Autodesk, Inc. and ImaginIT has released the result of a successful collaboration to provide an innovative software solution that has enabled a Victorian engineering company, Trackaxle Pty Ltd, develop a revolutionary new self steering rear carriage for semi-trailers.
It all began with a sketch on the back of an envelope and a conversation between Kerry Atley and Peter Gaylard, principals of Trackaxle. From these simple beginnings the two formed Trackaxle, based in Shepparton, Victoria to develop and market a ground breaking trailer, which demonstrated very convincingly that a trailer can use much less road space to corner if the back end steers itself.
Trackaxle’s trailer is a patented self steering rear carriage, which due to its self steering mechanism is able to save on tyre wear, provide fuel efficiencies and improved safety for semi-trailers. Trackaxle was different from previous designs because it had very few moving parts and was self steering, yet it took an aspect of the command steer stem and used it to modify the self steer. Using Autodesk Inventor 11, Trackaxle has developed improved performance mechanisms in the transport industry.
Initiated by ImaginIT, powered by Autodesk Inventor
Atley discovered Autodesk Inventor 11 and their approach to research and development completely changed. ImaginIT introduced the company to Autodesk through its relationship with Bernie Alderton, Trackaxle’s engineering manager. Bernie had had no experience with the design capabilities of Autodesk before speaking with ImaginIT Technologies and through their support team he was able to develop the skills needed to realise the steering system.
The first prototype of the Trackaxle trailer was developed the hard way, by trial and error. The next challenge for the company was to develop a more sophisticated and complex product and it was at this point that Autodesk Inventor 11 was brought onto the scene.
Trackaxle had to design a new, unique drive system to give constant four wheel drive through a split rotating transfer box with a differential to split rotating bevel boxes. Trackaxle needed to be compact and strong and Bernie developed the transfer box in Inventor 11, using some input data from a gear designer. During the building process, he realised that the design would not work and that the ratios needed to be changed for the gears to operate.
Through Inventor 11, Trackaxle saved ourselves from costly errors, carried out procedures which would otherwise have been outsourced to expensive consultants and taken ourselves from the back of envelope to a working design they are confident will work.
According to ImaginIT, at this point the relationship between Autodesk, Trackaxle and ImaginIT Technologies is still in its infancy, the easy part of the equation is when the customer buys the software. Small-to-medium engineering firms grow into global players because they have the capability to produce quality work through the solutions Autodesk can provide.