Expanding its suite of VISI software has enabled a medical components specialist to increase its capacity by up to 40 per cent, dedicating that additional production to manufacturing parts to fight COVID-19.
XL Precision Technologies already produce components for respiratory devices, but saw how existing customers and other medical companies may need more support, more quickly, as Coronavirus took hold.
A free temporary licence from VISI enabled them to start increasing capacity immediately while an internal capital expenditure was set up, and the administration process of purchasing additional seats was completed.
"We’d been planning a £300,000 investment in software during the next three years, but this emergency highlighted how valuable it is, and made us realise that if we had more seats of VISI, we’d be even more effective in introducing new products," says Managing Director Tom Graham. "We had licences to allow three people to work with VISI at any one time, while I have six engineers who I could dedicate to it."
Customers tell the company one of its key USPs is its ability to turn projects around quickly. "We’re in steady production most of the time but a lot of what we do is development support and a fast turn-around of small batches of products. The Government’s call for product support against COVID-19 has led to a completely different set of circumstances, where customers potentially need thousands of components within days of ordering them."
Having the free 30-day licences from VISI meant they were able to immediately dedicate increased production capacity to the new COVID-19 component runs. "We identified the machines required, and because we have the appropriate VISI CAD/CAM software our engineers were able to convert customers' drawings to a proper CAD design and create laser cutting, milling and EDM wire machine programs."
XL Precision Technologies have used VISI universally across their whole development and production process for several years. "Essentially, we manufacture to customers' designs. Sometimes those designs aren't optimised for manufacture, so we use VISI's modelling package to redesign it, or come up with new ideas. We also use the modelling capability online, where we’ll have a conference call and share our models with the customer’s engineers, wherever they are in the world.
"This is proving to be particularly valuable for getting quick approval on these new COVID-19 components. It really was vital that these parts go into production as quickly as possible…so VISI is playing a vital role in the battle to save people's lives from this global virus."
Once the designs are approved, they use whichever software element is required to prepare NC code for the relevant machine tool. As well as their increased work on components to fight COVID-19, they are continuing to produce parts for elective surgery customers, as hospitals, doctors and surgeons still need the completed devices and instruments to carry out emergency treatment.
While the free 30-day license from VISI enabled XL Precision to bring the CAD/CAM expansion forward immediately, the rest of their planned £300,000 investment over the next three years includes program management and quality software.