Case Studies

/ The 2012 Olympic Torch
12,100 Aluminium Alloy Torches
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Manufacturing of the Olympic Torch

The Challenge
Our advanced engineering and manufacturing skills were tested to the full following our appointment as the official manufacturer of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic torch.

The Process
The complex design presented numerous technical challenges, all of which were overcome by our unique blend of innovation and experience. A world-class skill set and technological capabilities allowed us to develop a process to manufacture the unique design of the Olympic Torch to the exacting standards required, and all within a challenging time frame. 

The Technology
We invested in an innovative five-axis laser cutting machine to create the double skinned aluminium alloy triangular torches, as well as laser butt welding along the entire length of the torch. We were one of the first companies to use this technology in production.

The five-axis laser, a state-of-the-art 2D Prima Syncrono is the worlds fastest 2D laser, with off-line programming and nesting.

The Outcome
12,100 torches were cut and produced in just 6 months, requiring 100 million holes in total! The apparently seamless torches were finished in a glistening gold colour, with a burner enclosed and fuelled by a gas canister.

Call us on +44 (0) 247 636 2886 if you have a project in mind.

/ MORGAN 3 WHEELER
Re-engineering Of The Car Bodyshell
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Morgan 3 Wheeler

The Challenge
Producing the bodyshell for the Morgan Motor Car Company’s legendary Morgan 3 Wheeler requires precision and vision! The iconic design of the Morgan 3 Wheeler has been updated with 21st Century technology, and we have been instrumental assisting the re-engineering and design of the car bodyshell, and the subsequent niche vehicle production processes.

The Process
Taking inspiration from the original car but with modern technological influences, the initial plan was to build 400 Morgan 3 Wheelers, but due to its incredible global success, we have now produced over 1,000. This particular contract has seen Premier Group work with Morgan throughout the initial design stage of the 3 Wheeler to ensure all body panels could be manufactured to the highest standards expected by Morgan’s loyal customer-base.

 The Technology
The latest cutting-edge computer-aided technology has been paramount to the 3 Wheeler project. The firm’s automotive prototype production is underpinned using the very latest CAD design, CAE virtual development, and CAM manufacturing techniques, generating significantly reduced lead-times when it comes to end-production.

All Morgan cars are coach built. One of the brands strongest selling points is the care taken in the manufacture of each car; leading design capability, an extensive array of luxurious materials and the latest drive-train technologies combine to create an unparalleled driving experience.

The Outcome
The relationship not only continues with Morgan but has flourished. We now also manufacture the bespoke coach built bonnets and boots for Morgans other iconic production vehicles.

Graham Chapman, Technical Director at Morgan, said, ‘One of our key suppliers in the development of the Morgan 3 Wheeler has been Premier Group. We’re delighted with the strategic counsel, design and manufacturing expertise they provide. They’re a substantial Midlands sheet-metal manufacturing operator and a significant link in our supply chain.’

Call us on +44 (0) 247 636 2886 if you have a project in mind.

 

/ Nilsson Specialist Vehicles
Taking Nilsson's Prototype Cars To Production
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Nilsson Vehicle Company

The Challenge
To Manufacture prototype and production panels and assemblies for the Volvo S80 and V70range of vehicles consisting of a Hearse and 4 and 6 door limousines of varying lengths.

The Process
Premier reversed engineered the finished prototype vehicles. Digitally scanning the finished prototype vehicles a CAD file was created for all new BIW panels and assemblies. This information was then utilised to create Machining data for tool manufacture and laser and inspection files.

The Technology
Laser scanning was used for creating the full CAD file and also for the final part inspection reporting. Autoform press simulation was utilised for the feasibility of parts and the proving of all manufactured press tooling. Patterns and tools were cut using CNC milling stations and pressed parts were 3D Laser cut.

The Outcome
A successful program and working venture has been realised between Premier and Nilsson from when the project was first discussed to the present day. Ranging from a variety of Body in White parts and assemblies being delivered to Sweden including mid and rear door parts, inner and outer panels and full assemblies, to roof panels, Cantrails, floor panels and structures.

Call us on +44 (0) 247 636 2886 if you have a project in mind.

 

/ Modine
A World Leader In Thermal Management
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Modine Tractors and Combine Harvesters

Modine is a worldwide leader in thermal management – designing, engineering, testing and manufacturing heat transfer products for a wide range of applications and markets. Innovation, problem-solving, manufacturing expertise and research & testing are its key drivers.

Premier Group has worked with Modine for many years – supplying the full frame and fixing heat exchanger systems for Tractor and Combine Harvester applications.

The Challenge
Modine was working on an Agricultural Tractor Cooling system but needed to increase the performance of the cooler set, reduce the corrosion impact and reduce the weight of the overall Cooler Pack.

The challenge was to utilise our metals processing knowledge to lighten the metal frame, improve corrosion resistance within a tight budget.

The Process
The frame set was assessed, and options for new materials and metal forming were considered. Our approach to metal processing technology allowed for thinner gauges to be formed into more complex shapes, with the folded form offering the inherent strength rather than the gauge of material. This reduced the metal content and subsequently the weight and the material cost.

The use of stainless steel on higher wear points on the frame hinge and areas exposed to corrosion solved the corrosion and paint wear issues, often faced in these applications.

The Technology
Utilising our 2D and 3D (5 Axis) laser facilities, offered a superior quality product from a basic part to volume welded and painted assemblies.

This investment in process technology allowed for the complex parts to be manufactured quicker, and subsequently reduced the cost of the overall frame.

The Outcome
The final frame for this application achieved all goals – it was not only light weight and cost effective but did not suffer from corrosion or wear within the customer’s warranty period.

With supply now its third year, there has been no requirement for replacement parts.

Call us on +44 (0) 247 636 2886 if you have a project in mind.

/ Jaguar Land Rover
A special relationship with JLR
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Jaguar Land Rover

An Established Partnership
It has been a privilege to work with Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) for more than half our company life! We have an established partnership with JLR for prototyping and fast response problem resolution. More recently, the relationship has evolved to add strength and depth to the partnership through:

  • Low volume production proven in automotive and aerospace
  • Enhanced facilities and streamlined systems
  • Relocation and strategic development

The new XJ is a recent testament to the strength of our ‘special’ relationship with JLR. Manufacturing every single panel, including the closures, closure assemblies, superstructure and underbody, it demonstrates our expertise in aluminium and validates our low volume production capabilities.

Call us on +44 (0) 247 636 2886 if you have a project in mind.

/ The Bentley Arnage
Fully Stretched and Ready to Paint
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Bentley Arnage Stretch Vehicles

The Challenge
The Niche Vehicle Production division of Premier Group is proud of its long-standing relationship with Bentley, commissioned for many years to supply them with Body in White vehicles – fully stretched and ready for paint.

The Process
It was recognised from the beginning of the programme that our full vehicle bespoke service would need to cater for many variances during the manufacturing lifetime of the Arnage. All tooling was manufactured on-site in steel or cast iron. Variant vehicle lengths required all doors to be remanufactured, stretching both the front and rear doors enabling a style line between them that could encompass all lengths. Where possible, all manufactured parts were to be shared across the variance of vehicles to keep tooling costs to a minimum.

The Technology
All tools were designed and manufactured using Autoform simulation, ensuring the feasibility of all new part and tool designs. The build fixture was designed and manufactured to be flexible. This gave the option to set differing vehicle build lengths throughout the programme utilising one main build station.

The Outcome
Premier Group has currently supplied over 700 bespoke Arnage BIWs straight into the paint at Bentley. The variance completed was 240mm, 450mm and 728mm stretched vehicles. We also completed high roof variances, deep D Posts, opera light windows, sunroofs and on the 728mm central infill panels between the doors. Major parts were tooled and manufactured, including doors, roofs, floors and internal structural panels and assemblies.

Call us on +44 (0) 247 636 2886 if you have a project in mind.

/ Exhaust Nacelles
Reducing Manufacturing Times and Costs
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Exhaust Nacelles

The Challenge
Our Advanced Engineering division was recently commissioned by a leading aircraft manufacturer to reduce manufacturing times and costs in the manufacture of skin panels for exhaust nacelles of a prototype aircraft.

The Process
The panels were historically hand formed and trimmed by sheet metal workers, labour intensive and a consequently expensive process. There were two variants of the nacelle assemblies – one using 15 different sets of skin panels and the second using 13 sets of panels.

The Technology
Following the Overview and Review key milestone, our analysis resulted in a decision to employ a press process for the forming of the skin panels. By the use of Autoform press simulation we were able to show to the customer Catia designed press tools detailing the parts required being formed in the press. Employing this press simulation, average time per part was reduced from 24 hours to minutes.

All the panels became a welded assembly and were hand trimmed using masks and hand shears, with Premier Group opting for 3D laser cutting. This gave detailed cutting programmes and repeatability for all parts. The parts were tested for heat affected zones, amongst others, and the laser cut parts met with all quality requirements.

The Outcome
The use of Autoform press simulation and Catia tool design proved that the parts could be mechanically formed. We were given the green light to manufacture the press tooling and press forms for the parts. The end results were a robust process producing repeatable parts for a fraction of previous times and costs. The same results were realised by the use of 3D Laser cutting.

We are currently working on reducing the part count per assembly, which will further reduce weld requirements and manufacturing costs.

Call us on +44 (0) 247 636 2886 if you have a project in mind.

/ JCB Mesh Grilles
A One Piece Unique Grill
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JCB Compact Tractors

The Challenge
The Advanced Engineering division of Premier Group has designed, engineered and developed a one-piece mesh grill for JCB Compact Tractors, with the objective of reducing production costs, improving its strength and improving the cosmetic design.

The Process
With our fully integrated ‘design for manufacture’ service, JCB received a comprehensive package of Detailing, Validation (via simulation), Part Feasibility and Prototype Testing.

The Technology
Prototype Hand worked parts were developed together with soft tooling to ensure a cosmetically approved quality standard was achieved, considering the formability constraints of the material used “perforated mesh.” Part of the scope of work was to develop prototype tooling and a manufacturing process that replicated ‘production intent’ parts to facilitate durability testing.

The Outcome
The efficient and structured approach of our Advanced Engineering division, incorporating comprehensive project management, played a vital role in the success of this project for JCB. The result was not only an improved one-piece design with new styling features adding strength and stability but a reduced unit cost and a reduction in unit weight.

Call us on +44 (0) 247 636 2886 if you have a project in mind.

/ Meridian Automotive
Improving the Efficiency
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Meridan Automotive

The Challenge
The Manufacturing Division of Premier Group recently partnered Meridian Automotive (MA) in a collaboration to improve the efficiency in the production of Ford Motor Car tailgate inners, specifically profiling pre-produced castings. Historically, the magnesium castings had a series of 76 apertures generated using a CNC milling process. To maintain the current increase in demand required an alternative method of cutting the castings.

The Technology
Following analysis, we developed a process utilising our multi-axis laser of cutting magnesium. The main hurdles that needed addressing were the extraction of dust particles and fumes, and also the need to eliminate areas where dust deposits gather. As magnesium is highly flammable and can combust at low temperatures, the build up of dust had to be avoided at all costs. It was necessary to plan a product specific work instruction and also a product specific standard operating procedure covering elements such as a full ‘clean-down’ of the cutting area every hour.

The Outcome
MA was able to fulfil the customer’s requirements at an improved process rate, with a greater level of accuracy than was achievable using traditional CNC methods. Additionally, we have now developed a safe and efficient method of laser profiling magnesium that can be utilised for various applications.

Call us on +44 (0) 247 636 2886 if you have a project in mind.

/ Stretched Range Rover
Custom Vehicle Bespoke Stretch
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Range Rover Vogue

The Challenge
Commissioned by one of London’s most prestigious vehicle suppliers, Premier Group’s Niche Vehicle Production division was commissioned to design, and manufacture of a fully bespoke 300mm stretched Range Rover Vogue.

The Process
To adhere to the vehicle’s ergonomics and style, the stretch was engineered into the rear quarters of the vehicle from the rear doors back. This reduced body changes and maintained body dynamic performance. As a ‘one off,’ all Body in White Parts were to be hand manufactured. The modified vehicle was scanned, and all modifications were digitised. The design of parts and tooling were CATIA-based.

The Technology
The BIW parts were manufactured by hand, utilising, in some cases, rubber-pressed tooling and parts. Working from one of our dedicated build studios, the project team stretched, fully assembled and trimmed the Vogue, covering all aspects of the manufacture, including glazing, electronics, mechanical, paint and trim. Static and portable measuring systems were utilised to ensure product integrity.

The Outcome
Premier delivered a fully packaged, ‘turnkey’ stretched Range Rover to the customer.

Call us on +44 (0) 247 636 2886 if you have a project in mind.

/ London Underground
Improving the Efficiency of Ventilation
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London Underground

The Challenge
London Underground receive numerous complaints about the lack of ventilation within London’s tube system. Hot, stuffy days on the London underground are unpleasant at best, and when the ventilation system is not performing then it compounds the unpleasant experience!

Our challenge was to improve the efficiency of the installed ventilation system by re-engineering and replacing the current steel air exit vent structure, with a lightweight aluminum system that whilst reducing the overall weight, dramatically increased the air circulation inside the passenger carriage.

The Process
There were two elements to our recommended solution. Initially, we reviewed, analysed and re-engineered a new aluminium extruded fin. Secondly, we utilised aluminium lasered vent assemblies to replace the steel welded structures, which were heavier, susceptible to clogging and subsequently far less efficient.

The Technology
Utilising extruded product and a combination of lasered tight tolerance parts we engineered a product that allowed airflow in much greater volumes. Our state-of-the-art fin design also eliminated clogging and reduced the need for regular removal and servicing, and Train service down time.

The Outcome
The increased circulation gave a ventilation improvement of 90% and resulted in a huge increase in passenger comfort. The system is fully installed on the first underground line, and it has been met with overwhelmingly positive feedback from regular travellers. The system is expected to be rolled out to cover further lines during 2017 with potential for a network-wide implementation.

Call us on +44 (0) 247 636 2886 if you have a project in mind.

/ Rail Rolling Stock
Manufactured Rail Rolling Stock
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Manufactured Rail Rolling Stock

The Challenge
Corrosion impact and fatigue on the rail rolling stock of national train operators remains an important topic and the subsequent reinvestment in operating rolling stock. 8mm thick under-body skins are now replaced at 3 to 4mm in many cases, as opposed to 2mm in years gone by. The consequence of this is a shortening of the operating life of a carriage.

The Manufacturing Division of Premier Group has been commissioned to manufacture large formed under-body skins and structural supports in heavy gauge formed steel sections.

The key challenge is to reduce lead time, utilising a ‘rapid react’ system to ensure rail stock is back in service as soon as possible.

The Technology
Many disciplines are employed by the Sheet Metal Division during the manufacture of the under-body skins, including our state-of-the-art quality and inspection equipment to analyse and review the state of the corrosion, and our flexible hydraulic and mechanical press shops – all supported by project management expertise.

The Outcome
Operating a bespoke inventory system, the national rail service centres can now ‘call off’ dedicated stock as and when required. Premier can supply parts to service site from stock, with 24hours…

Train carriage downtimes have been reduced considerable.

Call us on +44 (0) 247 636 2886 if you have a project in mind.

/ Train Rolling Stock
Structurally Improving the Front Carriage
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Train Rolling Stock

The Challenge
Due to budget constraints, light rail network operators tend to favour the refurbishment of old rail stock, rather than commission new.

Our challenge at Premier Group was to assist in the assessment of refurbishment required on an old rail stock carriage. We were then commissioned to structurally change the rolling stock front carriage, and carry out a cosmetic overlay and modernisation to the front end.

The Technology
Due to the lack of any CAD files, our first task required the creation of CAD files via reverse engineering. This involved Premier Group engineers scanning and detailing an existing locomotive and creating the standard data/specification. The front end was then updated and strengthened.

The Outcome
The design was approved by the Train Rolling Stock asset company & the Train Rolling Stock Operating company. Project funding is expected in 2017/2018.

Call us on +44 (0) 247 636 2886 if you have a project in mind.

 

/ National Rail Network
Ensuring That Trains Run Safely And On Time
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National Rail Network

The Challenge
The smooth operation of any rail network’s signalling system is essential to ensure that trains run safely and on time. In the UK, the National Rail Network is continually challenged by the frequent failure of signalling systems due to overheating – in particular, the electronic signalling boxes. This is caused by moderately hot days and also in locations where there is restricted air circulation.

The Technology
Our challenge at Premier Group was to engineer and manufacture a stainless steel louvered system, which contained an integrated industrial freezer block. At specific varying external temperatures – as heat impacts on the internal box temperature (depending on the location) the freezer blocks freeze and cool the signal box – stabilising the rail signalling system.

The chemical mix in the freezer block assembly can be varied to react (freeze) at higher or lower temperatures to suit the physical location/issue at the failure box point.

The Outcome
Network locations are now more stable, where the system is installed. As further louvered systems are installed, signalling failures for overheating will reduce dramatically. It is expected to be rolled out nationally in 2017/2018.

Call us on +44 (0) 247 636 2886 if you have a project in mind.