The role of SOLIDWORKS in the design and manufacture of equipment often described as Special Purpose Machinery (SPM) cannot be understated. As the UK and Ireland’s largest reseller of SOLIDWORKS, we have helped many SPM manufacturers transition to 3D CAD and deploy SOLIDWORKS as a critical component of their manufacturing processes.
Whether you need to design equipment for processing, packaging, handling, moving or lifting materials the powerful tools in SOLIDWORKS make your designs more innovative, quicker to create and cheaper to manufacture.
We have created this web page as a guide to show how SOLIDWORKS can improve your design process and why it is the tool of choice for over 3 million designers across the world. We have used customer experiences to explain the business benefits SOLIDWORKS offers and the problems it solves. We dive deeper into the functionality of SOLIDWORKS to explore exactly how these benefits have been achieved.
Get your product to market quicker by reducing the time from initial concept to manufacture and inspection. SOLIDWORKS has a range of tools to cut out repetitive tasks and maximise output. Creating a 2D drawing is as easy as dragging and dropping a view. Section and detailed views, exploded assembly views, bills of materials and balloons, can all be created in seconds.
And the best thing is that because a SOLIDWORKS 2D drawing is driven from the 3D model, any design changes in the 3D are automatically updated in the 2D, removing issues of out of date drawings, reducing rework and allowing more time to be spent on design innovation.
"Many of our parts are unique and designed to order in short lead time, so we do not have the luxury of physical prototyping. It is unthinkable that we would be able to achieve first time, the highly complex sheet metal involved without SOLIDWORKS. Investing in SOLIDWORKS has proven to be an excellent decision, it is reliable, flexible and easy to deploy and administrate."
One of the most valuable benefits that a 3D CAD system adds over a 2D CAD system is the ability to interrogate designs for interferences and collisions. This is more important than ever when designing complex mechanical systems with a large amount of components. The ability to do these checks within the SOLIDWORKS 3D design environment not only allows for more informed design decisions to be made, but it also highlights manufacturing issues before they arise.
The ability for greater validation during the design process, not only results in a better quality product, but ensures that problems during manufacturing are kept to a minimum, reducing time, material wastage and rework.
SOLIDWORKS Simulation is also used to reduce the need for physical prototypes. Analysing components for stress, strain, and deflection allows designs to be optimised, whether that is by selecting less expensive or lighter-duty parts or removing unnecessary material to minimise cost and weight. Integrated into the core design environment, this eliminates the need for additional software packages.
"Checking the timing, path and trigger mechanisms virtually can save huge costs in preventing late ECOs (engineering change orders). Event based motion in SOLIDWORKS allows you to simulate and optimise the timings and sequencing of complex assembly lines. Actions are triggered based on other events or proximity sensors. Results include the velocities, accelerations, and movements of parts and can be used to improve the motion sequence."
For any product, the design process often isn’t linear. Customer requirements, new technologies, and even availability of raw materials can mean that designs may need to be modified at any stage of the process. How quickly you can update and make changes to existing designs is closely related to customer satisfaction. Changes that sound small in principle, can have knock on effects that mean multiple other documents also need updating. With SOLIDWORKS, modifying your design is as easy as adding a new feature or entering a new dimension value. When these changes occur all of the documentation including assemblies, drawings, cut-lists and bills of materials, update automatically.
The design of Special Purpose Machinery often involves many designers working on multiple parts and assemblies, so managing the high volume of files generated can be intricate and time consuming.
Product data management software, SOLIDWORKS PDM, allows for efficient design collaboration even when working across multiple sites. Its advanced search, data import and configurability allow organisations to create custom workflows that manage revisions and make it easier than ever to retrieve and modify previous design data.
"The benefits of SOLIDWORKS 3D design is well proven but with the many interrelated parts, assemblies and drawings, one of the drawbacks is the explosion of data. The more design changes you make, the larger your design team, the greater the chaos. SOLIDWORKS PDM gives you a centralised vault and design file management tools that enable you to eliminate non-productive time associated with manual data management, so your engineers have more time to focus on design and innovation."
Miscommunication of data from design to manufacture is often a cause for project downtime. Traditionally, the design engineer puts down their ideas to 2D and this information is then handed to production who begin to develop the machining, bending and cutting processes required. With SOLIDWORKS there are powerful CAD/CAM solutions linking the 3D design directly to the machines on the shop floor. This removes misinterpretation of a 2D drawing, and also means that when a design changes, tool paths and manufacturing processes update too.
Dramatically reduce the time it takes to get designs to manufacture by reusing existing data. Simply modifying a dimension or adding in a bracket shouldn't be cause to start from scratch. SOLIDWORKS provides capabilities to automatically create and store numerous configurations of the same design. So, when a design is modified, all the necessary drawings, bills of materials, cut-lists and flat patterns are instantly updated. From a single base design, you can create and store thousands of machine variants, with just a few simple inputs.
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See how the latest in 3D technology can address some of the most common challenges facing the Special Purpose Machinery (SPM) industry. Whether you need to design equipment for processing, packaging, handling, moving or lifting materials the powerful tools in SOLIDWORKS make your designs more innovative, quicker to create and cheaper to manufacture.