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Ability to preview complex coordinate measuring machines in software, before they go into production, helps design engineers keep pace with growing global sales
Established in Bruzolo (near Turin), Italy in the early 70s, COORD3 S.p.A. is a world leader in the production of coordinate measuring machines (CMMs). The company has a long history of both designing and developing its own machines, which enables it to streamline mechanical performance as well as to support customer-specific applications.
Since 1997, COORD3 has been expanding into the Latin American market – Brazil in particular – as well as into other markets such as the United States, China, Germany, France and Turkey. Since the late 1990s, COORD3 has doubled its export revenues and its installed base is rapidly approaching 1,500 machines. In the period from 1997 to 2000, the number of employees increased by 40 and the company’s production space grew from 15,600 to 32,300 square feet.
“We have gone through all phases of design tools available on the market, from wooden drafting protractors to 2D CAD and now 3D CAD,” says Floriano Radoni, design engineering manager at COORD3. The company’s previous CAD system was 2D AutoCAD and design engineers were quite comfortable working in 2D. “Considering the huge number of parts that are needed for each of our machines, the idea of ‘thinking’ and designing in 3D seemed totally out of our reach,” Radoni explains. However, the advantages of 3D design, especially for complex machinery, led to a careful comparative study of the available options – a study that culminated in the selection of Solid Edge® software.
“Our evaluation included SolidWorks, which is a functionally similar product,” says Radoni. “But the overall package performed less well, especially if we consider the accurate and attentive support we received from the Solid Edge reseller we contacted for this study. Once we found out that Solid Edge was the best on the market, including having the best price/quality ratio, we made the decision to go with it,” he adds.
Solid Edge made the company’s move to 3D, which took place in 2000, much easier than anticipated. “The purchase and implementation of the first set of Solid Edge licenses confirmed what we had learned – the product is extremely intuitive and userfriendly,” says Radoni.
COORD3 has experienced other advantages with Solid Edge as well. One of the most important is that now when designers work on a CMM they can include functional intent from the very beginning of the design process. Also, they can precisely assess features such as structural mass. Ultimately capabilities such as these mean more control. “We now have better control over the design of particularly complex machines such as ours,” says Radoni. “Indeed, this is the main benefit offered by 3D CAD.”
Because Solid Edge has been developed for use with large assembly models such as COORD3’s CMMs, it includes tools that permit fast navigation through these models. An example is its PathFinder capability, which Radoni views as another factor that separates Solid Edge from the competition. PathFinder allows users to quickly find and select parts and subassemblies. In addition, COORD3 design engineers use this feature to keep track of all the parts needing changes. “You can make changes to individual parts and then have all associated documents automatically updated accordingly,” Radoni says. “In this way, the documentation is always up to date, ensuring full sync between design engineering and production.”
Now that COORD3 designs new machines in Solid Edge, design engineers can immediately check what they have done. That includes seeing a preview of the entire finished product even before it goes into production. “Today, going back to 2D would really be unthinkable as the productivity of our designers has skyrocketed since they started using Solid Edge,” Radoni notes. “At COORD3, designers now think and design directly in 3D thanks to Solid Edge.”
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COORD3 S.p.A. is a world leader in the production of coordinate measuring machines (CMMs).
"Once we found out that Solid Edge was the best on the market, including having the best price/quality ratio, we made the decision to go with it. 3D CAD allows designers not only to design mechanical parts but also to build in functional intent from the very beginning."
Design Engineering Manager
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