Raccolta casi Working Model, visualNastran & SimWise - WABCO


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Paolo Lista, Lista Studio srl®
Borgo Belvigo 33, 36016 Thiene Vi ITALY
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Vapor Canada Inc. derails outdated CAD System.
Engineers unleash Solid Edge, Working Model®, and DesignSpace to design and simulate complex train door system.
Technology facilitates threefold reduction in design time.

For decades, people who live, work, and travel in cities the size of New York, Chicago, London, and Tokyo have used efficient and elaborate train systems to navigate throughout the metropolitan areas. In 1996, nearly two billion people in London alone used "The Underground" as their primary means of transportation. To accommodate the growing train commuter populations, many cities are adding new tracks and building new stations, as well as adding new lines and new cars to existing lines.

For train manufacturers, this phenomenon means not only producing more train cars, but also adding increased functionality demanded by its customers and subsequently, passengers. Today, trains must be more efficient, quieter, and more comfortable. And, increased automation continues to prevail in features such as door and safety systems.

Vapor Canada, Inc., a division of Westinghouse Air Brake Co. (WABCO), develops and manufactures rail and mass transit equipment such as heating, control, and door systems found in subway trains and busses. Intense global competition drives Vapor's Door Systems Engineering Group to deliver the most economical, reliable, and safest products in the shortest time possible. From an engineering perspective, this has not been an easy task because most customers require physical prototypes four to six months prior to awarding contracts to do the actual work. Delivering prototypes that meet customer specifications and staying within costs in a short time frame is very difficult even when development conditions are ideal. In addition, more engineering responsibilities are often dictated due to stringent governmental certification guidelines.

Until recently, Vapor engineers in the Door Systems Engineering Group were limited in their abilities to react to customer demands because they were doing all design work by hand. The extent of their computer-aided tools was a 2D CAD system for generating production drawings only.

According to Sean Taffert, Vapor mechanical engineer, "All the design work was based on using engineering data from previous projects and manual engineering methods. These limitations affected our three to six month design cycles. In addition, we are required to conduct a barrage of testing, maintenance, and safety checks prior to sending models to customers. That type of engineering environment doesn't allow opportunities for evaluating multiple design iterations to find the optimum model, or time for rework, if necessary.

"Given our situation, we recommended implementing three integrated PC-based software products, Intergraph's Solid Edge, a 3D solids modeling product, Working Model® from Working Model, Inc., and DesignSpace supplied by DesignSpace to allow us to make early design decisions. These easy to use design, motion simulation, and analysis tools ideally suit our needs. Once we were up and running, we never looked back," adds Taffert.

From a mechanical engineering standpoint, automated train doors are complex systems that are difficult to engineer. Each door consists of hundreds of parts. Taffert adds, "During train operation, these components move simultaneously inside the door with several parts interacting, as well as occupying the same spaces at different times. It's very difficult to mathematically analyze dynamics-forces to connecting rods and load stresses on bolts-as well as predict the maximum and minimum simulation time frames. Before we implemented Solid Edge, Working Model, and DesignSpace we made experienced predictions about how the parts would look and perform; however, we weren't 100 percent sure we were correct."

For us, the advantage of doing early virtual design, simulation, and prototype testing allows us to visualize whether our designs will perform accurately and meet specifications," Taffert says.

Click here to download the VRML file of this train door system.
Please read the instructions on VRML before.

12,000 Successes

The actual decision to implement Solid Edge, Working Model, and DesignSpace occurred when Taffert and his team faced a huge job of redesigning 12,000 train doors for a very large customer. They justified the need to implement new, state-of-the-art technology in order to solve design issues. In just four months, the system paid for itself by reducing some of the costly retrofit expenses. In addition, the Windows-based products are easy to learn and use. "We couldn't afford to spend a lot of time on the learning curve," says Taffert. "We saved the company design time and increased productivity using the new software. Plus, the cost effectiveness of the new system really pays off. After evaluating a lot of competitive products, we are confident that these affordable products provide the same, maybe more, functionality than the traditional UNIX offerings. That's a big savings in hardware, software, and training."

For the train door project, Taffert and his colleagues generated solid models in Solid Edge and analyzed the designs using DesignSpace. When the team was confident that the designs met customer specifications, the final models were downloaded into Working Model to simulate the dynamics of the door system.

The first time we applied Working Model on the dynamic forces such as magnitude and direction (physics issues that traditionally are very difficult to evaluate, let alone simulate)," adds Taffert, "we were very impressed by how real the system looked. The new design approach cannot compare with what we were doing in the past. The technology is a communications tool as much as an engineering tool. The visualizations enable our engineering team, management, and customers to see how products will perform in the real world. Instead of cranking out a costly, cumbersome prototype, we can show our customers a virtual product and how it will actually operate. If changes are required, we simply modify the CAD model, do a quick analysis using DesignSpace, and transfer it back to Working Model to simulate the new design."

The new technology allows Vapor engineers to eliminate other problems such as misconceptions about design integrity and product performance. "Our confidence level is much higher than before we implemented the technology," adds Taffert. In just the first few months that the new system has been in place, Taffert and his team have reduced the design cycle from months to weeks. They are also using the technology to quantify measuring, testing and analysis procedures. Taffert reports, "The software system reaffirmed the design team's faith in our measurements."

Taffert notes, "In the future, we would like to implement Working Model to improve our marketing efforts. Instead of building expensive physical prototypes to show customers, we can use the technology to provide electronic files of proposed models. We plan to offer animated files on our Web page for quick and easy engineering data accessibility. This will help eliminate misconceptions and design rework, and best of all, customers will see exactly what they ordered."




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