Ann Arbor, MI--Kaiser Optical Systems is using Intergraph's (Huntsville, AL) Solid Edge CAD system to apply holographic display technology to chemical, pharmaceutical, and other process-monitoring applications. The reason: to eliminate errors occurring as a result of their configuration management processes.
Their product, the HoloProbe holographic Raman spectrometer, determines the chemical and molecular structure of a substance by shining a laser through it and analyzing the shifted wavelengths that are inelastically scattered back.
Kaiser Optical engineers used Solid Edge to design a number of accessories for the HoloProbe. So far, a 20 to 30% time reduction has been seen in the time needed to create a model and produce drawings, compared to using AutoCAD or CADkey. "Drafting productivity has improved significantly," says Joe Slater, manager of new product development at Kaiser Optical. Also, when changes to a design are needed, they now require about two-thirds the time they did previously due to the ease of modifying a Solid Edge model.
The HoloProbe was originally designed with two CAD systems, AutoCAD and CADkey. Engineers created assembly models using the "layering" capability of the CAD system. This meant that every assembly model containing a particular component had to include an actual copy of that component. When the component was modified, every assembly model in which it resided had to be updated. However, changes made to the product drawings are typically updated but the CAD models are not. As a result, when engineers begin to design a new generation of products, they find themselves working with obsolete models.
Solid Edge features an inherent associativity between solid models and drawings that always keeps them in sync. Now, when a change is made to the solid model, all related drawings are automatically updated. Another important feature is Solid Edge's assembly modeling capability, which uses linking rather than layering to incorporate components that already exist by telling the system where to find them. Now, when a component is updated, each assembly that links it automatically incorporates the updated version.
With the implementation of Solid Edge, Kaiser Optical's configuration-related errors have dropped close to zero, says Slater. "With Solid Edge, we get robust as-sociativity between models and drawing and an assembly modeling capability that doesn't depend on layering. These things have really made a difference."