As a supplier to motorsport teams from Formula One, Formula E, World Endurance, Moto GP and British Superbikes, Grand Design Systems is aware of the importance of image.
Its products include seamless wall systems for pit garages, along with a range of other ancillary pit lane equipment are testament to that. It also knows that image cuts both ways, hence a recent investment in new milling capacity through XYZ Machine Tools.
Having built its reputation in the image conscious world of motorsport with its Maxi seamless walling system, Grand Design Systems recognised an opportunity to provide similar systems to teams with smaller budgets, while also entering into the exhibition stand market. It is doing this with its newly developed EcoWall system. Unlike the Maxi’s aluminium honeycomb composite construction, EcoWall makes use of a series of PVC composite panels to create a wall, offering weight, time and cost savings, with a typical 35 metre wall length being assembled in under 35 minutes.
The secret and corresponding success of both the Maxi and EcoWall systems is the camlock connection that enables the seamless join in the wall. Each panel will contain up to 20 components for this system and, with a typical pit lane garage having 40 panels, the number of parts is significant. By bringing the machining of these parts in-house Grand Design Systems is able to improve productivity and lead times on the bespoke systems it manufactures, as well as reduce manufacturing costs. Managing Director Dudley Bacon also sees another benefit of having a brand new milling machine at his disposal... image. “We have had examples of potential customers visiting us, seeing our old milling machine, and making a decision based on what they saw in that we couldn’t deliver their project, even though machining is a minor element of what we do. That was part of the reason for buying the new XYZ SMX SLV turret mill. It looks the part when you walk through the door. Not only that, it is allowing us to bring back in-house a lot of the work that we would previously have sub-contracted.”
The SMX SLV is part of XYZ Machine Tools’ ProtoTRAK range of turret mills with the control system capable of providing full three-axis CNC control. It achieves this by making use of canned cycles such as pockets, including the addition of islands, thread milling, bolt hole patterns, drilling, tapping and boring. The control also benefits from the use of AGE for profiling and pocketing. This does away with the need to calculate angles and radii, etc. and with the innovative ‘guess’ key will calculate an approximate point or intersection if a dimension is missing. The control is also capable of 3D surfacing using the on-board DNC system. While not strictly relevant to the production of Grand Design Systems components, although it may be used for the occasional sub-contract job that it takes on, the XYZ SMX SLV with its 1000 mm of X-axis travel is one of the largest turret mills on the market. Other key features of the machine are its 3.75 kW spindle motor, 450 mm of ram travel in addition to 400 mm of knee vertical (Z-axis) travel and 410 mm of Y-axis travel.
“Machining is not a core function of our business, so we took our time in selecting the machine. After deliberating for some time we came to the conclusion that XYZ was the only company that could supply us with exactly what we needed, in terms of capability, capacity and ease of use,” says Dudley Bacon. “The result is that we will see the benefit in reduced lead times and manufacturing costs.”
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XYZ Machine Tools