EPM Technology / EPM Composites Ltd

Planning for tomorrow, today

Planning for tomorrow, today, is how Graham Mulholland, managing director of epm: technology (now EPM Composites Limited), describes the culture and core values that underpin his company’s focus:

Our belief that every task requires planning and careful thought, is paramount. This outlook has helped EPM have its most successful year to date.”

Mulholland continued:

Whilst it’s recognised within our industry that EPM already leads the way in core composite component productivity, we have in the last twelve months raised the bar to new levels with an operating CV that can now boast fully assembled structures and the management of fully programmed composite component projects.”

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EPM Technology

Mulholland founded Derby-based epm: technology (EPM) in 1996 as he had the business insight to see the potential of advanced composites; composites like carbon fibre are strong, light and versatile, and designs can be instantly adjusted to support future planning. Today, EPM provides carbon fibre components for four F1 motor racing teams and was a major supplier to Team GB at the Olympics. It has a turnover of £5.5 million and employs over 75 people. It is also on a recruitment drive for new people as it looks to expand its operations with the opening of a new site.

EPM Composits Ltd epm Technology logo

The business process at EPM can be broken down into five distinct offerings: engineering, patterns, tooling, parts and assembly. However, the philosophy that underpins each distinct phase of the manufacturing process is that of a strategic partner. Understanding the brief and utilising the latest technologies to create the perfect design is what has made the company so successful to date. In essence, EPM makes difficult parts and assembles better and quicker than the competition. It doesn’t have a sales team and has grown organically through recommendation.

To remain successful, EPM needs the latest machining equipment and software to maintain its high standards. EPM acquired two 5-Axis Bridgeport machining centres: an XR 600 and an XR 300. Both machines are positioned at the top of Bridgeport’s machining centre portfolio and are designed for a range of applications in the motorsport, aerospace, automotive and mould and tool and die sectors.

Guy Martin tandem bike Both centres are able to machine complex shapes, undercuts and difficult angles in a single set up which reduces tooling time and man-hour costs, resulting in lower cost per part in addition to maintaining parts conformity throughout production runs. To maximise the effectiveness of the machines EPM needed two new post processor posts, without the posts the machines would effectively be sitting on the production floor gathering dust.

Ian Buck, a financial controller at EPM, said:

We needed posts written quickly so took advice from Force India who recommended Desktop Engineering (DTE). Our contacts at Force India said that DTE were experts in this field and could provide us with a solution quickly and with little fuss. They were absolutely right.”


After an exploratory trip to Derby and analysing the brief from EPM, DTE recommended FASTPOST from CENIT. FASTPOST is an easy-to-use programming interface that develops and modifies post processors for CATIA.

From using FASTPOST, EPM benefits from:

*Execution of post-processor in a CATIA V5 environment without additional cost;

*Fast and easy creation and modification of post processors for any kind of machining processes (milling, turning, wire);

*Better customisation through the adoption of CATIA user interface: higher efficiency and a higher degree of automation.

Within two days, DTE had supplied EPM with two posts written in FASTPOST that would enable the Bridgeport machines to function to explicit briefs. The machines would primarily be used for machines inserts, moulds, patterns and components. In addition, DTE provided EPM with a series of training sessions to enable them to maximise the effectiveness of the machining centres.

To verify the CENIT software, EPM bought NCSIMUL from SPRING Technologies. NCSIMUL is a machine simulation solution for simulating, verifying, optimising and reviewing machining programs meant for CNC machines. NCSIMUL aids in the reduction of costs and ensures profitability around the manufacturing process.

This consultative philosophy of EPM was further demonstrated by the recent launch of its ‘self-improvement’ division, an R&D function that is in line with its 3 point future strategy. Mulholland said:

We are on a journey where we will see EPM self-improving and being able to transfer greater process knowledge to our customers.”


Mulholland concluded:

We are part way through a significant programme which will see EPM grow its core activities and introduce its outlook and approach to new markets, in particular complicated Aerospace components and assemblies, plus some structural volume components for Automotive markets. Our road map is very clear today, up skilling our staff and giving our engineers a budget to make epm better. Working with skilled, responsive partners like Desktop Engineering is only going to enhance our ability to achieve our goals.”

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