August 5, 2003 -- Hoyland Fox Ltd, a company that can trace its roots back to 1842, manufacture five million umbrella frames each year from their main site in Penistone, Yorkshire and their second site at Heeley, Sheffield. The extensive range of umbrella frames are designed for parasol, fishing, sport and promotional uses. With ISO 9001 approval, Hoyland Fox frames are synonymous with quality and durability. They have many patents on their designs including tilting frames, crank handle frames, cam clamp and screw clamp pole operation.
Around 80% of the frames are exported, where coverers finish the umbrella to suit the end user. Notable applications include promotional umbrellas for Coca-Cola, Heineken and Unipart. To keep control of production, Hoyland Fox keep all the manufacturing processes in house, with wire drawing and heat treatment, tube mill and sawing lines, multi-stage power presses, twenty-four injection moulding machines and a powder coating plant. Working directly from raw materials eliminates shortages in the production lines and allows them to achieve a continuous flow of products. This level of in house control requires a dedicated toolroom to produce and repair press tools, wire drawing dies and injection moulding tools, and a host of other assembly and checking fixtures. Like all companies, Hoyland Fox is seeing increasing competition from the Far East. Their response has been to maintain and improve their high quality standards, whilst evolving new and innovative product designs and continually honing the production processes to improve efficiency and keep unit costs as low as possible.
The introduction of NC Graphics DEPOCAM and ToolMaker into the Development/Toolroom at Hoyland Fox was an important step in their drive to achieve their goals.
“Product life is now only about 3 to 4 years, as umbrellas are a fashion item. We need to create innovative products and concepts quickly to lead the market,” said Robert Nuttall, Engineering Manager, Hoyland Fox Limited.
“We have sales and marketing driven programmes for new products like our patented RoTilt screw mechanism. These demand organic shapes which would be very difficult for us to manufacture without DEPOCAM,” continued Robert.
The Development/Toolroom has a Sodick AQ325L wire eroder, Bridgeport Interact and Maho 600E machining centres and a Bridgeport Romi lathe, where they make multi-stage press and shearing tools and injection moulding tools of up to 32 cavities and weighing up to 1 tonne. With DEPOCAM, they can machine directly into P20, P558 and D2 material, while ToolMaker is used to program the Sodick and to program prismatic shapes on the machining centres.
“DEPOCAM has enabled us to machine 3D forms directly into the tool. In addition it has eliminated hand finishing and reduced the number of electrodes we need to manufacture,” said Robert Nuttall.
“We can now take 3D CAD data straight into DEPOCAM and ToolMaker from our design system enabling us to achieve repeatability for tool repair and fast reaction times to design change,” he added.
Hoyland Fox have also introduced carbide cutters from DEPO-FHT. They have found that the cutter paths generated by DEPOCAM are reliable and smooth, which is necessary to avoid damage to the tooling and to achieve a perfect surface finish.
Robert Nuttall commented “With our previous programming methods we found it difficult to use carbide tooling. We now commonly use tools of 2mm diameter and for engraving applications, tools down to 0.3mm diameter.”
The improved toolpaths enable the existing machine tools to run more efficiently. Hoyland Fox is considering investment in high speed machining centres, as part of their continual programme of development, to take full advantage of the capabilities within DEPOCAM. They anticipate that they will be able to bring more tooling work back in house by reducing their lead times and costs for new tooling.
“We are impressed with the reduction in cycle times and the ease of programming we have experienced with DEPOCAM,” said Robert Nuttall.
Improvements in quality, cost and style made easier with DEPOCAM and ToolMaker will help to maintain Hoyland Fox’s leadership in their field.
NC Graphics (Cambridge) Ltd, Silverwood Lodge, Ely Road,
Waterbeach, Cambridge, CB5 9NN
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 861539 Fax: +44 (0) 1223 440249
Contact: Mrs Estelle Dunsmuir, Marketing Manager