More and more engineers are utilizing CAD design tools earlier in the design process to develop exact system drawings. Now, engineers can select and configure the exact CD coupling solution for a coupling application using 3D Partstream and configurable 3D CAD downloads.
We have had non-configurable 3D files available on our website for a several years now, but customers have been saying they would like drawings of our couplings that are the exact model with the exact configuration, says Robert Mainz, Zero-Max sales manager. Correct dimensioning of bores and keyways make it easier for customers to do FEA analysis on their shaft and keyway stresses and take their designs to the next level. Engineers are also asking for CAD files much earlier in the design phase, so this service makes it easy to download files and use them in their CAD systems.
To select the right CD coupling, the system designer accesses the configuration tool on the Zero-Max website and simply enters the coupling size or max torque capacity and the two bore sizes. 3D Partstream renders the exact configured coupling for interactive viewing and the tool allows the user to spin the 3D model around on screen to view the part from various angles. The exact configuration can be downloaded in a variety of CAD formats that can be quickly and easily imported into engineering drawings. Mainz says downloads are available in native file formats compatible with SolidWorks; Autodesk's family of products including AutoCAD, STEP, SAT, IGES and several other formats which can be used by other CAD software products.
These Web-based software tools allow Zero-Max to extend the capabilities of CAD downloads available for engineers. It replaces generic CAD drawings that could be downloaded previously, but didn't provide the details on specific bores that are available. If the drawing had a 1Ό-inch shaft bore and the machine had a 2-inch shaft bore, the user would need to modify the drawing and, in some cases, there was no way to account for different envelopes and coupling construction required for different size bores.
The older CAD files also didn't reflect accurate wall thicknesses and other dimensional details. But now users are provided with an exact drawing for each of the couplings, which can be used by newer CAD software to perform stress analysis since the CAD model of the coupling offers exact dimensions and is precisely correct. Shaft size is an important factor to determining stress, but customers want to analyze the overall connection stress.
Mainz says with engineers developing exact system drawings earlier in the process, versus at the end, there is a strong desire to utilize CAD design tools in 3D for designing prototypes. More exact drawings earlier in the process are helping to collapse the design cycle and offer more detail for evaluation. And as the difference between prototype concepts and finished parts is becoming smaller, more work at the prototype phase improves the final product and helps engineers get more exact quotes for machines.