Basingstoke, January 2015: MiniTec’s modular aluminium profile based machine building system is helping Zen, the British golf innovator and exporter in two ways; supplying framing and components for a unique artificial putting platform and providing a cost reducing logistics service that enables large framing components to be sourced close to Zen’s international customer base.
Zen is all about putting – from coaching golfers to supplying novel equipment. Its latest product development – to improve the performance of the ‘Zen Green Stage’ artificial putting platform – involved replacing its prototype frame with MiniTec profile system profiles and corner connectors to provide increased stiffness and reduced weight for the 4.8m long x 1.8m wide structure. The user-adjustable platform allows golf enthusiasts and professionals to perfect their green reading and putting technique by setting the vertical height of each corner using electric jacks operated using wireless controls. In this way the compound angles created on the artificial green can be adjusted to consistently simulate different slopes and replicate where the green will ‘break’.
The novel structure uses 45 mm x 135 mm MiniTec profile rails with twin beams running the length of the structure and cross members connected via flexible angle brackets that allow vertical flexure but assure high rigidity and stiffness in the horizontal plane. The platform, which has two regulation hole cups, can be fitted with different grades of artificial turf to simulate the varying conditions and ‘stimp speed’ of greens encountered on world championship golf courses.
Whilst the relatively light weight and durability of the MiniTec structural components allows easy disassembly and reassembly local to the installation, Zen recognised that global sales of the large platform might be hindered by shipping costs from its UK production facility to international distributors and customers. The solution centred on finding a machine framing supplier that could fulfil a ‘globally-local’ service. The solution was solved during consultation with MiniTec – with subsidiaries and sales partners across five continents and a support system that was already proven to provide facsimile components and complete framing systems for world-wide industrial manufacturers, retailing groups and commercial logistics companies.
Zen’s Andy McCague says “We looked into aluminium profiles to replace the prototype materials for our market-ready range of putting greens. MiniTec was the only system that had the size and strength that fitted our requirements and allowed us the ability to offer our product all over the world by shipping heavy parts from local divisions without increasing our costs. The support services and rapid attendance we received from MiniTec during the proving stage was also essential which enabled us to meet delivery ahead of our program”
MiniTec’s modular aluminium profile based machine building system includes thousands of components such as links, hinges, handles, locks, feet, wheels, panels and more – as well as control system and motion components for electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic automation. Customers can design their own systems and structures using MiniTec’s free of charge iCAD design software which is available for standalone design development as an on-line tool or as downloadable versions that may be integrated with the customer’s preferred software system through interfaces with all common CAD packages including Mechanical Desktop, ProEngineer, Solid Works, Solid-Edge, MegaCAD and more. MiniTec can provide separate components for customer assembly, build to customer requirements in-house or on-site.