Barnsley Software firm helps build Bloodhound SSC

Published 7th March 2013 at 2:17pm

A Barnsley software company is helping to build the ‘fastest car in the world’ which will be driven in an attempt to smash the world land speed record later this year. SolidCAM UK has devised essential computer technology to help manufacture precision parts for the BLOODHOUND SSC supersonic car which could ultimately reach a top speed of 1,000 mph.

The unique rocket and jet powered vehicle being developed here in the UK is due to attempt beating the world land speed record of 763mph in South Africa later this year, then be pushed to its limit in a bid to reach 1,000mph in 2014.

The team behind the Bloodhound Project turned to South Yorkshire’s ‘Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’ led by the University of Sheffield, for expert support when developing the super car.  SolidCAM, one of the many UK companies associated with the research centre, has contributed its advanced computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software and expertise to the project.

Managing Director of SolidCAM UK Gordon Drysdale said: ““We’ve been delighted to contribute our unique software to the Bloodhound project and are pleased to have helped construct key components for the car’s framework.

“Our role in the project draws on our experience supplying software to high-end manufacturing industries such as motorsport, aerospace and medical instruments. Many of our customers use premium – and expensive – materials and demand absolute accuracy in production.

“The Bloodhound supersonic car needs nothing less – every specification must be 100 per cent perfect to pursue speeds up to 1,000 mph. We now follow its progress with enormous interest.”

This is not the first time SolidCAM, based at Dodworth’s Fall Bank Industrial Estate, has been involved in a high-profile project. It also provided software to construct NASA’s Mars rover, Curiosity, which is currently drilling the surface of Mars to extract scientific samples.

SolidCAM UK is part of a world-wide parent company, SolidCAM, and the Barnsley-based team supply software and support services to companies all over the UK, including the Royal Mint. Its software helps drive machine tools in a wide range of manufacturing processes.

SolidCAM UK is currently being supported by the Enterprising Barnsley business support organisation to manage a period of growth. Last year, the firm launched a new ‘add-on’ product for its software packages called ‘iMachining’. This innovation gives its software a ‘turbo-boost’ which enables machines to operate more quickly and have much less wear and tear on tools. iMachining enables customers to realise savings of up to 70 per cent on production costs. The new product has led to a massive increase in sales and an anticipated 20 per cent rise in turnover in this financial year.

Enterprising Barnsley Business Development Manager John Heckingbottom said: “SolidCAM UK has had an exciting few months since the launch of its new product and the resultant increase in turnover.

“The company’s involvement in the Bloodhound project gives it a further fillip – the Barnsley business community will watch the supersonic car’s progress with real interest.”

The Enterprising Barnsley programme is supported financially by the European Union. The project has attracted £2,259,511 investment into Barnsley from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.