Meticulous assembly and inspection procedures ensure the highest level of quality, with safety the overriding concern.
Parajet's plans are up in the air while XYZ provides a down to earth machining solution
Date of issue: 21st March 2012
Whenever the weather permits, Parajet International's founder, Gilo Cardozo, chooses the scenic route to work in the company's R and D centre.
Parajet International's Gilo Cardozo was inspired to make his first engineering prototypes while still at school.
Individual paramotor components are machined to exacting tolerances and every completed engine is fine tuned to its optimum operating efficiency.
While still a teenager Parajet International's Giles Cardozo made good use of his school's design department's facilities, even going so far as to buy welding equipment in order to produce engineering prototypes. On leaving school he went straight into manufacturing various products, one of which has since gone on to sell in hundreds of thousands into the DIY market. "It was a very good learning curve," he says, "as I made a lot of mistakes along the way." It was not long before Gilo, as he is known to all, was bitten by the paramotoring bug, and a lack of formal engineering qualifications proved no barrier to his ambition of designing and building affordable 'powered paragliders'. "I wanted others to experience this fantastic fun sport and that is why I set up Parajet in an old converted dairy farm," he says. A decade or so later, with the name Parajet now synonymous with advanced design, groundbreaking innovations and excellent performance, Gilo Cardozo's achievements have been recognised with the award of an MBE.
However, he is quick to acknowledge the input of colleagues such as the manufacturing and business expertise of Jim Edmondson, Managing Director of Parajet International and also of Rotron Power, the group's new engine manufacturing company. Then, too, there has been the marketing value of his involvement with TV survivalist Bear Grylls' 2007 Mission Everest and fellow adventurer and businessman Neil Laughton's 2009 SkyCar expedition to Timbuktu.
Having begun by importing two-stroke engines from Japan, it was not long before the idea of producing Parajet's own range of engines took hold. This led to the purchase of a small engineering business and, having been introduced to the XYZ Machine Tools' range by a fellow enthusiast, Larry Houghton of Salisbury-based Lamb Precision Engineering Ltd, the decision to invest in three new XYZ machines. "I looked around a lot of other suppliers but I liked the fact that XYZ was relatively local, the pricing was competitive and I had excellent testimonials from other customers," says Gilo Cardozo. "The infrastructure was definitely there to ensure we would end up with high quality, high performance parts such as the harness arms and engine crankcases CNC machined from high tensile aluminium billets." Close tolerance prototype and production parts machined on the three XYZ machines include aluminium cylinder castings that feature a 0.07 mm electro-deposited nickel-silicon carbide coating and high tensile alloy steel crankshafts tempered for durability. Meticulous assembly and inspection procedures reflect the fact that safety is the overriding concern, and every engine is fine tuned to its optimum operating efficiency in the engine test cell before shipment. Two of the three XYZ machines â€“ a 7.5 kW/2500 rev/min XYZ ProTURN SLX 425 CNC/manual lathe and a 20 hp/8000 rev/min XYZ 710 VMC vertical machining centre â€“ have been installed in the R and D centre, with a 15 hp/8000 rev/min XYZ Mini Mill 560 compact vertical machining centre installed in the nearby production facility. The after-sales service has been particularly helpful, says Gilo Cardozo, especially in terms of training and programming support. Programming is made easier because G and M code knowledge is not essential, either for the ProtoTRAK-equipped CNC/manual lathe or for the Siemens ShopMill conversational CNC systems fitted as standard to the two VMCs. Parajet's first 'own design and manufacture' paramotor was born out of the belief that it could do better than its existing supplier. One year and thousands of testing hours later, the Volution was unveiled, various versions of which share common attributes such as enhanced engine performance, specially extruded aerofoil sections, low noise prop and a weight-shift anti-torque harness. The product range has since been extended with the introduction of the Cyclone, which is built around the specially designed Rotron engine. This is an innovative rotary engine design that Gilo Cardozo believes is the way forward for a business that aims to combine the recreational aspects of paramotoring with the serious business of designing and manufacturing bespoke aviation products.