Qantas, a leading domestic and international airline, has purchased SolidWorks computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software from specialist distributor Intercad in a bid to reduce its design time by up to 40%.
The deal, worth $330,000, will see Qantas implement 17 copies of SolidWorks supported by training and technical services from Intercad, the sole distributor of SolidWorks in Australia and New Zealand, and a specialist in the mechanical computer-aided engineering (MCAE) field.
Qantas supports a fleet of 217 aircraft and carries more than 34 million passengers each year. To maximise the commercial return of Qantas’ investment in the aircraft and to help ensure the safety of flights, the large fleet requires the design and production of ground maintenance equipment, replacement parts for the aircraft and interior layouts for new aircraft.
The SolidWorks 3D software offers Qantas not only improved design capability but also in-built finite element analysis (FEA) functionality enabling the designers to undertake stress analysis tests on their designs early in the process so they can validate their designs before they are passed to the next and more expensive stage of testing.
“By enabling designers to carry out stress tests on their own designs we are able to more rapidly modify those designs and ensure they are of a higher quality before they are passed to dedicated FEA engineers for final analysis, saving time and money in the process,” said Chris Tobin, Qantas Manager Aircraft Engineering.
SolidWorks will also allow Qantas to easily export and share its drawings between different business units and vendors, further improving accuracy and consistency between suppliers.
Intercad’s experience in the airline industry and the company’s national support network were also important considerations when Qantas selected the SolidWorks-based solution.
“Our experience with large Australasian multi-site customers such as GHD, Varian and Fisher and Paykel as well as aerospace customers like Hawker Pacific and Boeing helped us to tailor a task-specific solution for Qantas including software and national training and support services to help the airline make the transition from 2D to 3D design,” said Scott Frayne, Managing Director, Intercad.
“Another of Qantas’ criteria in selecting a CAD/CAM supplier was finding a one-vendor solution for both design and analysis,” said Frayne. “SolidWorks’ FEA functionality acts as a virtual ‘spell checker’ for designers, allowing them to spot problems early in the design process and saving them hours of additional corrective design time.”
Qantas also needed to be confident there were enough skilled personnel on hand to operate the design software following implementation.
“SolidWorks is rapidly gaining traction in the market as a standard design platform and we’re working closely with many educational institutions around Australia and New Zealand to make it part of their curricula,” said Frayne. “This means companies like Qantas can readily draw on a pool of skilled designers proficient in SolidWorks.”