MCAD Tech News 2D to 3D #8

10 Nov, 2004 By: Arnie Williams

Cadalyst MCAD Tech News

Solid Commitment

Cement-Plant Designer F.L. Smidth Moves
to 3D and SolidWorks

With a history that reaches back 122 years to the late 19th century, F.L. Smidth has transformed itself from a small-town operation in Denmark to a leading international company designing cement plants and cement-plant products such as kilns, mills, coolers, burners, and related electrical systems. Recent international contracts have taken the company to Pakistan, Iran, and many other countries.

Pilot Program Pays Off
The company has been a long-time user of 2D AutoCAD for much of its design work, but has also undergone a pilot program to study the efficiencies of 3D modeling in its preheater design department. Using SolidWorks from SolidWorks Corporation, F.L. Smidth designers have been pleased with the built-in efficiencies of the 3D model for some of the complex design problems inherent in cement-plant design. The time and redesign work saved by using 3D model templates have convinced the company that adopting SolidWorks as a standard in all its design departments will help move the company forward as a leader in its markets.

F.L. Smidth recently purchased 200 licenses of SolidWorks and will have full, enterprisewide implementation by early 2005.

"In our detailed evaluation, we clearly identified the benefits we would obtain with 3D," says Magnus Rimvall, vice president of information technology for the company. "Working in 3D with SolidWorks will significantly increase our efficiency by enabling us to design a machine once, and then customize the design simply by feeding dimensions and other parameters into a template. No longer will we have to create separate drawings for each new order."

Interfacing with Other Software
Because F.L. Smidth works internationally and has many projects under way simultaneously, the company employs sophisticated server technology and a companywide data management system (Conisio from GCS Scandinavia). The capability of SolidWorks to interface with its data management system and other partner software was a significant selling point in SolidWorks' favor.

"Laying out plants in 3D will enable us to more efficiently design multiple, separate systems with full awareness of other systems being designed simultaneously," says Rimvall. "Moreover, 3D is an effective way to improve customer satisfaction and acceptance by communities hosting the plants we build."

F.L. Smidth:

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