Solid Edge

Cadalyst MCAD Tech News: 2D to 3D #14

11 May, 2005 By: Arnie Williams

Cadalyst MCAD Tech News

'That's a Huge Improvement'

Snow-Moving Equipment Manufacturer
Cleans Up Design Process by Moving to 3D

As spring slips closer to summer north of the Equator, some might have difficulty envisioning the need for snow-moving and related equipment that helps keep busy winter roads free for travel. But that has been the focus of Germany's Schmidt Holding for more than 80 years. From humble beginnings in the Black Forest region of Germany, the company has designed and built winter maintenance, sweeping, vacuuming and road repair machinery to become a 1,300-employee company with 15 offices today.

In 1960, Schmidt Holding set itself apart as an innovator by designing and building the first self-collecting sweeper. In the early 1990s, the company moved off drawing boards and into 2D computer design. And for the next decade, 2D served it pretty well, until the company began interacting with other vendors for parts design and manufacturing. The demands of the company's natural growth were pushing the 2D approach beyond its capabilities.

Making the Move to 3D
"We needed to move to 3D to accelerate modeling and make the design process more efficient," says Michael Schacherer, CAD system administrator. "We obtain complete product assemblies from external vendors that manufacture parts according to our guidelines," he says. "These assemblies must be implemented into our machines smoothly. With this in mind, it is extremely important that our systems are able to communicate in the same language."

When Schacherer and colleagues went in search of a 3D modeling program that would meet their needs in vendor communications and hook into their SAP enterprise resource planning system, they landed on Solid Edge from UGS.

In addition to modeling in 3D for its inherent efficiencies, designers at Schmidt Holding also wanted to conduct basic motion-simulation analysis at the early design stages. Solid Edge gave them this capability with a bonus: a market-leading sheet-metal module.

"All the parts we model in this system can be manufactured, and that's important because it allows us to reduce the time needed to develop products," says Schacherer. "Solid Edge allows us to check precisely where collisions will occur within large assemblies. With motion simulation, we can reduce costs considerably as we are able to detect collisions on screen. This has helped reduce the number of physical models we need."

Integrating Two Systems
Integrating Solid Edge data into the SAP system has also added to the company's overall efficiencies. Through a direct interface between the two systems, Schacherer notes, all revision and version management is centrally located. "All product-specific data, including technical documentation, is bundled together so we always have the latest overview of the current revisions, responsibilities and edit status."

This system, he notes, has helped in the error-free transfer of design information and production drawings to the company's various manufacturing partners.

"Solid Edge allows us to reduce the time spent developing a product by 10% and implementing model changes by 20%. Since we display all manufacturing steps on screen, workers can visualize the entire product before the assembly takes place. That's a huge improvement."

So while most of us put away the skis and get out the beach balls and bathing suits around this time of year, the 1,300-plus employees at Schmidt Holding are envisioning yet another winter ahead when their equipment will be in high demand. And today, they move from vision to reality more efficiently, thanks to the benefits of 3D.

Schmidt Holding
UGS Solid Edge