Intercad is the leading authorised reseller of SolidWorks 3D CAD/CAM technology in Australia and New Zealand.
The company has more than 20 years’ experience in the design, engineering and manufacturing industries in both countries.
SEM Fire and Rescue is aiming to double the capacity of its manufacturing facility for its emergency services vehicles with the assistance of SolidWorks computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software as well as training and technical support services from Intercad.
Based in Ballarat in central Victoria, SEM Fire and Rescue designs and manufactures emergency service vehicles, including pumpers, tankers and hazardous materials support vehicles for the fire and rescue industry.
The company also works with customers around the country to develop bomb response vans, prisoner transport vehicles and mobile office units in addition to working on other projects such as roadside assistance vehicles and tankers for Australia’s defence operations.
Ernest Martino, Design Manager, SEM Fire and Rescue says using solid modelling for design and manufacture is a trend within the industry and investing in technology from Intercad has helped the company continue to foster innovation, something its customers say sets it apart from the crowd.
“Presenting solid models and moving parts to our customers allows them to visualise the finished product,” says Martino. “When you use 2D it’s simply a bunch of lines, there’s no link between how parts work together, and this is how errors occur.
“Being able to create a virtual model as you would actually build and assemble a prototype, saves us time and money by reducing downstream manufacturing errors. It also allows for faster customer approval of designs because we can prove the design and agree on any variables upfront before we cut a piece of steel, not when we have 10 vehicles on the production line.”
By doing more design work upfront SEM Fire and Rescue is aiming to halve the time taken to assemble its vehicles, assuring its future competitiveness and workforce retention.
Martino says spending that time designing and engineering upfront significantly reduces procurement and assembly issues on production commencement and decreases non-value adding processes in the assembly stage – which ultimately saves customers money.
SEM Fire and Rescue is passing these savings onto its customers in the price of its vehicles.
Martino says SEM Fire and Rescue wouldn’t have realised the full benefits of the software if the company hadn’t invested in Intercad’s training and technical support services.
“Training is essential to ensure our designers don’t fall into bad habits and that they are using the software to its fullest potential,” says Martino.
While technical support is only a phone call away, being based in a regional area has sometimes been prohibitive for SEM Fire and Rescue to complete training courses.
Intercad is addressing this by providing regional training courses in areas more accessible for its rural customers.
“Our training is essential to ensure designers, engineers and manufacturers are working efficiently with SolidWorks,” says Max Piper, CEO, Intercad. “The manufacturing sector has done it tough throughout the global financial crisis, and while sentiment is now picking up, efficiencies learned during tough times, like putting in more grunt work upfront to make sure designs are right the first time will ensure Australian companies can continue to compete with overseas producers.
“SEM Fire and Rescue’s use of design to reduce processes in the assembly line is a great example of how Australian manufacturers can set themselves apart by working smarter, not harder,” says Piper.