Typically each contract means a new and often complex product needs to be custom designed, complete with detailed manufacturing data and drawings. The complexities of a power generator project for an oil platform are huge. As well as meeting the customer specifications, it must also meet a wide range of standards, such as ISO, engineering and manufacturing rules. The designers also have to consider specific rules relating to oxidation if the power generator will be based at sea.
Even with SOLIDWORKS, some customized WEG Energia projects took longer than desired to complete. Moreover, these projects were liable to non-conformities and often did not include updates requested by manufacturing or the engineering department.
WEG and Design Automation
“We were looking for a way to automate our projects. Our first experiences were with algorithms and automated routines using the SOLIDWORKS API. We did achieve some good results but it still used to take a long time and involved many people from other areas such as IT. We thought about developing our own product configurator but our local SOLIDWORKS reseller introduced us to DriveWorks. Developed for designers it is easy to set up and doesn’t require any specific programming knowledge,” says Roberto Vieira, WEG Energia designer.
“With DriveWorks we can create all drawings and manufacturing data within one day. Using SOLIDWORKS alone this process used to take three to four days. Now the designer analyses and verifies rather than doing the modelling,” says Carlos Jose Bastos Grillo, Engineering Manager. With DriveWorks, calculations, databases, engineering procedures and standards are set up by key-users, allowing designers to reuse this captured knowledge every time they need to specify a new custom product.
Designers using DriveWorks can enter values into an interface that is easy to use and understand, and incorporate product improvements from across different departments. They are applied only once to the master product, ensuring that all future products respect the best existing practices.
Return on Investment
WEG Energia achieved a Return on Investment in just six months on the generator carcass product, the first to be automated. Savings came from reducing rework, errors and development time. Currently 59 designers are DriveWorks users and around 14 automated products are available. Each product can generate several different variations of the same product family.
DriveWorks is a very useful tool which facilitates the application of established criteria to our projects, the continuous improvement of our products and the maintenance of details. New designers without much experience are able to create new products with ease and quality, meeting the most rigorous standards and rules of WEG.