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Manufacturer expands horizons with new scanning tech

"We were really happy with the work WMG did for us. We have already secured two new customers for scanning work and the process now takes a fraction of the time it did previously. It has opened up a lot of new opportunities for us."

Ian Heaford, Owner & Director, Woodhall Products Limited

Company Background

Woodhall Products Limited based in Dudley has a heritage as an established toolmaker, press shop, machining, and welding business. They have clients in a range of sectors including construction, telecoms, food and transport sectors and export products to Denmark, Southern Ireland, and France.

The Challenge

With big plans to double the size of the firm over the next three years, they had already pushed the boundaries by investing in 3D printing capabilities. This was proving successful, allowing them to access valuable new markets such as manufacturers for 3D printed tooling and art exhibitors for legacy product 3D printing. A big emerging market that they had identified was to re-create legacy parts for collectors and art enthusiasts, old car models for example or replicas of collector items from vintage films. They have their own product range and continue to develop their own products.

However, they knew that there was the potential to add even more value to existing processes and were investigating if it was viable to procure scanning facilities to bolster their offering in concept design, prototyping and low volume manufacturing. They needed some additional expertise in scanning technology and contacted WMG for guidance.

The Solution

WMG’s Deeksha Sampath met with Ian Heaford at Woodhall to find out more about their requirements. Investing in a scanner would allow Woodhall to generate polygon mesh files and get more precise data to create CAD or amend designs for clients. This would close the loop, giving them an enhanced product development offering and generate additional turnover.

Deeksha conducted a technology and research review of the best scanner offerings available to Woodhall for their budget and specification, thinking about the potential clients and existing processes in the business. She visited potential suppliers on behalf of Woodhall to get more detailed information and to make a full assessment.

The Impact

  • Deeksha presented a report of her findings with recommendations for the most suitable manufacturer and model scanner for Woodhall which de-risked the decision to invest
  • Using the report, Woodhall were able to secure funding to support 50% of the cost of the new scanner
  • The new capability will allow Woodhall to secure more work (£195,000 over 3 years), increase productivity, export further overseas, and create new jobs
  • Parts and products through scanning can now be Reverse Engineered
  • The project has helped to futureproof the business, with more flexible solutions to offer clients

“It was a delight to work with Ian and the team to help them diversify their offer and grow the business. Woodhall is a great example of a company that has remained agile and identified opportunities to add value to existing client offers to secure their future.” 

Deeksha Sampath, Engineer, WMG, University of WarwickLink opens in a new window

For more information on working with WMG, please email wmgsme at warwick dot ac dot uk

Tue 09 May 2023, 08:00 | Tags: SME