attitude shows his background, believing that if you’re a good teacher, then you can become a success is business, particularly when you find the right staff and help them to become success, through both mentoring, support and a lack of blame culture within his organisation. That and whatever his competitors, his company will do it at least twice as big, whether that’s magazine advertising or trade show stands. And it seems to work has Hankook Delcam is the largest CAD/CAM company in Korea.

Next up is a look into Delcam’s Tribrid modelling approach. yes. Tribrid modelling. Let me explain. the term hybrid modelling has been around for sometime, where systems allow you to work with both solid and surface modelling technology in equal measure. What the ‘Tri’ tag brings into this mix is the ability to work with solids, surfaces and tessellated meshes. Where this becomes useful is the integrate of geometry more complex than surface models, typically either reverse engineered or modelled to represent highly organic features, whether that’s texture, decoration or other complex features.

For sometime, Delcam has had the ability to work with these three types of geometry (solid, surface, mesh) in separate applications. For example, PowerShape took care of solid and surface modelling, while CopyCAD (for reverse engineering) and ArtCAM (for decoration design) handled mesh-based geometry. Now you can work with all three within PowerShape and use the most appropriate modelling methodology to solve your design problems. (we took a look at this new offering back in June 2008, so check the web-site for back issues) and of course, take them through to manufacture.

Finally, there’s big news on the solid modelling front is that in the next major release, PowerShape will see the integration of the Parasolid kernel. Why? the reasons offered are that it gives PowerShape a faster, more robust geometry modelling system, better interoperability, which then brings a better solution for those working in a supply chain environment.
To support this, the next release, PowerShape 2010 will see the introduction of the Solid Doctor to assist with converting poor quality data into reliable Parasolid models, by initially categorising faults, then providing fixes to build a watertight model. While for simple model this isn’t much of an issue, but when it’s customers are receiving poorly quality models, featuring 10,000 surfaces from Catia, then something is needed to provide some assistance and get the job done.

Delcam in Footwear

Delcam has always been active in the Footwear industry (naming Nike, Adidas and Wolverine amongst many others as clients), but the company’s acquisition of Crispin Systems in 2007 gave this a greater boost in the last few years. For those that haven’t looked at it, Footwear design is a very complex process, not only because of the various constituent parts (sole, upper, etc etc) but of the non-proportional scaling to create the multitude of international footwear sizes (referred to as grading).

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Footwear design begins with a Last, to provide the basis for the shoe design, and the Crispin tools allows you to reverse engineer these from scanned data (they’re typically handcrafted). you then use a series of specialist tools to create the detail and form of the shoe, then create the flat pattern for cutting materials from sheets. Of course, this is Delcam and the company also provides the tools to create the production ready data, both in terms of mould development and machining for soles and other components, but also production and documentation for TechPacks (which define the production and assembly information) as well as tools for nesting (to reduce scrap wasted material) and cutting components from both paper (for patterns) and leather.

Setting out Healthcare plans

The big news for this event is the launch of Delcam’s Healthcare Division, which formalises and expands the company’s existing activities in the medical field. Chris Lawrie, Healthcare Business Development Manager explained how lessons learned and technologies learned in the engineering sector can be applied to the medical world.

Current medical activity maxillofacial (facial reconstruction), dental, prosthetic limbs, orthotic insoles, shoes and implants, general implants, dental reconstruction and cranioplasty. What makes the huge difference is customising each of these for the form and needs of each patient. Of course, capturing this data requires that the form is captured, which Delcam solves at present by taking CT data and converting them into useful 3D data using a system from Simpleware. Once that data is captured, the tools within Delcam’s tools (solids, surfaces and mesh modelling) are used to create and re-engineer the components required, then manufacture them. Many of Delcam’s products are already used in medical, for example, PartMaker has 70% of it’s customers in the medical field (as swiss lathes, with PartMaker specialised in, are commonly used to provide components at very high part rates).

What’s interesting is that the medical field is crying out for assistance with these process and according to Lawrie, there’s a huge opportunity for companies with experience within the aerospace field (due to the knowledge of handling and machining complex alloys and metals) to readapt that experience to fulfil this need

Alongside the use of Delcam’s existing and generally applicable tools such as PowerShape and PowerMill, the company is also developing bespoke applications for the medical field. A good example is the DentCAD and DentMill set of tools which allow you to reverse engineer from teeth, then manufacture implants and such.

Delcam are tagging their set of tools as the Digital Laboratory and the aim is to assist the medical professional with bringing these technologies and production processes to the mainstream by taking their technology, adapting the language and inputs within the field and creating a set of tools that allow the medical sector to reduce both costs and time scale (casting is commonly used, but is a very lengthy process) – but also to create solutions which speed recovery times and improve the life of patients. Take the example FaceMaker being used to assist someone suffering from facial cancer. Rather than increasing patient trauma by putting them through the lengthy process of building a physical cast from their face, the systems Delcam are developing can capture the data needed within seconds, without any form of invasion and deliver a better prothetic that better suits their needs. Then, when repeat prescriptions are needed, a replacement can be manufactured without further invasion or stress.

In terms of process support, Delcam are also developing a set of web-based tools for workflow and process management (based on their PS-Team system) that allows everyone involved in the process (which are typically geographically dispersed) to see the process and how each project progresses, from store front, through design and into production, delivery, implementation and invoicing. All fully traceable and auditable, which for the medical field is a huge issue.

That about wraps up the presentations for today, and we’re off to visit Hyundai Motors, so I’ll be back at you tomorrow with more. Toodles.


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