Innovation and collaborative, synchronized program management for new programs
Cabycal was founded with the aim to design and market custom solutions in the form of machinery for the surface treatment sector. Today, the company offers innovative global solutions for the painting and coating of surfaces in a wide variety of materials.
Cabycal is an engineering company based in Alaquás, Valencia, Spain, which designs, develops and manufactures facilities for the treatment and painting of surfaces and parts for the industrial sector, primarily for customers in the aluminum, aeronautics and automotive auxiliary sectors.
Founded in 1985, the company has extensive global experience in projects for applying paint and developing cuttingedge automated painting lines that differ according to application, such as e-coat, liquid paint and powder coating.
In 2015, the company finished significant projects in the United States and Poland, which accelerated its transition from 2D computer-aided design (CAD) software to Siemens Digital Industries Software’s 3D design system.
The dimensions for a component project for the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States presented a difficult challenge for CabyCal’s 2D design system. It involved designing, developing and manufacturing the e-coat line to paint the chassis and other structural parts of the new sport utility vehicle (SUV) the plant would be producing.
The Cabycal facility would have a pretreatment and e-coat system with 17 zones and an automated handling system designed to cover a wide range of metal parts and critical areas of the steel components of vehicles.
The facility would be 65 meters long, 13.7 meters wide and 10.5 meters high with over 180,000 pieces to be assembled. It was representative of the type of facilities that Cabycal assembles.
“When we assemble an installation of over 180,000 pieces thousands of kilometers from our plant, and with the customer very attentive to the development of everything, having confidence in the designs is essential,” says Javier Patiño, the engineer responsible for the design team at Cabycal who was also in charge of the Siemens Digital Industries Software’s NX™ software implementation project.
“The 2D design forced us to adjust the installations on site during the assembly because it was impossible to adjust all the pieces in the design,” says Patiño. “This entailed errors and, therefore, higher costs. With the 3D software, there is no interpretation and there is no need to adjust the assembly. Everything has been perfectly measured already. It provides a sense of security for my department.”
After a rigorous evaluation of several 3D design tools, they decided to go with NX and throughout 2016 six engineers in the technical office where the facilities are designed put the software to work.
“We discarded several tools because they couldn’t cope with the complexity of our assemblies,” says Patiño.
The commissioning of Siemens Digital Industries Software’s 3D software allowed the engineering team to complete the Chattanooga facility, so it was ready to go online on time.
Implementing and commissioning the software was carried out by a local Siemens Digital Industries Software certified partner, Navarro and Soler.
The change from 2D to 3D was gradual, so the systems coexisted for a long period of time. By February 2017, the engineering team was designing all the painting and surface treatment lines with NX.
Since the installation of the software, says Patiño, “There has been no room for interpretation and assembly errors are practically nonexistent. My department is absolutely confident that the design is fully adjusted.”
The assembly processes have been greatly streamlined, which has an impact on time and therefore money. “Everything is simpler now,” says Patiño. “It is much easier to visualize the facilities. For example, to see where the pipes go through, you can move inside the installation. Now whenever there is a problem, I am sure something wasn’t done correctly in assembly. And this is worth a lot.”
Due to implementing 3D software, Cabycal can re-use designs, which was previously extremely complicated.
“The agility of the NX software documentation allows us to standardize both small and large pieces,” says Patiño. “We have total traceability into what we design.
“We have standardized complete machines, which allows us to adapt it to each of the customers with very different modifications. With our previous CAD software, modifying parts for re-use was problematic. Each modification had to be adapted manually. With NX, we make the modifications with the requirements of the new client, and the software automatically recalculates everything. If you perform a modification to one of the views, everything else gets updated. We can reutilize the parts by easily creating a re-use library. That creates major savings. We can spend more time designing new parts, which is where our value is centered.”
Patiño says since the software was implemented, the engineering team has been able to spend 25 percent more time on new product development (NPD), such as research and development (R&D).
“This has a direct impact on the company’s strategy since we can now launch more products to the market,” says Emilio Ferrando, the general director of Cabycal. “Our engineers have more time to research and test new lines, and, for example, to dedicate more time to the environmental improvement of our products, which is one of the strategic approaches that we have set. This lets us know what kind of impact this type of software has on our business.”
Another aspect that Patiño highlights is reducing the time it takes to generate the lists of fasteners, manufacturing and bill-of-materials (BOM). “Imagine the number of fasteners that one of our facilities has,” he says, “The time we do not spend making these listings is dedicated to fine-tuning the design and polishing it as much as possible, so everything is perfectly adjusted when assembled.”
A matter of vital importance when handling such complex facilities is documentation. “We have reduced the amount of paper we printed with the drawings that the assemblers took to the site by 90 percent,” says Patiño. “Now all they need is their laptop. We export the 3D to the JT data format in the NX viewer, and with a small representative blueprint they are able to mount the installation.”
All the maintenance documentation that is delivered to the customer is also important. Now they deliver digital documentation with information on maintenance piece-bypiece, whereas previously they had to deliver a large part of that documentation on paper. “The improvements in the instruction manuals we offer to clients are evident,” says Patiño.
“Something that we have improved notably with the 3D and that also impacts on the commercial strategy is the human machine interface (HMI) of the client. Now we move the 3D design to the touch screens, which greatly improves the usability of the facilities.
“It impacts the commercial strategy because those improved touch screens allow people managing the facilities to require less specialization,” says Ferrando. “The fact that HMIs are so visual allows us
to sell the facilities to more companies without such specialized personnel. Today there are no buttons to operate the machines as there are touch screens.”
Given the large volume of orders, Patiño usually subcontracts certain parts of the facilities: “The communication with the provider has improved substantially with 3D. We now export to any format and we pass it to the supplier, for example, in DXF files for laser cutting machines or in standard 3D files that we could not pass before. And again, with 3D there is no room for interpretation.”
The commissioning of NX has also had important effects on the commercial side. “In sales meetings conducted abroad, when you present the model to the CEO, and he says, ’I now understand it,’ the sale is much easier,” says Ferrando. “The installation we are proposing is easier to understand.”
The presentation of offers has also been streamlined and projects previously carried out can be used. Likewise, once the design has been started, the client can be shown the different design milestones in a more agile manner.
With NX, the engineering department can simulate the movement of the parts throughout the installation. In the future they want to improve the simulation of the behavior of the lines working with other software products such as Tecnomatix® portfolio, a Siemens Digital Industries Software product, which can be integrated with NX.
Another idea they have is to use a fluid simulator to calculate the behavior of air or water in the tanks they install to conduct thermodynamic calculations and generate flows to see how the air or water behaves after it leaves the jets.
Ferrando is passionate about his business and with decades of experience in this type of installation, he says before having this type of software, “We did things ourselves, but everything was slower, much more labor intensive. The assemblers carried immense piles of documents and it was difficult to serve new customers thousands of kilometers away or research new products.
“With NX, Cabycal can tackle large-scale installations anywhere in the world. We are competitive in any country and our engineers spend more time creating new products. The software also allows us to comply with the strategy set by the company’s management to simplify the assembly as well as the use and maintenance of the facilities.“
With NX 3D software, the company sees a great opportunity in the automotive hybrid and electric vehicle sector. Cabycal must continually study new products or modifications for the treatment of new materials that are incorporated in these vehicles, which are lighter and more advanced.
Ferrando also says the software helps them improve the environmental improvement of the products: “At Cabycal, we focus on maximum energy savings and care of the environment. We are working on how to minimize that impact. It is really important to us that our engineers have more time to spend on this matter.”