Aerospace & Defense
Innovation and collaborative, synchronized program management for new programs
Sparkonix India Private Limited is a leading manufacturer and exporter of EDM machines and metal arc disintegrators.
Sparkonix India was established in 1968. Its primary business is manufacturing electrical discharge machining (EDM) machines (also known as spark erosion machines). The company offers different models to suit various customer needs. It also makes CNC wire cutting machines and metal arc disintegrators, which are used for removing broken taps and drills. Sparkonix technology finds wide application across many industries. Customers include TATA Motors Ltd., SAIL, Lucas, Varroc Engineering and VIP Industries, among others. The company also exports its machines to nearly 20 foreign countries.
Sparkonix’s machines typically include hundreds of parts, varying from fabricated and machined parts to castings, sheet metal, electronics and electrical items mounted directly on mechanical assemblies. Until recently, the company’s design process was based on 2D drawings created in the traditional CAD software. Drawings for new machines were prepared by measuring existing parts and then modifying them to suit the customer’s needs.
This process had many limitations, such as the difficulty of knowing how parts and assemblies would behave during the machine’s sliding movements.“With our type of machinery, part behavior within the assembly is very important, but it isn’t possible to determine that behavior with 2D,” says Anand Atole, senior executive designer at Sparkonix. It was also difficult to know from drawings how the machine would look after it was assembled, or whether it could be assembled easily. Any sort of rework was tedious, BOM preparation was time-consuming and it was easy to make a mistake regarding quantities.
“Another problem was that we always suspected we might be using extra material, which adds to the manufacturing costs,” adds Atole.“But with 2D there was no way to really know. To resolve all these kinds of issues, we were looking forward to upgrading to 3D software.”
Sparkonix chose the Solid Edge® solid modeling solution from Siemens PLM Software after the local VAR, Gnosis, demonstrated the software’s capabilities. Gnosis also provided training that was tailored to Sparkonix’s specific needs. Initially, Sparkonix decided to convert the traditional CAD software drawing to Solid Edge format using Solid Edge’s conversion functionality. But because not all of the drawings were accurate, the company decided instead to recreate the part models in Solid Edge, working from existing drawings, and to completely model and virtually assemble one basic machine.
“It was great to look at the 3D model of the machine,” says Atole of that first project.“We could easily see any side of it using quick shortcut keys. And preparing the layout for the machine was the simple matter of drafting the top view and hiding the hidden lines. That gave us a clean view of the assembly – something we never had previously.Our marketing people are now able to show the customer what the machine would look like before actually manufacturing it and get approval for the same.”
With Solid Edge as its CAD system, Sparkonix has achieved a 30 percent reduction in design time. In addition to providing better visualization of the machines (which allows for collision detection), Solid Edge streamlines the design process in a number of ways. It is much easier, for example, to incorporate design changes into the 3D model compared to working with drawings. Also, changes to the model automatically update existing drawings. Preparing the BOM is also easy.“We just select the view and ‘boom,’ the BOM is ready,” says Atole.
Sparkonix has also reduced development costs by implementing Solid Edge. The 40 percent cost saving is attributed, in part, to lower costs for castings, which results from using Solid Edge to calculate the weight of parts while they are in the design stage.Other sources of savings include fewer interferences during manufacturing, lower prototyping costs and more efficient work by the designers.
These excellent results have led Sparkonix to consider implementing more seats of Solid Edge as well as additional solutions from Siemens PLM Software.“We are a fast growing organization, and our rapid growth has brought about a need for data management software,” says Atole.“We have also started our own machining division.We are looking forward to using the Teamcenter® PLM solution as well as the NX™ CAM system from Siemens as all of our data is now standardized on Solid Edge.”