Jerr-Dan was content with 2D CAD until people saw how easy and beneficial 3D design could be.
When Siemens decided to migrate I-deas software into NX, Jerr-Dan took the opportunity to look at other CAD systems.
Jerr-Dan Corp. makes a product you don’t want to see up close. The company is a leading manufacturer of what’s known in its industry as “towing and recovery equipment,” more familiarly known as rollbacks and wreckers.
For years, design engineers at Jerr-Dan designed this equipment using 2D CAD. They saw no need to change things until their CAD system, I-deas from Siemens, was going to merge with Siemens’ high-end design solution, NX. “We knew we didn’t need all the functionality in NX so we decided to look for another CAD system,” explains Jon Griemsmann, Manager of Documentation Control and Product Support at Jerr-Dan. The company chose Solid Edge, also from Siemens. Originally they figured they would be using the strong 2D functionality of Solid Edge to replace the previous 2D CAD system. But when they saw how easy-to-use and powerful 3D could be with Solid Edge, they went for it. “All new projects are done in 3D now,” says Griemsmann. The benefits have been impressive.
Jerr-Dan’s history dates back to 1959 when a manufacturer of farm equipment called Grove Manufacturing began developing a carrier for its products. That grew into what now goes by a variety of names: a “rollback,” “tilt-bed,” “slideback,” “flatbed,” or “carrier.” Essentially it’s a truck with a platform on the back that rolls back and tips down so that a vehicle can be pulled up onto it. In 1972, Jerr-Dan Corp. acquired the rollback and farm equipment division from Grove. Jerr-Dan’s innovative style quickly led to the development of new products and new markets, which catapulted the company into a dominant position in the vehicle transportation industry. The company’s product line now includes light-, medium- and heavy-duty carriers and wreckers, industrial transporters and four-car carriers.
When creating a new product, engineers at Jerr-Dan design their equipment to fit onto an existing truck’s chassis. Previously, when they were using I-deas, they did this work almost exclusively in 2D and the process worked well. It was only when Siemens purchased I-deas and decided to merge its functionality with NX that Jerr-Dan decided to reconsider its CAD options. Since their designers didn’t seem to need a high-end system, they decided to look at mid-range solutions, evaluating Solid Edge, SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor. They chose Solid Edge because it offered the best option for preserving the investment in the I-deas legacy data.
Solid Edge offers a bulk translation wizard that converts I-deas data to Solid Edge format automatically. Using this wizard, Jerr-Dan migrated between 30,000 and 40,000 released drawings into Solid Edge format in two to three months. Because some people were still using I-deas while this transition was in progress, all active or “in work” drawings were kept separate and translated later, when it would cause the least disruption for the users. “We migrated everyone’s active files on the weekend, so when they came in Monday morning, they opened up Solid Edge and saw the same file structure they had been working with the previous Friday,” explains Griemsmann.
Solid Edge’s Windows-based nature and intuitive user interface helped people learn it quickly. And because it is so easy to create 3D models in Solid Edge, Jerr-Dan decided that all new projects would be designed that way. (Some work is still done in 2D, such as when a customer requests a small change to a product that was done in I-deas. In those cases, they stay in 2D and change the existing drawings in Solid Edge’s drafting environment.)
Working in 3D has many benefits for Jerr-Dan. Designers create virtual assemblies of entire products in Solid Edge. These virtual mockups are helpful during design because it’s easier to see how all the components fit together. “It’s also more efficient when we go to prototyping,” says Griemsmann. “There are fewer interferences, and we use the virtual mockup to see what we’re building. It’s easier than interpreting drawings.” Jerr-Dan also uses the Solid Edge assembly models in meetings as a great way for conveying new concepts to people in marketing and sales.
Another huge advantage of working in 3D in Solid Edge involves sheet metal design. Design engineers are responsible for making the flat patterns that are used to manufacture sheet metal parts. In the past, this meant drawing the 2D patterns and calculating bend tolerances. Now they draw a part in 3D in Solid Edge’s sheet metal environment and give the software the command to flatten the part. Bend calculations are done automatically and the designers simply bring the flattened representation into a 2D drawing. “This process is 75 percent faster with Solid Edge and there’s less room for error,” says Griemsmann.
Drawing creation is much faster now as well. “Once you get the 3D model done, taking it down to 2D in Solid Edge is very easy. I’d say we create drawings 25 to 50 percent faster now that we’re working in Solid Edge,” says Griemsmann. Accuracy is also improved. “As long as the 3D model is accurate, your 2D drawing is correct,” he adds. “For example, when you create section views in 2D, you have to figure out what you would see in the section. When you automatically create section views from a 3D model, the computer knows exactly what should be in the view.” Jerr-Dan is beginning to use Solid Edge models for parts manuals, which is another area where 3D saves time. “We can take a 3D model and do exploded views for the manuals. It’s just a matter of manipulating how you want things exploded and adding some annotations,” Griemsmann explains. “This is at least 50 percent faster than the previous method of drawing isometric views for the manuals.
Jerr-Dan has been using Solid Edge for two years. In that time, they have designed two complete wreckers and a new carrier product concept in 3D, with the design-to-production time decreasing significantly with each project. In the future Jerr-Dan may use the Catia translator available with Solid Edge to do joint projects with its corporate parent, Oshkosh Truck Corporation. Jerr-Dan also looks forward to using additional Solid Edge functionality such as mechanism analysis and the rendering and animation tools. “Solid Edge has a lot more to offer that we haven’t had the chance to explore,” Griemsmann concludes.
고객의 주요 사업:
Jerr-Dan is leader in the vehicle transportation industry with a product line that includes light-, medium- and heavy-duty carriers and wreckers, industrial transporters andfour-car carriers.
"I'd say we create drawings between 25 to 50 percent faster now that we're working in Solid Edge. This process [sheet metal design] is 75 percent faster with Solid Edge and there’s less room for error."
Manager of Documentation Control and Product Support
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