Fairfax Saddles

The challenge

Our area is world famous when it comes to saddlery manufacturing.

British made saddlery is among the best in the world and this traditional industry still to this day revolves around Walsall and its surrounding areas.

In the workshops scattered around our area, the latest generation of leather workers use skills that can be traced back to the 16th century.

Fairfax Saddles are master saddlers, their mission is that all their products should be designed based on scientific evidence combining tradition, technology and testing. Each item developed by Fairfax is scrutinised using the latest pressure mapping and gait analysis systems available.

The design and development of new saddles is a technical process and the prototype polyurethane foam parts in the new saddle designs would normally be sculptured by hand using layers of sheet foam that can be sanded and rasped easily.

This is a relatively long, and inaccurate process but when they finally achieve a shape that’s acceptable the part is then 3D scanned and the ‘best’ half of the model is selected so that it can be mirrored to make a symmetrical 3D CAD model.

This CAD model is them used to manufacture PU foam tooling and foam parts are then moulded.

The above method is a long and expensive process, there is no way to accurately replicate the foam shape and required density / hardness before investing in expensive foam mould tooling.

The solution

Rojac Urethane Ltd approached Fairfax Saddles and offered a unique, rapid and accurate method of developing PU foam parts for design and development projects.

With Fairfax modelling the required foam shapes directly into 3D CAD Rojac’s solution was to mould PU foam blocks to the exact required hardness and density replicating the production moulding PU foam systems, these soft foam blocks were then CNC machined directly to CAD using Rojac’s 7 axis milling robot cells.

The outcome

The resulting 3D flexible soft polyurethane foam parts were manufactured in hours not days, giving Fairfax Saddles accurate. symmetrical foams to the correct hardness and density that could be used in the prototype stages of the new saddle design for testing and evaluation without the need to invest in any mould tooling.

Once evaluated and tested PU foam mould tooling can then be manufactured by Rojac and foam parts moulded in full production.

Fairfax Saddles

"The foam prototype milling process has saved a lot of work and ensured better accuracy from the outset! It was great! Thanks for sorting it. The quality was excellent!
We’re currently working on it in a saddle so we’ll soon be able to move onto the tooling"

Nick Tedstone
Fairfax Saddles Limited

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