Design Automation Software: What It Does and Why It’s a Game-Changer for Manufacturers
Steiner Technologies produces a family of automatic back boring tools called the Autofacer®. They have been using DriveWorks since 2010. In a recent blog post, they explained how DriveWorks has significantly improved their processes to make them faster, better and more cost-efficient. Like many other manufacturing companies, Steiner Technologies have found implementing design automation to be a ‘game changer’ for them and have seen the benefits go beyond their internal operations. In this blog from Ryan Nolan with Steiner Technologies and Jessica Taylor from DriveWorks, we’ll take a quick look at what the software does and some of the key benefits.
Design Automation Software: What It Is & What It Does
DriveWorks design automation software works in tandem with the very popular SOLIDWORKS 3D modeling and design software package. SOLIDWORKS is used to design just about any custom product with a wide range of features and functionality. It provides a platform for designing parts, assemblies and drawings, giving manufacturers an impressive ability to visualize product designs upfront. DriveWorks enables engineers to automate and standardize the tool design process (As an example, Steiner uses both SOLIDWORKS and DriveWorks for its back counterboring tools.) It’s the combination of these two types of software that presents real potential for a streamlined design process and a higher-quality product in the end.
Why It Provides Value to Manufacturers
For companies who create custom tooling solutions, and for manufacturing engineers who integrate those solutions into their processes, 3D modeling software and automation software adds value in the following ways:
•Access to a 3D model file. Tools that are created with the aid of modeling and design automation software come with a definite advantage: they are typically accompanied by a model file. Manufacturers who order these tools can request this 3D model file, then import it into their own toolpath software to check for interferences between the tool and the part, the machine, the fixtures and so on.
•Consistency in product and process. Software like SOLIDWORKS and DriveWorks improves consistency in a few ways. Automation greatly reduces the chance for design errors, which is particularly helpful when manufacturing different “families” of parts that have the same design across many different sizes. And the less variation in the product, the less variation in the process. Consider the time it takes to implement and document the process for running a new tool (speeds/feeds, operating sequence, etc).
•Shorter lead time. Using modeling and design automation software drastically reduces tool design time, resulting in a shorter lead time for customers. This is obviously a huge advantage for both custom manufacturers (who are processing many orders) and for the engineers who are waiting on those tools to improve their own processes. At Steiner, for example, the software helped reduce tool design time by about an hour and a half per design, helping turn around orders faster and with more accuracy.
So far, the investment in SOLIDWORKS and DriveWorks has been a valuable one for Steiner. Find their full blog article here. For more information on how TriMech can help wth your Design Automation with SOLIDWORKS or DriveWorks, please contact us.
Learn more about DriveWorks CQP in our recent blog post.