Design Production Innovation (DPI) provides an all-encompassing service to clients in exhibitions and events, including full fit-out work involving signage and interiors. The company regularly works with some of Europe’s leading event promoters, and is a well-established supplier of event interiors for PGA European Tour, The R&A , IMG and the Lawn Tennis Association.
DPI’s team comprises 12 full-time staff including project managers, designers and fitters, and a support team of more than 30 skilled sub-contractors.
All of the company’s bespoke joinery work is manufactured on-site at its 40,000 sq ft facility in Skelmersdale, by time-served joiners. DPI’s designers have 50 years of experience between them, and its management team has been in place since the start.
Its typical product range includes bar units, reception counters, furniture, showcases, point-of-sale units, sponsor boards, backdrops, advertising hoardings, banners, directional signs, golf course signage, external fascia, TV studio sets, graphics, and flags/PVC banners.
DPI is regularly called upon to supply premium sporting events – such as the Open Golf Championship, Women’s British Open, Ryder Cup 2018, BMW PGA Championship, Betfred British Masters, Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, DDF Irish Open, Portugal Masters, Senior Open Championship, The Solheim Cup, Aintree Grand National and National Squash Grand Prix.
The type of clientele requires a dependably high level of repeatable accuracy from its production, and naturally, the technology DPI uses must fit this demanding requirement.
Having previously worked with Carl O’Meara at J & C O’Meara, based in nearby Ormskirk, DPI’s sales director Dave Blackhurst had no hesitation in calling upon his services when he needed to upgrade his CNC capability. After an initial appraisal of standard market products, Dave spoke with Carl, who recommended looking at AES machines.
“I looked around at a couple of the leading brands, but their option seemed to be pretty expensive,” says Dave. “So I spoke with Carl, and he said we should look at this company because their machines are really good, and not as much as what you’d spend with mainstream suppliers. In fact, the AES comes in at around half of what a premium brand wants to charge. So, we worked out the spec we needed, and thought we’d give it a go – and it worked out great!”
DPI specified an AES Extreme 2132, complete with 12-position rotary automatic toolchanger mounted on the Y axis, automatic bed cleaning, an HSD drill box giving 10 vertical drills, twin 250m3 Becker vacuum pumps, and a split vacuum bed with auto push-off.
DPI also opted to upgrade to Alphacam Advanced, enabling it to import a solid model from Solidworks which is then automatically stripped down into component form, optimised and nested through automation using various machining strategies.
John Edmondson, who is responsible for J & C O’Meara’s software training, provided additional training and support as required.
AES’ Extreme CNC machine offers high-level solutions for nesting and hole applications, with its robust body structure and advanced configuration. It provides a flexible production ideology, and can perform a wide range of applications on a single machine.
When asked about the investment nature of this installation, Dave assuredly points out that the payback for the machine was very quick, with just one job – a major golf event, which required a fully-fitted 30 x 60m merchandise shop – ensuring the machine had paid for itself!
“We used to get stuff from a supplier in Preston that used to do all our CNC work, “ explains Dave, “and I worked out what it cost us, the time it took us, materials and logistics, plus what that company would have charged us – basically, that was the cost of the machine!”
DPI has also been able to produce more of its own products for international events since acquiring the the AES Extreme 2132.
“We came to design and produce exhibition stands for a global golf brand at an exhibition in Florida, and we found that we could produce all the stand elements and ship them to Florida – and get them back again – for cheaper than we could using a third-party CNC shop in the US! And we kept quality control here, avoiding potential issues.”
In closing, Dave explains that both Carl and the AES team have been “excellent” with their support, providing clarity with any initial teething issues, sending someone over on the odd occasion when needed, and helping with more advanced production requirements.