Using Solid Works® for Sheet Metal Fabrication

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There are many computer-aided design (CAD) software applications available today to designers and engineers.  Solid Works® is CAD software that can be utilized in mechanical engineering, aerospace and defense, consumer products, the building and architectural fields, in a myriad of engineering fields, the medical field, energy, electronics, industrial design for manufacturing and various other applications.  It offers the ability to design in three dimensions instead of two.  It is a para solid-based systemwhere solid objects are used as representations in the software and are manipulated using parametric feature-based solid modeling.  The para solid geometric modeling kernel is used by Solid Works®, which is what allows modeling to be used.  A design will start in two dimensions such as a photo or a drawing and will be developed into a three dimensional solid.  Special tools are available in Solid Works® for the design of sheet metal.  There is also a library of components that have already been designed that a user can start with so they do not have to start their design from scratch..  An animation effect for producing animated assembly instructions is available in Solid Works®.  Data management software is also available to track product versions and releases efficiently.

Sheet Metal Design Tools

Smart Fasteners Technology is a tool specific for sheet metal design.  Solid Works® also allows users to work with weights and materials regarding their designs so that they can reduce costs.  Design structural analysis can be accomplished by using the Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software.  Manufacturing testing in the software environment is possible by using the DFMX press tool to look for design flaws.  Using this tool also allows money to be saved in the event that a flaw is found before it went to production.  Imagine if a design went to be manufactured and the costs incurred if the product had to be pulled and was unsaleable.  There is also the ability to import data from customers so that modeling can be done according to customer specifications more efficiently.  After all of the design is complete for the sheet metal design, Solid Works® gives users the ability through 3DVIA Composer to produce technically accurate manuals as well as user manuals so that users know how to use the product.  Finally, a design checker will ensure that the final design complies with the specifications of a client or the company using Solid Works®.

Training to use Solid Works®

One can earn a certification through the Solid Works® company by taking the Certified Solid Works® Professional Sheet Metal exam and earning at least a 75%.  Solid Works® recommends first taking the course Solid Works® Essentials and Sheet Metal and then taking the exam.  The student can be asked questions on the exam the mass of a certain part or the elongation of a bent metal part with a given K-Factor.

Example of Solid Works® Implementations

Maloya is a company that specializes in the manufacturing of metal.  Maloya produces metal for many fields such as process machinery, scientific, architectural, and many more.  They have employed Solid Works® for reverse engineered products that were already manufactured as well as for programming to print and for digitizing as well as scanning for flat patterns. Through using IT resources and Solid Works® parametric modeling, they can work with virtual clients as well.  Maloya uses a CO2 laser for cutting and works with a plethora of metals.
3D modeling software such as CAD software is a popular tool used to design for the manufacturing industry.  There are many options, with Solid Works® being at the forefront of a myriad of software tools for the designer and engineer.

Reto Hug is the President of Maloya Laser which specializes in <A href=”http://www.maloyalaser.com”>laser cutting technologies</a> and complex metal manufacturing using <A href=”http://www.maloyalaser.com/index.php”>highly specialized laser systems</a> targeting aerospace, medical, machinery, scientific and transportation requirements.

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