F1 parts company PTI has appointed a new chairman
With a 50-year heritage in the manufacture of specialist component parts for leading Formula One teams, Precision Technologies International Ltd (PTI) in Tamworth has its eye firmly on the checkered flag with the appointment of its new Chairman, Clive Austin.
Austin is a highly skilled investor with extensive experience in the development of strategic initiatives for manufacturing companies and a personal passion for the automotive industry. He has owned, maintained and raced single-seat race cars as well as classic and modern sports cars and is an active participant in competitive hill climbing events.
Austin has worked in the private equity industry since 1995 and has been director of a number of companies including 3i, Catapult Venture Managers and NVM Private Equity.
He is now an independent investment specialist with extensive experience of assisting businesses at different stages in their development across a wide range of sectors. He acts for a number of private equity firms as a non-executive director and represents their interests on the boards of a number of portfolio companies here in the Midlands and the North of England.
He joins PTI as Chairman because he identifies with the high standards of precision engineering in the high quality gears, splines and gauges that the company manufactures. He comments, “There is a fantastic skills base in the company. In particular, the talent used to make components for some of the most demanding international applications in the world such as Formula One. We will be growing the motorsport area of the business as well as developing our presence in other sectors such as aerospace, oil and gas and nuclear.”
Kevin Parkin, the well-known, serial entrepreneur who became Managing Director at PTI earlier this year adds: “Clive is a real asset to the future growth and development of the business here in Tamworth. He is helping us to refine our strategy and brings an enthusiastic and innovative approach to business development. He promotes excellent communications within the company and with our stakeholders and ensures that all the core disciplines and controls are in place. His personal interest and extensive network in the world of motorsports is the icing on the cake. He has a real empathy with what we do and is the only venture capitalist I’ve ever met who owns his own lathe.”
Precision Technologies began making master gauges predominantly for the motor industry and now has a leading position in the supply of gear and transmission components to the motorsport and aerospace industries. It is a UKAS registered and approved metrology laboratory, which can measure products to within two microns. It has a first-class plant and equipment including nine spark-erosion and four wire-erosion machines. The very latest CAD/CAM facilities, incorporating full 3D modelling with DNC links, have been installed and used.
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Hexagon Revolutionises Manufacturing Design Process
A global leader in sensor, software and autonomous solutions, Hexagon recently announced that complex CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulations can now be completed with the help of the world’s fastest supercomputer, Fugaku. Before this breakthrough, CFD simulations were far too expensive and time-consuming to run. Now, however, engineers can use these high-detail simulations to explore new ideas, iterate their designs, and optimise next-gen aircraft and electric vehicle manufacturing.
Thanks to Hexagon, manufacturers can now analyse what they’re up against before starting their build process—with one-third the energy use of traditional simulations and a fraction of the cost. This is only the latest step in Hexagon’s mission to use design and engineering data to speed up smart manufacturing. As the company wrote: ‘The idea of putting data to work is part of Hexagon’s DNA’.
What Are CFD Simulations?
Simply put, they’re simulations so complex and powerful that engineers usually have to spend hours upon hours simplifying their designs. 90% of an engineer’s time can centre around this task—but not with Fugaku-powered simulations. Now, original designs can be fed into the simulation software, reaching a much closer approximation of reality.
With the ARM-powered Fugaku supercomputer, Hexagon’s Cradle CFD clients can now reduce simulation cost, conserve valuable energy, and integrate high-detail simulations into their daily operations. At a time when the automotive and aerospace industries are racing to bring safe and sustainable transport options to market, in fact, CFD simulations could be the key to success.
How Does CFD Change the Game?
As auto manufacturers transition to electric vehicles, they must understand how design adjustments will affect the vehicle in real-time. Instead of physically iterating their blueprints, they’d rather work it out in theory. With CFD, engineers can now pre-test critical safety, performance, and longevity features—for example, how aerodynamics will interact with energy efficiency, or how thermal management will operate under a range of parameters. Essentially, CFD simulations speed up the design process and cut down on costly mistakes.
Said Roger Assaker, President of Design & Engineering in Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division: ‘Simulation holds the key to innovations in aerospace and eMobility. Advances such as the low-power Fugaku supercomputing architecture are one of the ways we can tap into these insights without costing the Earth, and I am delighted by what our Cradle CFD team and our partners have achieved’.
How Did Testing Unfold?
- Prototyped a typical family car. This is only possible with enhanced computing power. The car model consisted of 70 million elements using 960 cores and was simulated until it reached a steady-state using the RANS equation over 1000 cycles.
- Simulated transonic compressible fluid around an aeroplane. Made up of approximately 230 million elements, the simulation used 4,000 nodes using 192,000 computing cores and relied on 48,000 processes via Message Passing Interface (MPI).
Tomohiro Irie, Hexagon’s Director of R&D for Cradle CFD, commented on the recent progress: ‘I expect that these technical developments will contribute to making the power of Fugaku more accessible for general use, bringing huge freedom and improved insights to engineering teams solving tomorrow’s problems today’.
Overall, Hexagon intends to continue driving product innovation forward, with smart manufacturing that adapts to conditions in real-time, pursues perfect quality, and optimises designs for zero waste. And there’s little doubt about it. With 20,000 employees in 50 countries, coupled with Fugaku’s supercomputing capabilities, Hexagon is uniquely poised to succeed.