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Case Study

3D development process dramatically boosts ability to innovate


NX-Solid Edge combination provides the full range of CAD/CAM/CAE functionality required for market leadership

Construction machinery leader

Founded in 1961, Changlin Co., Ltd, is a large-scale, state-owned enterprise that manufactures construction equipment. Changlin holds a leading position in its industry and maintains a high rate of growth. The company’s products can be found in all of the provinces,municipalities and autonomous regions of China. Changlin also sells its products internationally to more than 30 countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa and North America. Changlin’s excavators, big-ton loaders and dumpers are the top sellers.

How does Changlin meet the changing market demands of different countries and different regions? Early on, astute managers realized that advanced technology is the key to innovation. The company has a long history of implementing modern business ideas, advanced equipment and state-ofthe- art software. The latter includes 3D design software from Siemens PLM Software, which Changlin has been using for more than 10 years. Currently it has seven seats of the NX™ digital product development system and 30 seats of the Solid Edge® CAD program. Management invested in this complementary solution from Siemens to improve its ability to innovate.

Early start in 3D

Changlin was an early adopter of 3D design software. As far back as 1996, Changlin implemented the 3D high-end system, Unigraphics. Now called NX, the system is currently used for 3D design, computer-aided manufacturing and finite element analysis (FEA). As the company grew, management increasingly realized the importance of expanding 3D design across the entire product development process. After serious study and careful analysis, the company decided to implement a combination of NX and Solid Edge as its 3D platform.

The simplicity and ease of use of Solid Edge in such areas as styling, assembly modeling and drafting complements the strengths of NX in areas such as complex surface modeling, CAM and advanced FEA. The tight integration between the two programs gives Changlin a CAD/CAM/CAE environment with a full range of capabilities, fundamentally improving both design quality and the machining process. Together, NX and Solid Edge provide a foundation for Changlin’s product updates and technology innovations.

Extensive use of 3D data

Changlin has established its own 3D model library, an important source of data for technical research and development activities. Having this library virtually eliminates repetitious work. Changlin uses its 3D data in a variety ways. One of the most valuable is the creation of virtual mockups of new products. These enable on-screen assembly and interference checking, which significantly reduce design errors. Another use for the 3D data is the parts catalog. Using CAD models makes the illustrations more attractive and more accurate while significantly lowering catalog production costs.

CAD geometry is also used as the basis for digital simulation. Changlin cooperates with scientific research and development institutions to analyze and optimize key parts using FEA. The company has successfully completed more than 20 analysis projects, including stress analysis to improve the blades of its Z50 snow sweeper, stress analysis and calibration of the carriage lifting eye and large arm of its spreader, and fatigue analysis and optimization of the main beam of its Z30-3 rear carriage.

Changlin has established a tight connection between its 3D design process and its NC machining equipment. For cavity dies, curved surfaces and other shapes that are difficult to program manually, the use of NX CAM functionality has extensively improved the machining process. For example, in the past the three-axis die machining of a hydraulic torque converter required a great deal of manual work and prototyping. Now both have been essentially eliminated.With NX, there is now a seamless link from 3D design to NC machining, resulting in significantly improved quality of the finished product.

NX CAM is also becoming more widely used by the manufacturing department, reducing unnecessary labor and material waste and avoiding losses caused by human errors.

A big upside

Leveraging NX and Solid Edge, Changlin is able to guarantee quality and meet the most demanding customer schedules for increasingly complex products. Among benefits, Changlin’s sales revenue has increased by 200 percent (2001 to 2005), its product development cycle has been slashed by more than 30 percent, and the company is delivering on average 10 new products and two new patents every year. For Changlin, NX and Solid Edge have become an indispensable part of its operations and go-tomarket strategy.

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