NOV 98] UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK PRESS RELEASE
Researchers Turn Executive Toy Into Hi-Tech Engineering Tool
Researchers at the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of
Warwick have transformed an executive "pin art" toy that sat on many managers
desks into a hi-tech industrial moulding tool that those same managers can now use to
create new products.
Dr Gordon Smith has adapted the "pin art" toy which
consisted of several moveable pins of the same length. When a shape such as a human hand
is pushed against the pins, on one side the pins push out onto the reverse of the box
forming the shape of the hand [or any other objects] as a series of raised pins.
Using a Realising Our Potential Award from the Engineering
and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Dr Smith has created a more precise
network of pins which are covered by a flexible plastic sheet. The pins can then be
precisely controlled to pull the sheet into the shape of any product or component that a
company wishes to mould. When the moulding process is complete the pins and covering sheet
can be re-set to zero creating a precise mould that is actually re-usable. Dr Smith and
his team call this new process "intelligent tooling".
Peter Dunn, University Press Officer 01203 523708
Dr Gordon Smith, Advanced Technology
Centre, University Of Warwick 01203523784