Producing a work of art

The Louvre Abu Dhabi will bring some of history’s greatest artworks to the Middle East – but the building, the work of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, is gaining as much attention as the pieces showcased within it.

Its 180m dome is a honeycomb of aluminium and stainless steel that lets sunlight filter through in random patterns that change throughout the day. At night, it takes on the appearance of a canopy filled with 7,850 stars.

The project was the work of Abu Dhabi-based Elumatec customer White Aluminium, Elumatec was on-hand throughout to offer advice and support.

Mechanical engineers from the firm’s Muhlacker headquarters were dispatched to Abu Dhabi to set up two identical SBZ 151 Flexium+ CNCs – five-axis profile machining centres designed to quickly and efficiently process aluminium and thin-walled steel to the highest of standards.

The machine’s onboard tool magazines ensure tool changing times are kept to a minimum, while Elumatec’s eluCad software allows for quick and intuitive programming, the company said.

On the Louvre, Elumatec turned CSV files provided by the project’s developers into 21 master files, from which production data for almost 500,000 profile parts were transferred into eluCad. After initial tests in Muhlacker, the main manufacturing phase was set into motion at White Aluminium.

“This amazing project is a fantastic demonstration of just what Elumatec technology is capable of,” Phil Heavey, managing director of Elumatec UK, said. “Using our world-leading software and machinery products, an internationally renowned architect and a first-rate fabricator were able to create one of the most exciting buildings on the planet.”

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