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NPL supports Darkside Developments in its attempt to develop the best performing engines

18 May 2018

Darkside Developments is a UK SME based in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, which specialises in tuning diesel engines for the likes of Audi, Volkswagen, Seat and Skoda vehicles, so customers can get the most from them. They also manufacture and export a wide range of bespoke tuning products from around the world.

NPL have recently supported Darkside Developments in their attempt to extract the best performance from their engines, as part of their goal to secure the record title as the fastest TDI in the world.

In particular, the company has looked to develop CAD 3D models for their parts. These models provide a more accessible platform for their engineers to test and manipulate their designs, without having to physically manufacture each part.

This is particularly advantageous when developing the engine cylinder head ports, which is labour intensive to modify and has also proven difficult to make consistently without automated guidance.

To help make the transition to a 3D modelling process worthwhile, Darkside Developments worked with NPL’s regional office in Huddersfield, which specialises in dimensional inspection and measuring of complex components and assemblies, as well as CMM programming, and bespoke measurement training and consultancy.

Through working with NPL they were able to draw on its resource of measurement engineers, and breadth of knowledge and understanding of the production process, and have also instilled confidence in the standard created.

NPL helped to improve on Darkside Development’s proposed process by developing a ‘watertight CAD model’ for the relevant components, using the GOM ATOS Core System.

Advanced manufacturing

After Laser scanning the tried and tested sample, the team created a specialised point cloud by selectively scanning it. This point cloud was then imported into the software system, PolyWorks, where the mesh from the point cloud was idealised.

PolyWorks then allowed boundary curves from the mesh to be created and formed, which were then successfully built into CAD surfaces (nurb patches) and used to create a ‘watertight CAD model’ for use on the shop floor.

As a result of this activity, Darkside Developments has begun to automate the standard production techniques used to complete cylinder heads. By automating the production process in this way, and omitting hand- finished techniques, the standard of the finished product units has significantly improved with each head performing as well as the first.

The work has also increased throughput of all processes, allowing Darkside Developments to re-work more units in the same amount of time without compromising quality standards. 

This in turn has secured profits and lead-time, and has meant that Darkside Development’s customer base continues to receive the high quality service they expect and deserve.

“Working with NPL has been invaluable in helping us to develop our production processes. Through the knowledge, skills and information provided by the measurement engineers, we have gained a higher confidence in the standard of our products, which will allow us to continue to provide our customers, old and new, with the quality services that they deserve.” Ryan Parkin, CEO, Darkside Developments.

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