Prime Cuts: Steeling the show at the MX Awards

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One of the stars of last week’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers Manufacturing Excellence (MX) Awards were the awards themselves. Made of stainless steel and weighing in at 5.4kg, they were certainly impressive.

Planit, a developer of software products, were asked by Autodesk, one of the sponsors of the MX Awards, to design and manufacture the 14 trophies. To do this it used Radan, a sheet metal CAD/CAM software, along with engineering production software Edgecam.

“The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) wanted the trophies to fully demonstrate the quality of engineering,” says Phil Gill, Edgecam’s UK technical sales manager. “We incorporated something that looked engineered and was still prestigious.”

  • Edgecam engineer Bob Thorne designed the trophies using Autodesk
  • The tooling was provided by Sandvik
  • Phil Gill worked with sheet metal customer Altex Engineering to laser-cut the sheet metal using Radan


  • Gill actually personally produced NC code from the software to produce some of the component parts

  • Radbend was then used to fold the metal on Altex Engineering’s CNC press brake
  • The solid stainless steel billets were machined on a Mazak lathe at Edgecam customer Garner Engineering

  • The profile of the MX lettering was made from a solid ring of stainless steel. The IMechE logo and lettering on the stainless steel plate were carried out in Radan

“We had 14 billets of material to produce 14 trophies, so there was no room for error. But with Radan’s powerful nesting feature, which ensures full material utilisation to reduce waste, along with Radbend automatically determining the bending sequence, guaranteeing the part’s ‘bendability’ and Edgecam’s full machining simulation and collision detection, we could be 100 per cent sure that the cutting toolpaths and bending were completely accurate before we started cutting metal,” explains Gill.

These trophies, which were presented by Alistair Campbell at the MX Awards ceremony at The Dorchester on 23 November 2011, are sure to be taking pride of place on the award winners’ shelves.

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