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Delcam's ArtCAM Software Key to Growth at Ice Carving Company

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Delcam’s ArtCAM Insignia software is playing a key role in the growth of Iceculture Inc., a Canada-based producer of ice sculptures for the hospitality ice industry in North America that is now establishing a substantial international market. This 15-year-old company was started in Hwensall, Ontario, as a hobby by Julian and Ann Bayley and is now recognized as a world leader in the ice business.


 The full-size ice model of the BMW Mini.

The company offers ice-carving services for Special Event Planners and Corporations all over the world. The list of projects is as varied as it is long, including an ice carnival in Prague in the Czech Republic, a 200 block ice bridge at the Rockefeller Center, New York City, a full-size ice version of the BMW Mini, ice trays for a large charity event staged by Elton John in the UK, and two 20-foot long ice bars for a financial company in Atlantic City.

Iceculture also supplies blocks of carefully prepared ice to other carvers and, in conjunction with Laser Spec in Calgary, Alberta, supplies CNC routers specially adapted for the ice industry. The company offers a range of three machines and is adding a fourth, a unique design that can work in both the horizontal and vertical positions. All are supplied equipped with ArtCAM Insignia.

“ArtCAM Insignia gives us flexibility and speed. All our product lines owe a lot to the software,” said Mr. Bayley. “We are also experimenting with ArtCAM Pro and I think this will come into its own as we move towards more machined 3D work.”

Iceculture has a staff of 36, including the five-man team that runs the routers. “We operate all the machines from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week,” said Mr. Bayley. “Time is money in this business and we have to have reliable equipment to get the job done.”

Recently, Iceculture broke into the Japanese market following a weekend meeting with the world’s only Grand Master Ice Carver, Mitsuo Shimizu. “This visit was particularly significant,” claimed Mr. Bayley. “Ice carving in Japan has centered around traditional techniques with hand chisels and has remained unchanged for centuries. This is now changing and I guess they are acknowledging that technology does have its place.” The Grand Master bought two CNC routers each with ArtCAM Insignia software and is planning to add more machines within the next few months.

ArtCAM Insignia has also helped Iceculture win a contract with the NASA Space Agency, cutting ice projectiles to exacting standards. NASA is testing the effects of ice breaking off the space shuttle during take-off and damaging the shuttle’s outer skin. The water and ice have to be 100% pure and the ice itself cut to precise measurements. “This is where ArtCAM helps us,” reported Mr. Bayley. “Some of the pieces are really small and there is no room for error.”