Waste Not: Petersen Inc. used Solid Edge
to design the RPP Mega Baler 2 that is capable of baling and wrapping more
than 800 tons of waste in odor-free, leak-proof, environmentally-safe
round bales in less than 10 hours.
Tom Burkland is not concerned about a down economy. As vice president of engineering at Petersen Inc. (www.petersen-inc.com), he oversees the designs that go in and out of the metal fabrication business, including the design of a new 200-ton trash compactor. However, while waste management is in steady demand, Burkland may be more excited with the roughly $200,000 he may have saved by designing the compactor with Solid Edge CAD software (www.solidedge.com). "We're attempting to switch everything to Solid Edge now," he says.
The catalyst for the switch to Solid Edge, the RPP Mega Baler 2, consists of a roller press and wrapping system that feeds waste material into the machine, which then rolls and compresses the material by means of a circulating belt and automatically stops upon reaching a specific degree of compression. "Waste ends up in a 7-ft long, fully wrapped container, created with the plastic film supplied by the machine," explains Burkland. "The film wrapped around it fully encapsulates the waste to keep out aroma and contamination." The 200 × 20 × 30-ft Mega Baler 2 is designed to compress about 28 yd3 of waste into an 8-yd3 bale in less than 3 minutes of rolling, compressing, and baling time.
Change for better
The challenge in producing such a system was not the design—the Mega Baler 2 is based on a smaller prototype design created by a German manufacturer and bought out by Petersen Inc. The company needed a CAD system that accommodated large assemblies, since the redesigned trash compactor would be their largest assembly created entirely on screen. lt also had to be compatible with their ALGOR FEA software, and offer a built-in product data management (PDM) system—all features not found on Petersen's CAD system at the time.
Familiar with Solid Edge and its capabilities, Petersen CAD Administrator James Beames proposed the CAD software as a solution. "Coming from the PLM/PDM world and knowing that it's a full-time job to track and manage drawings everyday, I knew that when you have the kind of system that Solid Edge had, at the price that Solid Edge had, you can do anything," says Beames. Among the reasons to switch, Beames cited Solid Edge's recognition of Petersen's former CAD system, which would enable them to convert all their past files into Solid Edge.
And it was compatible with ALGOR. "We have a lot of staff familiar with ALGOR, so it shortens the learning curve to continue using »it," says Burkland. It helped that ALGOR is a Certified Select member of the Solid Edge Voyager Partners program, which enables seamless integration between Solid Edge and software or supplier companies.
Wrap and Roll: The roller press and
wrapping system feeds waste material into the machine, and then uses a
circulating belt to roll and compress the material. Using Simply Motion,
engineers were able to automate the wrapping process and view any
interference of parts. Pictured here are images of the baler closed,
The free Simply Motion feature of Solid Edge provided the much-needed motion analysis, and enabled the engineers to find interferences in parts. In the case of the trash compactor, size became an issue. "The baler is big to start with, so you can't decrease the baler size without losing some utility," Burkland explains. "But we've decreased the outside dimensions by almost 40%. Solid Edge gave us the mechanical ability to run the machine and identify the functions. Color shading, especially, allowed us to see interference and differentiate the parts. It saved a lot of manual sorting and sectioning."
As a built-in component of Solid Edge, Insight replaced the need for an add-on PDM system. Operating almost transparently, it manages Petersen's files by automatically checking documents in and out, even with multiple users.
Learn to share
Although Petersen employs a relatively small number of workers who require the use of Solid Edge—currently about 11 employees—Burkland had a deadline to meet with the Mega Baler 2 and needed to stress efficiency in the development process. Although Insight requires Microsoft SharePoint to operate, Burkland decided to make SharePoint available to all employees. "There are not many document managers that could manage documents for a company our size at a low cost," adds Beames. "We've even started to run our conference room scheduling and our personnel reviews off of it."
Color by Parts: Color shading in Solid
Edge enable Petersen engineers to distinguish the parts of and see the
interferences in the hub assembly of the Mega Baler 2.
The new Solid Edge and SharePoint system has enabled Petersen's engineers to be about 50% more productive, while simultaneously saving the company from a 60% hiring increase and $200,000 that would have gone to another CAD and stand-alone PDM system, according to Burkland. This cost savings resulted in more money for training—the designers will attend their third offsite training seminar in October. "It has allowed us to put capital expenditure to get everyone further up the learning curve," says Burkland.
Since switching to Solid Edge, Petersen seems to have gained an efficiency that keeps up with the demand for waste management. Burkland foresees a busy schedule ahead, with the need for large waste containers for the clean up of a weapons complex, as well as other products needed in the aerospace and defense industries. And since the company is linked to Solid Edge's Voyager Partners program, they expect their future business partners will be like-minded in CAD choice. "As we go down the road, there's a proposal for some of the older stuff to be moved into Solid Edge," Beames explains. "Part of it is looking forward, but part of it is getting everything up to speed with Solid Edge."