Aberlink Innovative Metrology, the largest UK-owned manufacturer of coordinate measuring machines, vision systems and measurement software, is celebrating a record year. The Eastcombe company exceeded its sales targets by more than 50% in 2010.
Aberlink saw demand soar for its 3D measuring machines and software which are used to accurately measure the shape and size of virtually every type of manufactured part-from a small rubber seal to an aircraft engine. A company spokesman said: "Our products are renowned throughout the world for being cost-effective, easy to use and, above all, providing manufacturing with reliable, high-accuracy measurement results."
Aberlink Innovative Metrology was formed in 1993 by Marcus Eales and Gavin Bailey who were previously mechanical engineers and former employees of Renishaw, the Wotton-under-Edge metrology experts. Since the introduction of its first coordinate measuring machine Aberlink has seen average year-on-year growth in turnover of over 28% with 80% exported to 35 countries worldwide. Unlike earlier models, today's CMMs are sophisticated high-tech systems capable of measuring a huge range of manufactured parts quickly and accurately while being easy to use.
As a relative newcomer, Aberlink uses the latest principles of design for manufacturing and innovation. As a result, Aberlink has been able to successfully challenge the established brands and establishing itself as a brand leader in the volume sales sector.
The use of aluminium honeycomb, a material widely used in the aerospace industry and F1 racing cars. This is due to its lightness and compression resistance properties, has enabled Aberlink to improve the performance of its CMMs over that of its rivals while, at the same time, lowering the end user price. Another unique technology is the Aberlink CMM camera system enabling the measurement of small parts. The automotive and aerospace industries in particular use CMMs to measure the 3D geometry of precision parts, such as engine, transmission and suspension components, and the software for this is the jewel in Aberlink's crown.
The company has some very high profile customers including Briton Richard Nobel's record-attempting 1,000mph Bloodhound SSC supersonic car. The CMM will be used at the project HQ in Bristol to measure high-precision parts destined for the car. "Being a one-off project and not being CMM specialists, it was vital our engineers could quickly grasp how to correctly measure the various types of parts required for the car," said Conor La Grue of the Bloodhound project. "The technical support and expertise we gain from our partnership with Aberlink is simply first class."
In November 2010, Aberlink completed an ambitious project to incorporate a large CMM into the production line of a global provider of water handling and treatment solutions in Sweden. And last September Aberlink shipped its biggest ever CMM to a large multinational US steel company.
Gavin Bailey, Aberlink's commercial director, said: "Our recent move to a new company headquarters, which boasts four times more manufacturing capacity than our previous premises, should guarantee we are able to keep pace with the growing domestic and overseas demand for all of our products."