Kennedy Trailers, an equipment design and manufacturing company for heavy transport industries, has halved its production time for trailers and other heavy-duty machinery with SolidWorks 3D computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software from specialist distributor, Intercad .
Kennedy Trailers replaced its 2D AutoCAD system with SolidWorks in 2006, and its lead drafting team is currently reporting a 100% improvement in design turnaround with the software.
Kennedy Trailers is also using SolidWorks’ in-built finite element analysis (FEA) features to simulate its designs in real-world situations before sending them to manufacturing, saving additional testing and re-manufacturing time down the line.
“Since moving from AutoCAD to SolidWorks we’ve seen a marked improvement in design efficiency, particularly when we have to rework an existing design from our repository,” said Kennedy Trailers draftsman Mark Lawrence.
“With AutoCAD, if we wanted to reuse a part from an existing assembly we’d have to drill-down the assembly parts tree until we found the right part, extract it and then redraft the new assembly design, which could take a few days. With SolidWorks we can pull a part from an existing assembly and configure a new design in a matter of hours. It cuts out a lot of rework for us and helps us get finished parts to our customers much faster.”
Lawrence said SolidWorks’ intelligent analysis and automation components have made life easier for the team when testing new designs, be they new chassis or specialised equipment.
“We mainly develop products like trailers and low-loaders to transport oversize equipment for logging operations and other heavy-duty applications, so it’s not always possible for us to have a part manufactured and tested in the field,” said Lawrence. “With SolidWorks we can stress-test a part in the computer before it reaches the production line, and be confident that it will handle the loads for which it has been designed.
“SolidWorks also automates the process of accurately ‘unbending’ parts made from sheet metal plates, which we call flat patterns, so we can clearly mark up the bends in the plates before sending them for manufacture.”
SolidWorks is backed by a comprehensive training and support program from Intercad, the sole distributor of the software in Australia and New Zealand. The Essentials and Advanced training courses guide new users from designing parametric models of parts and assemblies and building freeform shapes, to advanced assembly modelling with SolidWorks.
“Companies migrating from 2D environments to take advantage of SolidWorks’ parametric modelling and analysis functionality need to equip their users with the necessary tools to optimise their workflow in 3D,” said Scott Frayne, Managing Director, Intercad.
“While the learning curve from other design software is not that steep, especially for users that have a firm understanding of drafting and modelling principles, the nuances of 3D modelling are somewhat different, and results in most cases are improved with expert guidance,” said Frayne.
“Intercad not only provides expert training and tuition but is also working closely with the majority of Australian universities and technical institutions to build the skills pool of qualified designers available to employers at every level of industry.”