Valiant TMS shows benefits of Siemens and Realtime Robotics partnership

Product: Tecnomatix
Industry: Automotive and Transportation

Recent proof of concept with a global automotive line builder shows significant savings in the engineering time required to program multi-robot systems.

Valiant TMS participated in a proof of concept with Siemens Digital Industries Software and Realtime Robotics (RTR) which showed that RTR’s technology seamlessly integrated into Tecnomatix Process Simulate software simplifies robot programming and interlocking by automating motion planning. The combined technology enables manufacturers and integrators to easily program, simulate and validate multi-robot systems, significantly reducing engineering time.

For the proof of concept, TMS provided a recent engineering study for an automotive body construction framing station. TMS provided KPIs like the required cycle time and the required time it takes today to program the robots. In this case, it takes 90 hours of programming for the 7 robots selected to produce the 60 weld spots required. Framing station fixtures and robot end-of-arm tooling is complex and the robots need to work in a very tight space.

“The combination of Process Simulate with Realtime Robotics improves our efficiency, reducing our offline programming efforts by more than 80%.”

It took only 15 hours to create the required robot roadmaps and to demonstrate collision-free robot motions and on-the-fly interlocking to TMS while achieving the required cycle time. This shows a reduction in programming effort of more than 80% in comparison to the typical required engineering time.

“The combination of Process Simulate with Realtime Robotics’ automated motion planning and interlocking has provided a significant improvement to our efficiency, reducing our offline programming efforts by more than 80%”, says Michael Schaubmayr, Group Manager Mechanical Engineering Simulation, TMS Turnkey Manufacturing Solutions GmbH. “This presents to us a tangible and strategic advantage in the industry.”

Additional optimizations can be achieved by trying different design options since reprogramming the robots to test an alternative is almost cost-free. All that is required is to set the target points for the robots in Process Simulate and, while running the simulation, allow the Realtime Robotics controller to automatically calculate the required motions and interlocks.

Watch this video to see the solution in action:

Cummins Uses Geomagic Software and Metal 3D Printing to Get 1952 Race Car Running Again 50% Faster

Product: Geomagic Design X/Control X
Industry: Automotive

The #28 Cummins Diesel Special shocked the racing world in 1952 when it captured the pole position at the Indianapolis 500 (Indy 500) with the fastest lap time in history. This feat, along with the car’s many other innovations, won it a prominent place in racing history.

Sixty five years later, #28 was invited to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the United Kingdom to participate in the legendary Goodwood Hillclimb along with hundreds of modern and heritage cars. While preparing #28, the Cummins engineers discovered that the water pump was so corroded it would probably not survive the event. If the #28 car was to make it to Goodwood in working order, it needed a new water pump.

The original water pump was a unique design specific to the #28 car, which meant no spare production parts would fit the bill. To complicate matters further, they had to ship #28 within a matter of weeks, which ruled out traditional sand-casting methods as infeasible for a replacement part given an estimated lead time of 10 weeks. Instead, Cummins engineers turned to reverse engineering and metal additive manufacturing (AM) using a ProX DMP 320 metal 3D printer by 3D Systems with help from 3rd Dimension Industrial 3D Printing, a high-quality production metal manufacturer specializing in 3D direct metal printing (DMP). The new water pump was 3D printed in only three days and the entire process took five weeks instead of 10.

A Page Out of Racing History

#28 was the first Indy 500 car equipped with a turbocharger and the first whose aerodynamics were optimized in a wind tunnel. It ran its four qualifying laps at a record-breaking average speed of 138.010 mph.

Since its momentous run in 1952, #28 has been displayed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and the Cummins corporate office building. In 1969, #28 ran a lap around the Indy track prior to the start of the race to mark the Cummins 50th anniversary celebration. The last time #28 ran was at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the late 1990s.

“As we prepared the car to run again for the first time in almost 20 years, we noticed severe pitting and corrosion on the water pump,” said Greg Haines, design and development leader for the X15 engine and member of the Cummins history and restoration team. “In a few places, the housing was pitted all the way through and was only kept from leaking by mineral deposits that covered the holes. We needed a new housing quickly if we were to meet our commitment to run the car at Goodwood.”

Racing to Produce a New Water Pump

The baseline method for building a new pump housing is the same method that it used to build the original pump: machining a plastic or wood pattern and using it to form a sand mold for casting. Using this method, it would have taken about 10 weeks to build a single housing, ruling out a run at Goodwood. The lead time for the new water pump housing could have been reduced by 3D printing the new casting pattern or even 3D printing the sand casting mold itself, but the greatest productivity gains available came from bypassing the casting process altogether and using reverse engineering and 3D printing to produce the final part directly in only five weeks—50 percent faster.

Scanning

Cummins engineers began by scanning the existing water pump housing with a CT scanner. They selected a CT scanner because the pump contained many undercuts and other internal geometries that would have been impossible to capture with a laser scanner or other line-of-sight imaging tool.

Inspecting

To verify that the scan data was accurate before moving forward, the engineers imported the point cloud data generated by the CT scanner into Geomagic Control X inspection and metrology software where they separated and aligned the internal and external geometry of the pump.

“For a project like this, we typically separate out the internal volute geometry from the body so we can model it as a core and do a comparison back to the point cloud data to be sure all our work is accurate,” said Chris George, master CAD model team leader for advanced system design for Cummins.

Reverse Engineering

With good scan geometry to jump-start its design work, Cummins used Geomagic Design X reverse engineering software to convert the point cloud to a nonparametric solid model to perform CAD fit checks. These checks helped the Cummins team determine the right assembly dimensions for the impeller and shaft and how everything would ultimately fit and seal together.

According to George, Cummins uses Geomagic Control X and Geomagic Design X as its primary software for point cloud manipulation. “The 3D Systems Geomagic software provides a complete solution for processing and inspecting scan data and converting it to a solid model,” he says. “We use them for every reverse engineering project we do, which often requires geometric reconciliations, finite element analyses of structure and flow, and model-to-scan comparisons reported to our engineering customers.”

“The 3D Systems Geomagic software provides a complete solution for processing and inspecting scan data and converting it to a solid model. We use them for every reverse engineering project we do.”

—Chris George, Master CAD Model Team Leader for Advanced System Design, Cummins

Designing

Due to the significant corrosion of the original part, Cummins could not use the model created from the scanned data as the basis for 3D printing. Instead, Cummins engineers imported the nonparametric model into PTC Creo® 3D CAD software to act as a template for creating a parametric model. In light of the physical damage to the scanned pump, the Cummins team had to make informed decisions as they 3D modeled the replacement to achieve a functional final model.

3D Printing

They then sent this file to the team at 3rd Dimension, who cleaned it up, analyzed it for optimal print orientation, and assigned supports for stable printing. 3rd Dimension engineers further sliced and hatched the part to define the movement of the laser during the build.

Although the original water pump housing had been made of magnesium to help reduce weight, magnesium’s susceptibility to corrosion following extended water and coolant exposure was a large factor in the problem Cummins was trying to solve. Therefore, 3rd Dimension manufactured the final 3D-printed part using LaserForm 316-L stainless steel material on a ProX DMP 320 metal 3D printer.

“The larger build volume of the ProX DMP 320 enabled us to have some additional options with part orientation, which helped us optimize supports, and the print speed allowed us to get the print done in the time we had,” said Bob Markley, president of 3rd Dimension. “The ProX DMP 320 also does not use a binder to join the material, which means the output is a pure alloy that performs like real metal—because it is real metal. This is a benefit to final part performance given the operational environment.”

Only three days after receiving the 3D file of the water pump geometry, 3rd Dimension sent Cummins the completed pump housing.

Making Racing History Again

The housing mated perfectly with the other pump components and provided like-new performance for over six Goodwood Hillclimb runs. Just as it had at Indy, #28 thrilled the fans at Goodwood and was featured in “The 10 Best Things We Saw at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed” by Car and Driver magazine.

In addition, as it did for the Cummins 50th anniversary in 1969, the #28 had a featured role in celebrating the Cummins 100th anniversary by running a parade lap around the track prior to the start of the 2019 Indy 500 race.

3D Systems Delivers the Ultimate Prototyping Solution for Hankook Tires

Product: CJP Print
Industry: Automotive and Transportation

“3D printing has become my one of my routines,” says Lee. “It is very attractive technology that allows us to print whatever idea we have in mind, and produce it in full color.”

“3D Printing Has Become My One Of My Routines,” Says Lee. “It Is Very Attractive Technology That Allows Us To Print Whatever Idea We Have In Mind, And Produce It In Full Color.”

The design department at Hankook Tire uses a ProJet CJP 660 3D printer by 3D Systems as a key part of its concept design process. 3D printing technology has helped the design team deliver better communication between departments, save on costs, and improve design data security.

Founded in 1941, Korea’s Hankook Tire is currently both the seventh-largest tire manufacturer in the world and one of the fastest growing. Now selling in 185 countries worldwide, the company has developed a reputation for high-quality tires at reasonable prices. But the tire industry comes with intense competition, and Hankook takes design and development of new products seriously. As part of their commitment to provide top-notch tires, Hankook looks for the best ways to enable rapid development and testing of innovative tire designs while keeping those in-progress designs secret.

With this in mind, the company invested in a 3D Systems ProJet® CJP 660, a 3D printer that uses ColorJet technology (CJP) to create perfect full-color models that can be assessed for form and function. 

Myungjoong Lee, CAD professional in Hankook Tire’s design department, prints a tire design in the ProJet 660 before he leaves at the end of the day, and the final model will be waiting for him when he gets to work next morning.  With the size of the models being created, it takes about seven to eight hours to build a finished mockup model overnight. 

Siemens supports leading Chinese automotive manufacturer Chery Automobile in internationalization

Product: Teamcenter
Industry: Automotive and Transportation

Teamcenter and Tecnomatix enable Chery to increase efficiency and improve quality in research and development

Founded on January 8, 1997, Chery Automobile Co., Ltd. (Chery) is one of the leading manufacturers of autonomous car brands in China, growing through independent innovations after the reform and opening of the market in China. Over the past 20 years, Chery has built a series of renowned brands such as Arrizo, Tiggo, QQ, and Fulwin, and exported products to more than 80 countries and regions, thus becoming a beacon of independent innovation. In addition, Chery also owns such international brands as Qoros, Jaguar and Land Rover through two affiliated joint ventures. So far, Chery has achieved cumulative sales of over six million units, making the company the first passenger vehicle manufacturer in China to surpass that number, which includes cumulative exports of over 1.25 million units. Chery has led in exports of Chinese passenger vehicles for 14 years in a row. Since its founding, Chery has attached great importance to exploring both international and domestic markets and has actively implemented the “going out” strategy, thus becoming China’s first automaker to export vehicles, complete knock-downs (CKDs), engines, automobile manufacturing technologies and equipment to foreign countries. Chery has built 14 manufacturing bases in Wuhu, Dalian, Ordos and Changshu in China as well as in foreign countries such as Brazil, Iran, Venezuela and Russia. In the evaluation of “Top 20 in Chinese Enterprises’ Overseas Performance Survey” organized by the China International Publishing Group under the guidance of the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China, Chery was honored as the “Chinese Enterprise with the Best Overseas Performance” both in 2015 and 2016, and was ranked the number one player in the equipment manufacturing industry for two consecutive years. 

Driven by innovation

“Independent innovation” is the core of Chery’s development strategy. Since Chery’s founding, the company has adhered to independent innovation and endeavored to become a technology-oriented enterprise, investing five to ten percent of its annual turnover in new product development. Based on the V-shaped development system, Chery has formed a collaborative, bigger-picture research and development (R&D) layout integrating the development talents and processes of Qoros, Jaguar and Land Rover, and a complete R&D system that integrates development, trial manufacturing and testing of vehicles, powertrains and key parts, centering on the Automotive Engineering and Research Institute in Wuhu and powered by Chery Technical Center Shanghai.

Through independent innovation, Chery has achieved breakthroughs in an array of core technologies such as dual variable valve timing (DVVT), turbocharged gasoline direct injection (TGDI), continuously variable transmission (CVT), new energy and intelligent technology that drive the technical upgrading of all series. By the end of 2016, Chery had applied for 14,316 patents and won 9,155. As China’s largest exporter of passenger vehicles, Chery is actively competing in the international market and trying to keep pace with international standards of product design, development and manufacturing to achieve parity with world-class brands. The company has observed over the years that in the course of developing advanced technologies, Chinese automakers need reliable long-term partners like Siemens Digital Industries Software, a specialist in product lifecycle management (PLM) soft-ware solutions.

Strong alliance

The partnership between Chery Automobile and Siemens Digital Industries Software began in 2003. With the use of NX™ soft-ware, Chery was able to realize advanced digital product design. In addition, the R&D team used NX solutions to perform virtual simulation and verification of digital prototypes. This approach improved design efficiency and quality while reducing inspection costs. Over the years of cooperation between Chery and Siemens Digital Industries Software, Chery has even established its own information technology company to promote product lifecycle digitalization and computerization through-out the industry. Here, PLM functions and other solutions are planned, implemented and promoted. The PLM implementation team includes engineers, computer scientists and Siemens Digital Industries Software experts.

Teamcenter promotes R&D collaboration

To further support Chery’s integrated R&D management approach, the company selected and deployed Teamcenter® software for digital lifecycle management following the successful implementation of NX. As a result, Chery standardized its R&D process and now centrally manages all development projects, personnel and data. The PLM project director at Chery says, “Teamcenter has helped us to re-use design knowledge and enhanced design team collaboration. Product configuration management and engineering changes have become more efficient and accurate thanks to strict project management and reliable data flow.” “With Teamcenter, we were able to identify many points that had to be improved,” an engineer from Chery’s PLM project team says. “The PLM system supports design collaboration and enables design information sharing, data consistency and re-use of design knowledge and data. In terms of design changes, we discovered early development issues and were able to reduce engineering changes and implementation times. In addition, the PLM system has enabled enhanced collaboration between research and development centers. This eliminates typical cross-nation and cross-region issues, such as inefficiency, inaccuracy and poor communication, and drives business development forward.”

Teamcenter supports Chery in the realization of standardized management of its product development process. Since implementation, the company manages product coding rules, drawing templates, design changes and data sharing modes on a central PLM platform. Such a highly stan-dardized process advances product development quality, drives collaborative design and promotes communication and project collaboration. Thanks to excellent cooperation between Chery’s PLM project team and the Siemens Digital Industries Software team, Teamcenter was quickly connected to the existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, enabling the exchange of product development and manufacturing resources management information. This brought the comprehensive information management of Chery to a higher level.

Tecnomatix supports improvement of manufacturing quality

Today, the auto market is flooded with car brands and models and competition is increasingly fierce. Poor-quality products are not recognized and accepted by consumers. Chery uses many opportunities for quality improvement and stabilization. An engineer from the dimensional control section at Chery Automobile Manufacturing Engineering Institute notes: “In recent years, we have initiated a series of quality control procedures, such as the improvement of processes and standards, the consistent control of project milestones and the addition of test equipment and tools.” Essential quality operations include the dimensioning of product parts from structural analysis to process selection, product and process design verification, piloting, vehicle experimentation, production preparation, process review and control; the use of post-production test tools; and data analysis and feedback. With the Tecnomatix™ portfolio of digital manufacturing solutions, the dimensional engineering team can intervene at the development stage, based on the digital prototype, to analyze structure, positioning, assembly processes, and other factors. On the basis of the results, the team can make suggestions as to how structures and processes can be optimized and identify possibilities for improving body alignment and product quality.

The introduction of Tecnomatix has significantly expanded the dimensional analysis capabilities for Chery’s engineering team. The original dimensional analysis method was a chain calculation formula based on 2D data and was relatively inaccurate. Tecnomatix offers powerful dimensional analysis tools to conduct virtual simulations of manufacturing and assembly processes, predicting deviations and identifying causes. “Synchronization of the Tecnomatix solution with dimensional engineering improves Chery’s capability to predict problems before production,” says a dimensional control engineer at Chery. “For example, in their analyses, they have identified positioning and assembly problems of headlights, thus saving a huge amount of tool modification costs and avoiding production delays. Dimensional engineering provides engineers with product design, process, manufacturing, tooling, and quality control utilizing a quality management collaboration platform that can help solve problems, minimize time and reduce costs at the early stages of development. Chery’s dimensional engineering is already in process for high-end models, with plans to cover all models in the future.”

Joining hands with international partners

Building an international brand is Chery’s strategic goal. Chery has been advancing its globalization layout and accelerating the transformation from the “going out” of products, “going in” of technologies and plants, to “going up” of the brands. In the meantime, Chery keeps deepening overseas cooperation by implementing the product strategy, localization strategy and talent strategy, so as to build Chery into a world-renowned brand with global influence.

Chery has established nearly 1,500 distribution and service outlets, and formed business areas with Iran, Brazil, the Middle East and Latin America at the core, with presence in over 80 countries and regions across the world. Chery has a three-step internationalization strategy: before and through 2013, it was at the stage of exploration and market development; from 2014 to 2020 marks the stage of market expansion, with the aim of building an international brand with quality products and services through overseas plants and overseas marketing. After 2020, the company will be entering the stage of global operation, to build an automotive brand with international influence using world-class products and more professional services.

In the course of internationalization, Chery also needs partners with experience in the international automotive industry. This is one of the main reasons for selecting Siemens Digital Industries Software as its partner. The PLM project director at Chery says: “We chose Siemens Digital Industries Software solutions because the company has a wealth of experience in the international auto industry and the software is widely used by both OEMs and suppliers. The use of Teamcenter and Tecnomatix enables us to align our research and development work with international standards. The experience of Siemens Digital Industries Software in the automotive industry supports us in integrating advanced design management methods and technologies and in realizing our global development strategy.”

“Siemens subsidiaries and professional service teams all over the world also play a special role in the establishment of Chery’s global research and development and manufacturing sites,” Chery’s PLM project director adds. “The Siemens Digital Industries Software team in North America has a wealth of experience in vehicle analysis and is therefore an indispensable part of Chery’s dimensional engineering project.”

Chery is very optimistic about the long-term collaboration between Chery and Siemens Digital Industries Software. “Since the implementation of the PLM system, Chery has significantly increased its market share and customer satisfaction has notably improved,” the PLM project leader says. “Currently, we are working together with Siemens Digital Industries Software subject matter experts on deployment of the bill of materials project. Our expectations for this project are very high. After successful implementation, it will further enhance Chery’s market advantages.”

How to boost the performance of an F3 race car with Artec Leo

Product: Artec Leo
Industry: Automotive and Transportation

A race car, such as the Dallara F399/01, is the product of decades of engineering advancements. Motors, frames, and materials have all progressed tremendously in order to comply with the technical regulations of motorsports while ramping up performance. In fact, the remarkable breakthroughs already made over the years in race car engineering make it appear as if there’s not much room left for further improvement. At least not without investing a fair amount of financial resources and time. Considering this, what options are possible if someone wants to gain a technical edge over the competition? John Hughes, a postgraduate engineering student at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), offered up a simple answer: Aerodynamics.

“Every little detail, every little gain you get, is better than nothing. At the moment, we have managed to gain roughly 10 miles an hour in straight line speed, compared to where we started off with the car. Just through aerodynamic development.”

John has been working on the Dallara’s front wing as part of his master’s degree project with another aerodynamics student together with the two owners of the car. Their objective is to get better performance out of the vehicle, currently running in the British Sprint Championship, a prestigious 16 events per season championship held at venues across the United Kingdom. Between events, John and his team have small windows of time for working on the car at the University motor shop, located right next to Swansea’s harbor.

For a while, the team used manual measuring tools to obtain the dimensions of the F3, but the results lacked precision in addition to being time-consuming. They naturally came to the conclusion that they needed a reliable way to get better measurements faster. This is where the idea of 3D scanning technologies entered into their field of view. At first, they tried basic methods of 3D scanning to get a CAD model they could work on, but it still wasn’t precise enough. As soon as they learned about professional 3D scanning solutions, they contacted UK-based Artec 3D Ambassadors Central Scanning, hoping they could provide the results needed. Seeing preliminary scans done with the brand new 3D scanner Artec Leo, John knew he had made the right call. “From looking at what has been captured, the amount of detail, compared to what I’ve seen previously, is second to none. It’s incredible, for what I’ve actually seen produced before,” he said.

Nick Godfrey and Tom White from Central Scanning had preliminarily analyzed the task at hand, and concluded that the Artec Leo would be the best tool for the job. “Leo is capable of capturing medium to large objects very quickly. It doesn’t require any preparation beforehand, and the scanning can be done directly on-site” said Nick. “The scanner is entirely autonomous, which means there are no cables or computers attached to it that limit your movements. We can capture virtually everything more easily than with any other 3D scanning solution.

Leo comes equipped with its own battery, a touch screen that shows the scanning in real time, and saves the data on a memory card that can be subsequently transferred to a computer. Tom scanned the Dallara in the UWTSD motor shop, without the need for any superfluous gear. All in all, the scan of the whole car took less than 2 hours. The scan data was treated on Artec Studio in a day, and a complete CAD model was sent to John a few days later.

It is important to note that in the field of aerodynamics, millimetric changes in the design can go a long way. The Artec Leo boasts an impressive data capture rate of 3 million points per second, with real-time 3D processing displayed directly on its screen. By having the geometry of the entire car digitally scanned with utmost precision, John can run a better computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation on Ansys, analyzing all the options for fine-tuning the aerodynamic profile of the car from the most realistic 3D model.

“I usually start off by trying to optimize the current component as best as I can without altering the geometry of individual components. For example, the current front wing has multiple elements, such as flaps and winglets. I would study if moving the position of the flaps would enhance the overall performance of the wing,” explained John. “This process can take months to get right. However, it can be sped up with the use of Design of Experiment (DoE) software. Once the original geometry has been optimized, I can then go on and start to develop the original geometry by studying CFD results. Using this method saves on manufacturing time and cost, as I’m trying to maintain as much of the original front wing as possible.”

After the analysis and the design work, the modified parts were sent to Fibre-Lyte, a carbon fiber manufacturer specialized in high-performance sports. With the help of a 3D milling machine, they are able to create cost effective one-off parts that can be repeated, or scaled up, if higher volumes are required.

The manufactured parts have been installed on the race car, and John already began noticing the difference: “We have seen gains in straight line and cornering speeds since modifications began. I created a number of bargeboard design iterations, with each one showing performance improvements. The simulation results show good promise in enhanced performance.”

High-precision 3D scanning for custom auto chassis design with Artec Eva

Product: Artec Eva
Industry: Automotive and Transportation

Jason Heard doesn’t lose a wink of sleep. Of the hundreds of high-performance chassis that he and his partner Jack Fisher have created over the years, not a single one has ever failed.

When it comes to what can go wrong on a car, especially as it’s racing across the landscape or around a track at breakneck speeds, aside from a major crash, most of what can happen isn’t life-threatening to the driver.

Whether a blown engine, an electrical system failure, or a transmission breakage, these events are rarely fatal. A chassis failure, on the other hand, is almost sure to be lethal.

That’s what makes modern high-performance chassis design such a demanding field. If the design is too lightweight, strength and safety are compromised. But if more material, or stronger ones, are used excessively, then performance is bound to suffer.

Achieving the ultimate strength-to-weight ratio in every project they bring to life is what Southern California chassis design specialists at Tekk Consulting Inc have been doing for years now.

Their pristine reputation in the industry as the guys who “just get it done” means booking clients months in advance and a steady flow of projects from private clients as well as the heavy-hitters in the industry, including several major OEMs, and others.

But it wasn’t always that way. Back in 2018, with more than a decade of chassis design under their belt, Tekk Consulting Inc had reached a point where even though the technical aspects of their work were unquestionably faultless, they were constantly in a race against the clock to complete their projects while maintaining the high standards they’re famous for.

At the time, adding more clients wasn’t possible, and that meant not being able to take on the volume of projects necessary to push to the front of the pack in the insanely competitive industry of chassis design.

So Jason and Jack sat down and scrutinized their workflow from A to Z. They began looking for ways to make it tighter and faster, without sacrificing quality even in the least. One of the first things they focused on was how they were measuring auto bodies, parts, and components.

The traditional method of using calipers, tape measures, and rulers was how they guaranteed that the dimensions were accurate beyond a doubt. But it’s a painfully slow process, slapping on hours and even days to every project.

When they ventured online, they started reading about auto customizers and shops using 3D scanning to replace manual measurement methods. It was saving them hours on each project, they read. One search led to another, and they found their way onto the Artec 3D website.

There the Artec Eva caught their eye. A lightweight handheld 3D scanner, Eva captures millions of points every second, in minutes creating high-accuracy 3D models of auto parts and countless other kinds of objects. So, they picked up the phone and reached out to their local Artec dealer, Artec Ambassador Rapid Scan 3D, to arrange an onsite demo.

Rapid Scan 3D’s Chris Strong recalled the visit, saying, “During the demo, we scanned an off-road vehicle to capture data of the roll cages along with the suspension. These are some of the essential areas that need precise measurements for designing and fitting Tekk Consulting’s custom parts. Some of the challenges of their work include undercuts, suspension that’s in the way, and surfaces that can be difficult to reach or measure. But with Artec Eva, it was obvious right away that they can easily capture all the data they need, including those surfaces that would be tedious and time-consuming to acquire via manual measurement.”

As Heard put it, “That was it. In the first 15 minutes of the demo, we knew that we’d found our answer. So we bought it then and there. Didn’t need any training, it’s that easy to use. We didn’t even take a peek at the manual. We just bought it and then spent the rest of the afternoon scanning everything around the shop. By the end of the day, we had our workflow down pat.”

Since that moment, Tekk Consulting Inc has used their Artec Eva every day, on hundreds of projects including Brad Deberti’s @ThePerformanceTruck, work for the top 10 automakers, as well as all kinds of classics, muscle cars, multiple SEMA projects, and more.

Heard explained, “If you ask anybody who’s anybody in this business, they’ll tell you this: your reputation is your lifeblood. For whatever reason, if that goes out the door, you might as well hang up your hat and call it quits. That means no cutting corners, because safety is everything, and never ever bite off more than you can chew.”

He continued, “Our Artec Eva gives us the power to do more and do it better than we ever did before. With no sacrifices in accuracy or safety. In fact, now we can digitally capture whatever autobody structures or part geometries come our way, no matter how complex. Fast and precise.”

Heard outlined his scanning workflow with Eva:

“For parts and components, I built a little lazy Susan (turntable) that I scan the parts on. If they’re shiny at all, I use a bit of baby powder or spray-on diffuser. That adds something like 1/5000th of an inch in surface coating, so it doesn’t affect the scan quality at all.”

He continued, “Then I just scan the part, two passes for one side, two passes for the other, just to make sure I’ve gotten everything. Then for the machine parts of the component, to get the exact spacing between bolt holes, and the holes themselves, for example, I just draw those in Geomagic Design X after measuring with a micrometer. It’s super easy and crazy fast this way.”

“When we’re scanning autobodies and cabs,” Heard said, “we typically scan in one major ‘geometry pass,’ which means grabbing the big structure. After that, we’ll come back and scan chunks here or there. Then we align these with the scan from the first pass. After this we process the scans in Artec Studio.”

He explained his process in Artec Studio software: “I use the Eraser tool, which lets me easily swipe out anything I don’t want. The base of the lazy Susan, any props, etc. Depending on how much time I have, sometimes I do an auto-alignment, or do it manually, and then after everything’s aligned, I’ll do a Global Registration, etc.”

“But on big cabs and structures, I don’t do Global Registration, I just stick to Sharp Fusion, because that works perfect to keep everything together, looking as sharp as a tack.”

After that, they export the scans over to Design X/SOLIDWORKS 2020, where they start drawing the chassis.

Eva made it possible for Tekk Consulting Inc to maximize the space within the truck (@ThePerformanceTruck), “where the chassis tubes are so perfectly laying against the skin of the truck,” and it also means having extra space within the cab, so your head is far enough away from the chassis itself. As a safety factor, in Heard’s words, “That’s huge.”

In the unfortunate event that the car or truck were to roll over, you always want to have enough distance between you and the chassis. With Eva, they have been able to maximize that to the fullest. “And that’s an epic plus for us. It’s a direct result of having a perfect scan of the body of the car or truck, which then lets us design a chassis that fits it like a glove.”

Every auto customizer who’s ever needed CAD files from an OEM knows about the at-least-occasional frustration of waiting and waiting for them to arrive. To make it worse, when project deadlines are looming closer, and clients are calling you every day, that’s when patience wears thin.

As Heard put it, “If we had to wait around for CAD files before getting down to work, there’s no way we’d be able to achieve the tight deadlines we have, no way. So now we don’t have to wait. We just scan it ourselves, whether it’s a Porsche or a Toyota or a batch of parts, whatever.”

He went on, “And when we compare our scans with Eva to the CAD files that eventually show up? Wow! You wouldn’t believe how closely they match up. Every time. At first we were surprised, but after hundreds of projects, we’ve gotten used to it. Now we don’t even wait for CAD files. We just scan and get down to work. That alone has saved us days of waiting.”

As far as working with classic cars go, rarely if ever do such CAD files exist. That’s when 3D scanning can be a pivotal factor in moving forward on a project. Heard explained, “With Eva, I can scan parts or entire bodies of classics. Then that scan is mine. And it’s perfect to a T.”

He went on, speaking of the possibilities, “I can transform it however I want in Geomagic, 3D print or CNC mill it, or sell it online to one of thousands of shops around the world doing this kind of work. Shops with one, two, or three guys who are fabricators or builders that put out maybe 10 to 20 cars a year, that’s 90% of the industry right there.”

In regards to factory tolerances as part of the manufacturing process, these are also apparent when 3D scanning cabs and bodies straight from the assembly line. According to Heard, “It’s a known fact that CAD files from the OEM don’t take into account manufacturing tolerances. They just don’t.”

He elaborated, “If you’re working with an American car, you could have a 1/4” deviation, and that would be acceptable. On a really expensive foreign car, for example, it’ll be maybe 1/8”. Our scans with Eva are so much tighter than that. So when we see differences between the 3D scans and the CAD files, we take those tolerances into account.”

In terms of being able to scan more in one day than he could ever measure by hand, Heard weighed in, “To give you an example, just yesterday morning I scanned the front suspension for a brand-new Raptor, 360 degrees, everything. Then I scanned five different race seats, added in the mount geometry, and now the scans can be brought into any CAD file when we’re drawing a chassis, so these seats will be perfectly mounted.”

Tekk Consulting Inc has embraced 3D scanning with Eva so fervently that they’ve begun selling their scans online via their digital marketplace at DIYoffroad.com. Over the years they’ve been contacted by hundreds of auto customizers and chassis designers in dozens of countries around the world. And the market is only growing bigger with time.

Heard has been recommending Artec Eva to everyone he can in the industry, without pause. In his words, “I’m totally fine with sharing what we do here. Including details about the amazing tech that we’ve been using. A huge thanks to our Eva, we are where we are today, with a backlog of work and the ability to pick and choose our projects.

Jason Heard envisions a future where, “Every auto shop and designer is going to have their own 3D scanner and 3D printer. The market is already moving in this direction. That’ll mean specialists around the world creating digital assets, using them right there in their shops, or selling them online to other guys.”

He explained further, “An example of what that can look like is this: some guy in Italy takes his Eva and scans a brand new Ferrari, or a classic one, along with whatever parts he wants, fenders, bumpers, etc., and then even hours later he bundles everything together into one package, or customizes it and turns it into a wide-body kit.”

Another facet of the high-performance design work that Tekk Consulting Inc does is Finite Element Analysis (FEA) on scanned components, usually through the thin-shell approximation. This entails capturing the precise dimensions of parts and then analyzing their mechanical strength and stiffness, or how much they can bend and what that deflection looks like in CAD. This process allows them to redesign a component to address a failure point, while ensuring the component performs the same as, or better than, before.

In the past that required hand measuring these components, which often took hours, including double-checking and re-measuring.

But now with their Eva in hand, they’re precisely capturing such parts in minutes. From control arms to swivel joints, roll bars to entire suspensions and more. No re-measuring or second-guessing needed.

Heard explained why that’s so crucial, “It doesn’t matter how amazing your FEA is, if the data going in is flawed, even by just a fraction of an inch, that’s a recipe for disaster. There’s no way you’re going to accurately be able to mathematically bend and twist those components to prevent failure and increase performance. No way.”

He continued, “Our Eva has been such a game-changer for us in this. Now I’ll take a bunch of parts and scan them in before lunch. By the end of the day, we’ve done all our analysis and everything is smoothly on schedule to create the final design.”

To summarize the impact that Eva has had on their work, Heard added, “When you’re trying to build a race car and you have a phase that used to take you 14 to 16 hours in the past, and now it takes you just 2 to 3 hours, that makes a massive difference to us, and that’s not even touching on the accuracy and safety angles of what 3D scanning with Artec Eva has given us.”

How 3D scanning improves quality control for heavy equipment

Product: HandySCAN Industry: Automotive and Transportation

  Initial Sampling of Components and Checking Serial Parts with the Handyscan 3D As well as being innovative in developing and building its wheel loaders, the long-established company Atlas Weyhausen GmbH is also innovative in its quality assurance: Since the start of 2011, the company has used the Handyscan 3D three-dimensional scanner from Creaform with Geomagic software to measure components and equipment, but also for data feedback from prototype parts. Atlas Weyhausen has produced wheel loaders for the construction industry, garden and landscaping works, agriculture, materials handling and recycling for more than 40 years, with an emphasis on quality and innovation. This means that the Quality Assurance department plays a crucial role in the medium-sized company.

The Old and the New Measuring System

Although traditional measuring systems such as coordinate measuring arms were used for quality assurance in the past, the decision was taken in 2011 to move with the times and the search began for a more innovative and flexible measuring system. The measuring arm could only record individual measuring points, not complete surfaces. The arm was not suitable for use in changing working environments either, as it constantly had to be recalibrated and installed in stable working environments; vibrations or instabilities in the working environment produced inaccurate measuring results. Even a potential additional scanning attachment for the measuring arm failed to convince. During the search for a new, more flexible system, Creaform was one of the companies invited to present their portable 3D measuring system. The Handyscan 3D Scanner impressed people almost from the start. The portable self-positioning Handyscan 3D Scanner generates precise and reproducible high-resolution 3D data. The integrated TRUaccuracy technology allows dynamic referencing, so that the part to be measured can be moved during the 3D scanning process. There is no rigid setup, as was the case with measuring arms. Mr. Ralf Vosteen, Quality Assurance employee, explains: “The major benefit of the scanner is clear to see: Freeform surfaces are easy to align, along with 3D data. A further benefit is also the data feedback into our CAD system.” Atlas Weyhausen is now using the Handyscan 3D with Geomagic Quality and Studio software for initial sampling of new components and to check serial parts in particular. The enterprise is increasingly encountering situations, however, where several installed components have to be inspected in their installed location, or where some equipment has to be recorded abroad at the supplier’s location itself. The scanner is also used to feed back data for prototype parts that are manufactured in-house for prototype production.

Scanning and Reverse Engineering a Display Shell

One project where the Handyscan 3D with Geomagic software was used was the series production of the display shell for wheel loaders. The benefits of the handy 3D scanner were clear here: The first prototype parts were scanned in for measuring, aligned on the 3D model in the Geomagic Qualify software, and a color comparison was carried out to identify deviations. A section was placed in the scan to check individual dimensions. This allows all the relevant dimensions to be checked so that the tool can then be released for production. A number of features are also checked directly in the scan. The project could also have been carried out without the 3D scanner from Creaform, but that would have entailed great effort as it would only have been possible to record individual measuring points with the old measuring arm and the complete display shell could not have been digitized.
Using the Handyscan saves Atlas Weyhausen time and money, because the handy Handyscan 3D is easy to use in any location and can digitize even complex items in a very short time. It also means that production equipment and the parts manufactured with this equipment can be checked on site at supplier’s premises, and results can be evaluated immediately. Even air travel is no obstacle here, as the device can be carried in hand luggage. Having digital files for a component is a further benefit for the company. When a complete scan is created during initial sampling, for example, measurements can be taken later at any time, as the initial sample exists digitally. This has already been useful to Atlas Weyhausen a number of times. The steel construction of a new driver’s cab and various paneling sections have been digitized, for example, and the CAD files that are created are now available at any time for comparisons. Mr. Vosteen, Quality Assurance employee at Atlas Weyhausen, is enthusiastic: “Handling the scanner is child’s play: You don’t have to secure the component to be tested and you only have to set a few positioning points on the part to be measured so that the laser scanner aligns itself with the surface to be scanned. Then you can start scanning. I think it is important that Creaform don’t just make promises; they also keep them, and I only have good reports from that perspective. If problems arise, you can always contact an employee by phone who can give advice or put you in touch with someone else. It is also commendable that Creaform frequently offer workshops where you can make contact with other users as well.”
 

MEYER WERFT Builds Cruise Ships with Help from Geomagic Control X

Product: Geomagic Control X
Industry: Automotive y Transportation

MEYER WERFT GmbH & Co. KG based in Papenburg, Germany, has achieved an excellent worldwide reputation for building special-purpose ships. They are especially well known for the construction of large, modern, sophisticated cruise ships. Over the years, the shipyard has built 45 luxury liners for customers from all over the world and every ship is unique.

To remain globally competitive, MEYER WERFT uses state-of-the-art production technology. Since 2010, they have used a Leica laser scanner for geometric analyses and image documentation. They use a LizardQ camera system to create 360-degree panoramas—up to 8,000 every year.

For 3D comparisons and precise adjustments of complex point-cloud models, MEYER WERFT metrology engineers use Geomagic Control X inspection and metrology software.

The journey from CAD blueprint to finished ship is a long one in which there are many challenges. “To get an idea of the complexity of the task we face at MEYER WERFT, you have to imagine building a complete, floating town every six months, including water and sanitation, logistics, accommodation for thousands of people, restaurants, food service, theaters, movie theaters, and a host of other leisure attractions ranging from water slides to go-karting tracks,” says Ralph Zimmermann, head of metrology/quality management at MEYER WERFT. “We use up to 30 million components to assemble every cruise ship, whereby even the smallest components, which are called sections, can have dimensions of 30 x 30 x 2.5 meters. When the ship is then assembled, everything must fit together perfectly. For the geometric measurements and point-cloud modeling that we perform every day, we use Geomagic Control X. We have a long-standing partnership with 3D Systems, the software vendor.”

Eric Wind, international senior consultant at 3D Systems, adds, “The wide range of applications for our software helps MEYER WERFT in its quality management, which is a crucial factor in the successful and on-time construction of cruise ships. Geomagic Control X inspection software delivers reliable results quickly and easily. We continually develop the software to ensure that we can continue to meet the challenging requirements of our customers in the future.”

Geometric measurement has been part of the quality management process at MEYER WERFT since 2012 and encompasses the entire production process for building a new ship. The department is responsible for all metrology tasks and works closely with the construction supervisor at the shipyard. One of the key tasks of the department is comparing target and actual states. Work begins with the scanning of components and their virtual assembly on a computer. Checking to ensure an accurate fit before assembly saves a lot of time in the shipyard as it significantly reduces the required number of physical adjustments.

3D Comparison of Target Versus Actual States Helps Ensure Accurate Fit

In shipbuilding, all materials are subject to changes caused by external influences. Welding causes changes in metal parts due to thermal action. Components are also affected by mechanical influences during transport and assembly, which can lead to deformation. Even the temperature conditions for the time of year can have an effect. A component that fit perfectly in the blueprint and during production and virtual adjustment may exhibit problematic deviations when it comes to final assembly. Target versus actual comparisons are therefore essential and are created using 3D analysis in Geomagic Control X. Current requirements include surface analyses, geometry inspections, fit checks, and virtual reality.

Surface and Deck Analyses Help Reduce Follow-Up Costs

André Schreiber, technologist in the MEYER WERFT metrology department, explains, “In our surface analyses, we aim to identify deviations from the target state in a fully-assembled section. Once everything has been captured with the laser scanner, we edit and analyze the point cloud with Geomagic Control X. The software makes the entire process much easier for us as it can handle large volumes of data. It is also suitable for all component sizes.” In addition, Geomagic Control X can be used in combination with all scanner types and technologies, enabling users to measure and validate objects geometrically and create test reports.

Figure 1: The color map of the surface analysis from Geomagic Control X shows significant differences in height and depth on the deck surface. Image © MEYER WERFT

The surface analysis clearly shows where there are real elevations and hollows on the deck surface compared with the target state. Surface unevenness of just a few millimeters on the sun deck of a cruise ship can result in puddles. Deviations of this kind can also occur below deck. For example, some areas of the ship are tiled and an uneven floor could cause floor tiles to crack.

If the commissioning shipping line were to discover such problems upon delivery of the ship, the result would be expensive repair work. Thanks to the work carried out by the metrology engineers using Geomagic Control X, such problems can be rectified at the shipyard. The relevant areas are reworked and the deck surface is leveled by calculating precisely the amount of leveling compound required—meaning no puddles and no passengers arriving at their sunbeds with wet feet.

Figure 2: The deck analysis from Geomagic Control X shows where the data of the CAD model deviates from the actual conditions on site. This knowledge is used to ensure necessary adjustments are made in good time. Image © MEYER WERFT

The deck analysis involves a similar process; the CAD model data is compared with the actual conditions on site and deviations can be identified immediately. The 3D analysis makes it possible to intervene in the construction process if, for example, adjustments are needed due to pipes being positioned at different heights. The 3D analysis also prevents structural complications at a later stage when decorating the interiors.

Geometric Inspections Help Anticipate and Address Deviations

Geometric inspections of the ship’s hull are essential. In the stabilizer used as an example, the edges of the shell surface are incongruent; the scan result is visibly different from the CAD model. In the quality assurance process, the 3D comparison is used to decide whether a deviation due to expected deformation lies within the tolerance range. Zimmermann explains: “The 3D analyses provide us with a clear picture of all deviations. It may be necessary to adjust the component in question if its functionality is restricted, if the deviations generally make it more error-prone, or if it does not comply with safety regulations.”

Fit Check Helps Save Time and Money

It is not uncommon for the client to request changes to areas of a cruise ship or its equipment during construction. Zimmermann says: “In one case, a customer wanted a higher capacity for the lifeboats, which were to be produced by a supplier in Italy. The design of the boats was therefore significantly modified and they no longer had our originally planned dimensions. At the shipyard we had to ensure that the resized boats would still fit in the intended lifeboat davits and could be lowered properly.” A simple comparison of the dimensions (length, width, height) was too risky. Given that the only other viable alternative would have been to transport a lifeboat from Italy to Germany for adjustment, instead it was scanned by MEYER WERFT engineers at the manufacturer’s premises. The metrology department then performed a fit check using Geomagic Control X. The result was positive: the new lifeboats fit perfectly and no further modifications to the ship’s structure were required.

Conclusion

Tools such as laser scanners and powerful software for metrology and quality management have become indispensable in modern shipbuilding. They play a key role in ensuring that components fit together perfectly when assembled, that any changes required can be made in good time, and that the ship is completed and delivered on schedule. Zimmermann explains, “We have to be able to rely on our measurement results at all times. With 3D Systems, we have a reliable partner by our side who understands our needs and is constantly improving the inspection software. This enables us at MEYER WERFT to build amazing cruise ships, ferries, and research vessels.”

Continental Automotive Group. Changing production requirements are handled easily with digital factory software.

Product: Tecnomatix
Industry: Automotive and Transportation

Tecnomatix Plant Simulation models give planners more flexibility; material flow simulation also increases output and reduces waste.

Making driving safe and comfortable

Continental Automotive GmbH is one of the leading automotive suppliers in the world. The company’s three divisions – Chassis & Safety, Powertrain and Interior – develop and manufacture products that make driving safer (air bags and sensors; brake and chassis control systems), more fuel efficient (gasoline and diesel injection systems) and more fun (infotainment systems and multifunctional displays).

The company’s Regensburg, Germany facility is its biggest electronics plant. In an area of 16,500 square meters (approximately 177,000 square feet), nearly 2,000 employees produce about 67 million electronic devices per year. The plant operates 24/7, running 22 lines for surface-mounted devices (SMDs) along with other product-specific assembly and inspection lines.

The company’s different business units demand quite a lot from the manufacturing planners at the Regensburg plant. Frequent product alternations as well as quantity changes require repeated production line adjustments. To support the planners in this complex effort, the plant established an internal consulting agency, called the “Lean Office,” that provides the business units with an expert production infrastructure and manufacturing expertise. “We offer our customers, the individual business units, a kind of carefree package for the manufacturing of their products,” says Dr. Markus Fischer, head of industrial engineering at Continental Regensburg.

Identifying problems through simulation

The Lean Office increasingly relies on advanced technology, such as the Tecnomatix® software from Siemens PLM Software. This digital manufacturing solution was chosen after a rigorous benchmarking process – involving the production process for side airbag satellites (sensors used to detect an impact) – that turned out 120,000 parts per day, covering more than 200 variants. The task was to simulate material flow between processing stations, starting with preliminary assembly, through to SMD mounting and all the way to customized packaging. After the process was modeled in Tecnomatix Plant Simulation (in two weeks), the resulting simulation won over the plant’s management, and Tecnomatix software was quickly integrated into the Lean Office’s technology portfolio.

The office uses the Tecnomatix material flow simulation functionality to examine and optimize new production lines, as well as to optimize existing ones. The lines can be evaluated and optimized for various parameters, such as throughput, cycle times, performance limits, interferences, and so on. To make reliable predictions, simulation models must map the real line as accurately as possible. Also, modifications must be tracked carefully. Given the frequent product alternations, the goal is to quickly identify potential problems in software and fix them before the actual process begins. “With a simulation, many problems are easily fixed,” explains Stefan Lamken, a process consultant to the Lean Office and key user of Tecnomatix.

Normally at Regensburg Plant, the manufacturing planners design lines with precise and successive processing stations. In this context, a simulation model is used to verify the planned performance of the line. “For our planners, Tecnomatix Plant Simulation is a very interesting tool,” says Fischer. “An offline simulation shows solutions that sometimes surprise even the most experienced colleague.” For example, a multi-product line with up to 100 variants did not reach the theoretical targeted output. An unforeseen bottleneck unbalanced the material flow. The Tecnomatix simulation showed that a processing station was operating too quickly, resulting in jams at subsequent stations. The unexpected solution – slowing down the cycle for that particular station – would have been discovered much later had the simulation not been used.

Supporting sound financial decisions

In another situation, the goal was to increase the output of a production line. Manufacturing planners developed four possible scenarios, noting the cost of each possibility. By evaluating the four alternatives using Tecnomatix simulations, the company was able to see that the most economical approach would meet the desired goal. “We were elated with the software,” recalls Lamken. “With it, we could see that the cheapest concept delivered as much additional output as the most expensive one.” Overall, this is one of the key advantages of the Tecnomatix solution: accurate performance data on which to base financial decisions.

Tecnomatix also saves money by eliminating the need for time-consuming tests on actual production lines. For example, an SMD line occasionally bottlenecked and jammed, requiring operator intervention to resolve the problem. This jeopardized product quality and affected the line’s performance. A cooling buffer solved these problems. A Tecnomatix simulation took the solution a step further by showing how the buffer could also enable higher output. This was determined without performing any physical tests. “The possibilities of a simulation are really great for reducing costs,” says Lamken.

In addition to verifying new and revised production processes, the Lean Office uses Tecnomatix to minimize stock and to reduce waste. Questions regarding the ideal number of work-piece carriers in a line are answered in detail by the soft-ware. At the same time, simulation makes it possible to consider the effects of various external conditions, such as potential supply disturbances and personnel changes. “With Tecnomatix we are able to evaluate various scenarios in the planning stages,” says Fischer. “With this capability, we have the necessary flexibility to perfectly meet customers’ demands.”

Currently, the Lean Office uses Tecnomatix Plant Simulation models on approximately eight projects per year, although that number is growing. “Every manufacturing planner who has experienced the benefits of simulation comes back to us and our services,” says Lamken. “Digital material flow simulation with Tecnomatix has enormous potential at our Regensburg plant.”

Interview: Dan Swartz from Ventrac speaks Synchronous and SEU

Product: Solid Edge
Industry: Automotive abd Transportation

“We looked at other products, but the Solid Edge guys were able to show us what we wanted to see, that it was turning a 2d sheet metal part and put it in 3D. They were the only ones to do that, so we went with their product.”

Dan, how did you get involved in Solid Edge First?

I have a bit of a different background from a lot of Solid Edge users. I never went to engineering school or anything like that. I started in the paint line and worked until I entered the engineering office running autoCAD. Eventually I was doing CAD Admin, and it helped make the decision about moving to Solid Edge. We also looked at other products, but the Solid Edge guys were able to show us what we wanted to see, that it was turning a 2d sheet metal part and put it in 3D. They were the only ones to do that, so we went with their product.

We started using Solid Edge with V19 (approx. 2004, two versions before ST1), coming from AutoCAD. Our lead engineer still starts product designs in AutoCAD, but one of the great things about Solid Edge is that bringing autoCAD data is so easy, and we can keep working on design.

I’ve Heard You’ve Been to Solid Edge University A Couple of Times…

Shortly after we started using the software, we also started attending annual conferences. They weren’t called Solid Edge University back then. We attend meetings in Huntsville, Nashville, Cincinnati, Atlanta.

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These conferences are like family reunions. We were Solid Edge SharePoint beta testers, so we can talk to other beta testers and see how they come with the new versions, other Solid Edge users, and we can always see the demos of the new software. Every year there are always new things, never the same, even though we come to these conferences year after year.

There are so many different classes, you really need to take a look at the agenda and choose and choose your interests. There are so many things you can’t do everything. Ventrac usually sends between 2 and 5 people. That way we can separate and each of us sees the sessions we’re interested in. On the way home we compare notes and then back in the office we update the rest of the Solid Edge users on the things that are most important to us.

I know that for a small business like Ventrac, an event like Solid Edge University was very difficult for us to justify the cost. But we went, and what we discovered is access to information and the people we know, it’s a great way to networking, learn some tips and tricks either from other users, or Siemens professionals themselves! If you are struggling in any area on Solid Edge, this is a place to figure out how to do that! You have classes where users like me are sharing what they do and how they use SE. so it’s very easy to relate to someone there. Like Synchronous, if you don’t know how, it’s scary. But go to SEU, attend a synchronous class, and ask questions about those who are using it.

There are some things that confuse me when I’m at one of these conventions. One is when I see companies that don’t keep up with the software. And also when people don’t even try some of the best new features like Synchronous. I’ll talk to someone and they’ll ask me how I do something, and I’ll tell them, and they could say, “I’ve never seen that before” “What version are you in?” “Oh, we’re in like ST2 or something.” Of course you’re going to miss a lot of great new tools when you never upgrade to the latest version.

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Already using ST9?

ST9 has been available for a couple of weeks, and we’re installing it on our Share Point test server. We used to install the new version when we were using only Solid Edge, but since we now use Solid Edge SharePoint, we performed a trial installation to make sure everything works with Share Point.

Shy or Tidy?

We are a sheet metal shop and we work all our straight brakes. Kids in the store like to see drawings coming from Solid Edge. Most of our things are done in Synchronous, although sometimes we come across things that have to be done neatly. It baffles me why more people don’t use Synchronous. It makes a lot more sense. It’s easy to use, and you don’t have to worry about exploiting features or long rebuild times.

Do you have Any Tips for New Solid Edge Users?

The best advice I can give anyone who asks me what to do? Attend the next SEU, stay up-to-date on maintenance versions and packages, and learn synchronously. As I said before, Synchronous has changed CAD Forever. If you’ve never attended a Solid Edge University, start today! It’s worth the money!