OSHA TOOLS ARE MADE WITH VISUALNASTRAN
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OSHA Electrical Voltage Exposure Regulations Spark A Compelling Business Opportunity for ComposiTOOLS Based in Albany, New York, ComposiTOOLS offers a line of certified non-conductive hand tools that are light, balanced, and strong. By combining the high power of MSC.Nastran for Windows with the design-centric productivity of Working Model, ComposiTOOLS can deliver all these features and more, at an affordable price, for a product line that will move the company into the forefront of its market.
Design engineers at ComposiTOOLS wanted to combine the protection of composites with a level of performance, handling, and cost-effectiveness that could meet or exceed traditional tools. To this end, Debby Kruesi, vice president of systems and process development, began to evaluate engineering analysis tools that would complement their Mechanical Desktop system.
During the software evaluation process, Kruesi attended a presentation that combined Mechanical Desktop, MSC.Nastran, and visualNastran FEA. She recalls, I knew that [visualNastran] would be right for us. It’s geared specifically for design engineers, so we wouldn’t have to go through a long learning curve, and we could work right in the CAD environment that we’re already using. Since we’d be right inside the CAD part itself, it would be easier for us to optimize our designs. VisualNastran FEA takes advantage of its roots in MSC.Nastran to perform critical stress, vibration, buckling, and heat trans-fer simulations. Designers can apply forces, pressures, temperature, gravity, and spin loads right on the CAD geometry. visualNastran FEA displays results, such as conventional stress contours, deflections and symbol display, right on the solid model itself.
The tool also presents margin-of-safety and other animated plots within the same window. Using the CAD application’s controls, users can rotate, zoom, and pan the results to determine trouble spots. visualNastran FEA has been great, continues Kruesi. The designers set up and run analyses within the CAD environ-ment. They iterate quickly through design alternatives to ensure that the part will withstand a given load with optimum use of materials.
Now, all our design engineers go directly from CAD to simulation, using visualNastran FEA to evaluate the metal ends of our hand tools.Cutting manufacturing costs and risks Originally, ComposiTOOLS used NC tooling to manufacture the metal working ends of its products. It was soon discovered that production costs could be cut by more than half by moving to a powder metal process. However, that required the purchase of mold tooling for the many tools that ComposiTOOLS offers, each of which costs thousands of dollars.
As Kruesi relates, "On the first project using the powder metal process, the engineer redesigned the hex insert of one of our nut drivers. He specified the desired torque load and quickly modified the part to optimize the amount of metal. Through a series of iterations, he was able to bulge out the sides and edges in a way that maximized performance while avoiding material waste. On the first manufacturing run, the part worked exactly as specified. This one project paid for Working Model
FEA many times over."
The bottom line: A confident future for ComposiTOOLS
visualNastran FEA gives us a great confidence level as we move from design into tooling and production. Thanks to visualNastran FEA, we can be sure that our tools are as strong and perform every bit as well as anything on the market, Kruesi says. Now that we have proven how easy it was to launch the new product line, we look forward to extendingour use of visualNastran FEA, envisions Kruesi. We’re beginning R&D on our next products, including wrenches and pliers, which involves more complex geometries. Depending on what’s appropriate for each product, we plan to use buckling and shape optimization features for automated design optimization.
Using the power of parametric solid mod-eling,the visualNastran FEA design optimization combines stress, vibration, and buckling analyses to minimize or maxi-mize mass, weight, volume, frequency,
and critical load factors, within the con-straints of stress, displacement, strain, fre-quency, and load. Iterating each analysis, the shape optimization varies the selected dimensions and then reconstructs the CAD model automatically using the best-case or user-specified dimensions. VisualNastran FEA allows ComposiTOOLS to avoid expensive training and contain costs of NC tooling processes, prototypes, and quality issues. As Kruesi sums up, We’re taking advantage of everything MSC offers to enhance our product line and expedite market entry.
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