Software selection cuts design time

DN Staff

March 22, 1999

4 Min Read
Software selection cuts design time

Huntsville, AL--Choosing 3D design software is not easy, especially when you consider the extent of options available. For FASCO Motors Group, the decision involved a company-wide effort. The result: a $2.4 million investment in a group-wide standard CAD solid-modeling system.

When FASCO, a maker of fractional- horsepower electrical motors, began expanding globally, the ability to leverage technical capabilities and sustain profitable growth was important. Engineering departments also wanted to take advantage of 3D design capabilities and productivity to perform finite-element analysis, and rapid prototyping on its designs.

For these reasons, the company decided to make the transition from 2D to 3D CAD systems. At the same time it saw this as an opportune time to standardize a design system across all FASCO engineering locations. Engineers joined forces to select, plan, and justify the new system. "Capability, affordability, and ease-of-use drove the selection process," says Don Schlump, vice president of research and development at FASCO.

FASCO evaluated many of the popular CAD solid modeling systems and quickly turned to mid-range systems because, "Competition among these vendors ensures a wide range of options and competitive pricing," says Rick Jennings, design engineering manager at FASCO.

Engineers conducted hands-on trials of the competing Windows-based CAD systems by examining the methodologies used for building models. The results recognized Solid Edge as the primary candidate for helping designers be the most productive in the shortest period of time. "It was obvious that no formal measurement of the test was required," says John Allison, CAD manager at the AC Motors Div.

FASCO Motors Group has made the 2D to 3D transition. Using Solid Edge software if reduced design cycle time by 30 to 50%, and in some cases as much as 70%.

In the end, a collaboration of all FASCO divisions led to the final selection: SolidEdge software from Unigraphics Solutions (Huntsville, AL). Fifteen representatives from FASCO divisions around the world participated in group dynamics and give-and-take discussions to commit to this decision. After four days in evaluation and one in deliberation, representatives unanimously agreed on Solid Edge.

"In our business, it's extremely important to get a prototype to our customer ahead of our competition. The fact that the customer has more time with our product quite often wins us the business," says Allison. "Tools such as Solid Edge accomplish that goal, positively affecting our bottom line."

Allison notes that Solid Edge has reduced new product design cycle time by 30 to 50% and in some cases as much as 70%.

Solid Edge will also be installed at eight North American locations, two Australian operations, as well as FASCO's joint-venture in Thailand. Brook Hansen's Doncaster UK fractional-horsepower motor operation will also install Solid Edge.

This group-wide, standard solid modeling system removes a barrier to concurrent global designs. FASCO Australia is developing an external rotor fan motor for manufacture in Australia and the U.S. With Solid Edge's design interface, FASCO's Air Moving Tech Center (Cassville, MO) will be able to work directly with development engineers in Melbourne, Australia.


Six considerations when selecting a new CAD system:

  • Determine system NEEDS vs.WANTS

  • Determine what the company is willing to spend

  • Determine what type of system? Low, mid, or high range

  • Test potential systems

  • Look to future system requirements or opportunities

  • Select a system that meets a balance of needs, wants, and cost requirements


First things first!

Reader Joseph Yokajty of Eastman Kodak Co. had this illuminating analysis of the No Problem-Problem (DN 2/1/99): "Using only super glue and off-the-shelf stepladders as materials, how high a pyramid is it possible to build?"

To solve any problem one must take things one step at a time. The very first ladder used to build the pyramid would violate this rule, making this particular problem impossible to solve. Even if the step issue were irrelevant, one is bound to get stuck on the step on which a certain amount of super glue has accidentally fallen.

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