Cadalyst MCAD Tech News: 2D to 3D #7 (October 14 , 2004)

14 Oct, 2004 By: Arnie Williams

Smooth Exchange

Injection Molding Specialist Maier eases Development of New Mobile Phone Range Using ICEM Surf

Gernika, Spain-based Maier designs and manufactures injection-molded plastic products for a variety of automotive and telephony customers. Products include mobile telephone housings, automotive vehicle exterior and interior components and trim, and surface finishing parts. The company, which also has two more offices in Spain and one in the United Kingdom, employs more than 2,000 people and boasts annual revenues exceeding 200 million euros (approximately US$247 million).

Make it Acrobat 6.0.

Enhancing Design-to-Engineering Communications
Maier recently selected ICEM Surf modeling software to enhance communications between its design and engineering departments during development of a new range of mobile phones in for Spanish market (figure 1). Maier designers imported preliminary 2D sketches, along with internal component "space envelopes," into ICEM Surf to use as visual references. Then they used sophisticated ICEM Surf surface-modeling functions to create digital surface models and outer skins, including front and back covers, battery covers, camera trims, and front windows and keypads.

Figure 1. Maier used ICEM Surf surface-modeling functions to create digital surface models and outer skins for a line of mobile phones, including front and back covers, battery covers, camera trims, and front windows and keypads.
Using these models, Maier engineers carried out feasibility studies to ensure optimum manufacturability. Designers also used ICEM Surf to create photorealistic renderings for client review and sign-off. Then engineers exported approved models into CATIA, via ICEM Surf's direct translator, for preparation of the final tooling process.

Easy revisions
For any required modifications to address component interferences or manufacturing requirements, designers took the models back to ICEM Surf by reexporting from CATIA. In fact, the ability to move seamlessly back and forth between the two 3D programs — a boon for design and engineering communications — was a strong selling point in ICEM Surf's favor for Maier management.

"The benefits of using ICEM Surf on a project like the design of a mobile phone are that it enables us to have complete control over the design surfaces, especially the very small dimensions involved in a mobile phone," says Alvaro Paramo, head of Maier's Styling Department. "But we're also able to use ICEM Surf's ability to exchange design data directly with our CATIA engineering CAD/CAM system. This has ensured that the design development of the phone's exterior components and of its internal electronic and mechanical components and assemblies move forward together smoothly and without delays."


ABOUT this issue
This special edition of MCAD Tech News examines the real-world experiences of manufacturing companies as they move from 2D drafting to 3D modeling. If you have suggestions about companies or issues you'd like to see covered here, please e-mail us at

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