Cove Engineering has introduced design analysis software, COSMOSWorks, from specialist computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) distributor, Intercad , to aid in the design and development of the SmartFrame, an idler frame design that facilitates safe idler replacement on large conveyor belts.
The finite element analysis (FEA) software helped Cove Engineering analyse the complex structure of the SmartFrame to ensure that no mistakes were made in the design process and all parts were analysed before the product passed into the manufacturing stage of development.
The SmartFrame allows maintenance workers at bulk materials handling operations to change the idlers on large conveyers without having to get in underneath the belt or stop the belt moving.
This improves the safety of workers and significantly reduces maintenance costs along with the opportunity for production levels to be maintained during essential maintenance.
Based in western Sydney with a branch in Mackay, Cove Engineering specialises in providing conveyor-related engineering, management and maintenance services and products to the bulk materials handling industry.
Peter Jones, General Manager, Engineering, Cove Engineering, says COSMOSWorks was chosen because the company wanted to analyse the complex structure of the SmartFrame and test real-world stresses on the structure during the design process as opposed to manually calculating the stresses, which is time consuming and has a higher level of engineering risk involved.
“Having safe equipment and streamlined maintenance processes that don’t impact production levels is important to our customers’ businesses,” says Jones.
“COSMOSWorks enabled us to test the design of the SmartFrame to ensure it was free from errors before it passed to the manufacturing stage of production and ensured we were meeting the safety and production requirements of our customers.”
Jones also says the working 3D model that is produced during the design process by CAD/CAM software like SolidWorks is an important selling tool as it allows customers to visualise the product in action, and means the designer can make changes to the model to suit the individual client before the product is manufactured.
Cove Engineering has parametric working models of the SmartFrame installed at the Port Kembla Coal Terminal and Newlands Northern Underground in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, with more prospects for the globally patented product on the horizon.
Intercad is the sole distributor of SolidWorks and COSMOSWorks CAD/CAM software in Australia and New Zealand and is seeing the rapidly increasing adoption of FEA software by designers, engineers and manufacturers as the next step in the evolution of CAD/CAM software in the region.
Scott Frayne, Managing Director, Intercad, says that FEA software is bringing its Australian and New Zealand customers, including Cove Engineering, an increasing competitive advantage in a shrinking global market by allowing them to reduce the costs associated with design and manufacturing.
“Ten years ago it was unusual for anyone in the industry to be using 3D modelling and design software like SolidWorks, and now it is becoming essential to simply keep up with the competition,” says Frayne.
“I can see finite element analysis software, like COSMOSWorks, infiltrating the industry in the same way because businesses are realising the cost savings that can be made from catching design errors earlier in the process.”
The SolidWorks and COSMOSWorks combination offered integrated design and analysis capabilities, which was a big advantage for Jones when choosing an FEA software solution.
“COSMOSWorks got the tick of approval from Intercad because they had already supplied us with SolidWorks and we were proficient in the product’s 3D parametric modelling capabilities,” said Jones.
“It was an important decision for our business to be able to share data such as design changes between the programs fluidly and now we regularly use COSMOSWorks to fully check designs enabling us to exert better control of the outcome for our customers.”