Over the summer and autumn, DMM has reinvested over £250,000 in the company, to improve efficiency and support product development. Technical Director, Fred Hall, explained: “In engineering, as with any other business, it's important to keep up with and take advantage of technological change."
Two new CNC (computer numerical control) machines have been installed with delivery of two more expected soon. These are faster cutting machines with greater reliability and refined 'fixturing/work holding' to reduce the load times. DMM are also using a state-of-the-art Mazak Multiplex 6200 – Mk IIY CNC machine with gantry robot. To give an idea of this machine’s productivity, it can take a 2.5 cm thick disc of aluminium and turn it into the complex shape of a nearly finished Rigging Hub in 6.5 minutes (video below).
A newly fitted control system with more sophisticated software for the tensile tester, results in reports with greater detail. Energy savings go hand-in-hand with increased productivity from the addition of a new furnace being used to heat billets of raw metal.
A recently completed project that began in April this year was upgrading the test-tower and relocating it indoors. This testing facility is a very important resource for product development. The advantages of no longer being affected by the weather when wanting to test kit are obvious and warmly welcomed.
Fred Hall, said: “I’m really impressed at how rigid we’ve made the test-tower, since it’s very important that none of the energy during testing is absorbed by structure movement, which would adversely affect the results.”
To fit the 7.2 metre tall structure into the former warehouse it was necessary to dig down 2.5 metres and line the hole with a 2 mm tanking membrane. Otherwise, being close to lake level, when it rained heavily the hole would simply fill with water. The buoyant uplift on the structure under these conditions is around 30 tonnes and to stop it 'floating away' positive ballast of about 42 tonnes of concrete was required.
In parallel with the investments made in machinery, the workforce employed at DMM’s Llanberis base continues to grow. In particular the product development team has been expanded in order to keep ahead of the game for both new product development and refining existing products.
Product Manager, Dave Noddings, said: “The needs of our customers are moving along at a rapid rate, so our job is to keep learning, keep innovating, and to continue making the best quality, highest performance equipment in the market.”
He added: “The volume of work required to take a concept through the research and development process before eventually a product reaches the stores is huge. It is shared between our great team of climbers, working at height and rescue specialists, arborists, designers, and engineers - it is a massive team effort. We see innovation as one of keys to our success. It has been a vital ingredient so far and will continue to be the case long into the future."