budgets for new design studios or new equipment have been canceled or postponed indefinitely. But the situation stretches further than just hardware. The recession has also had its impact on staffing levels, so even if new hardware was available, there might still be questions about number of operators and the in-house maintenance levels, etc. The full- range styling- studio supplier Kolb has devised a solution to help solve this problem and bridge the investment gap. Kolb offers a rental option for a unique styling package that includes the latest clay and hardboard milling technology, and scanning upgrades. On request, Kolb can even supply a package with qualified operators. Renting enables companies to avoid investment and to use project budgets more effectively. " You can easily have one complete month's in- house milling, scanning, CAD- CAM data handling and cooperation for the same price as two external full- scale milling jobs," Andreas Köck, Kolb's managing director points out. " We are talking about money that is already spent every month for contracting all kinds of external services." A typical rental period for the Kolb package would be 24 months and at the end of this period the customer has various options. They may choose to buy the machine " Kolb's unique styling package includes the very latest clay and hardboard milling technology" outright, upgrade to the latest model, or just return the equipment." Köck is aware that Kolb is taking a risk with this rental offer. " The customer pays only as long as he keeps the machine," says Köck. " But we are completely convinced about the qualities of our machines and our customers will be too. If a customer returns the machine, his demands have probably changed. This indicates the flexibility of the rental system." The unique package was tailor- made for the requirements in studios and the credo is: Support your design operation with the latest technology in- house and everyday. " We all know that there is
an internal studio loop that requires the creativity of the designers and the modelers more than anything else", states Köck. " Both milling and scanning accelerates the processes and therefore contribute largely in providing more time for the creative steps. When we are talking about traditional methods, at the same time we are talking about days and weeks for logistics to go outside for milling, copy one side of the model over to the other manually, capture new surfaces by means of traditional CMMs, and so on." To shorten this time- consuming process, Kolb wants to make both milling and scanning available for the studio with the same level of flexibility that is expected from modelers. The rental package is available with operators and Kolb has chosen Germany's Design Consulting GmbH to provide qualified staff. Design Consulting managing director Alex Medawar: " Our focus has always been on the real demands inside the studios. Our customers would expect our contractors to bring along their own tools. So why not rent a clay-modeller and bring him along with a StudioLine? A milling machine is the true evolution of the traditional clay rake. And nobody will mind if we use a scanner to catch two million points instead of 200 points with the manual CMM." Using a clay modeller as a StudioLine operator brings an extra benefit: Other than a normal CNC operator, the clay modeller knows about the very special needs of the styling process as Glen Sutherland, Medawar's fellow managing director explains: " Depending on where we are in the project, it may be sufficient for the modellers to have section lines every 50mm and develop the surface manually. A milling shop will always give you top quality, however sometimes we need quick and dirty. And our operator is aware of this." Medawar adds: " I know that Kolb doesn't want to hear this: But we talk about a machine that comes with a clay modeller, it talks about a clay modeller that comes with the machine." Whatever perspective is " Our focus has always been on the real demands inside the studios"