CAD Tech News (#34)

3 Feb, 2016 By: Cadalyst Staff

▶ Automotive Parts Designer Changes Gears with Integrated Manufacturing Solution

Bear's Performance improves inter-departmental collaboration by replacing separate CAD and CAM software packages with TopSolid, a product data management (PDM)-based solution.

By Paul Coleman

Bear's Performance isn't your average automotive machine shop; this Ontario, Canada–based company caters to the high-octane demands of drag racing and off-roading enthusiasts. The Bear's team produces a line of high-performance chassis, suspension, and driveline components — "Rears, gears, axles, and more" — for serious racers and street rodders. Along with their commercial products, they also craft custom racing components for their own drag racing team.

The Bear’s Performance automotive machine shop creates commercial products and custom racing components. Image courtesy of Bear’s Performance.
The Bear's Performance automotive machine shop creates commercial products and custom racing components. Image courtesy of Bear's Performance.

Bear's began in 1980 as a driveline and axle manufacturer; today, it is the only manufacturer of custom axles in all of Canada. As the company's reputation grew, so did the demand for its products, spurring an expansion of manufacturing capacity. In 1998, Bear's added 6,000 square feet of manufacturing space along with four new CNC machines, bringing the current total to eight CNC mills and five CNC lathes. Meeting evolving needs on the software side, however, has been a bit more complicated.

"Back in 1980, when we started, we did things much differently," said Keith Grondin, vice-president and engineering manager at Bear's Performance. "As our company expanded, we kept up with technology, buying our first CAD system in the early '90s and adding CAM a year or so later. Those systems grew alongside us for many years. Anything we needed to do seemed possible; I don't remember ever having a model we couldn't produce or a part we couldn't cut. We didn't even consider looking for a different system until we started considering the big picture. While we had seen improvements in our engineering and manufacturing departments, we found that the communication between these departments was lagging."

Two years ago, the Bear's team set out to find more than just a better CAD/CAM system; they wanted a complete manufacturing solution. "We needed to find a system that could handle all of our needs, and allow us to stay competitive in our market," stated Grondin. The team sought a solution that would satisfy both sides of the business: On the production side, they needed a tool that would help them engineer better products, test those products virtually, and automate their manufacture. The solution would also have to support the creation of high-tolerance, low-weight racing parts, where shaving off ounces without sacrificing strength is the goal.

Bear's original CAD system was a free-form modeler that provided flexibility, but lacked version control. "We could slap on extra material, move features, remove material — the system didn't care. It was great, but that was where the joy ended," said Grondin.

"Sure, we could make changes to models quickly and easily, but it had no accountability: There was no way to track which iteration of the part we were working on and who modified it last. This problem was amplified when we had to translate the part to work with our CAM software. Manufacturing was working with a model that was translated from the CAD model. Which model was it translated from? Was it the latest version? The system was relying on us getting it right. Not to mention all the time wasted translating files from one system to the next." Read more »

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Paul Coleman is the president of Creation Design.


▶ IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Conduct Linear Static and Linear Buckling Simulations in Autodesk Inventor

Autodesk Nastran can help Inventor users make better products using digital prototyping.

By Radu Stancescu

Linear Static is one of the most common types of analysis. It determines stress, strain, and deformation resulting from applied static loads and imposed constraints. Linear Buckling assesses stability under loads; it examines structures for sudden failure modes caused by compressive forces.

IMAGINiT Tricks Tutorial: Conduct Linear Static and Linear Buckling Simulations in Autodesk Inventor

In addition, there are several other types of basic and advanced analysis capabilities in Autodesk Nastran In-CAD software, which we may address in future tutorials.

There is a Nastran panel in the Environment tab in the ribbon, as well as a Nastran browser. Read more »

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Radu Stancescu is a manufacturing solutions consultant for IMAGINiT.


PTC Furthers Enterprise IoT Vision with Augmented Reality
New developments aim to simplify the connections between objects and their AR-enabled experiences. Read more »

The CAD Manager's 2016 Playbook
To navigate the challenges of the coming year, you'll need a strategy — so start planning now. Read more »

Siemens to Acquire CAE Software Giant CD-adapco for $970 Million
"As part of its Vision 2020, Siemens is acquiring CD-adapco and sharpening its focus on growth in digital business and expanding its portfolio in the area of industry software." Read more »

Drawing at an Angle in AutoCAD? Rotate the UCS!
If you've ever worked on an AutoCAD drawing that was rotated — and you had to figure out all the angles and reference points — then you'll love this tip. Join Lynn Allen as she shows you how to save time (and your neck!) by rotating the User Coordinate System (UCS). Watch the video »

Create a Tension Cable in Revit's Adaptive Template
You can quickly create adaptive models by setting your workplane, dropping in some points, creating a shape, and making a form. Watch the video »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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