“Autodesk Inventor was the first CAD product about which I could truly say: “Yes, we’ve got to have it,” says Simon Rees, technical manager at Huntleigh AKRON a division of Huntleigh Technology. The company is a leader in the research, development and manufacture of high quality healthcare products such as couches, plinths and tables for use in patient positioning, physiotherapy, treatment, manipulation and sports medicine applications throughout the world.
Rees recalls that before Inventor, there was a significant amount of what he describes as “double handling” of designs. “What we really wanted to do was to design the product only once and produce drawings, assembles and parts lists without redrawing anything,” he explains. The company first worked in Autodesk Mechanical Desktop, but Rees admits he was still looking for his ideal product – a parametric tool which would allow it to create 2D assemblies, animate them and check for angles, movements, and then once satisfied move on and create a 3D model. Inventor proved to be that product – “we would have bought it for that capability alone,” says Rees.
However, the team has found even more reasons to be pleased with their choice of software. For example, previously, an engineer would have to build a physical prototype mechanism, modifying it as necessary to ensure it functioned as required. Now this takes only a few hours using Inventor.
Also, previously data was confined to the drawing office. Now it is shared across the business, understood and used by everyone including sales, manufacturing, assembly and even Huntleigh Akron’s worldwide network of resellers.
This was demonstrated at a product presentation during the company’s recent dealer seminar in Hong Kong. A 2D image of a new castor assembly was projected in front of the audience as a flat representation, just as it would appear in a spare parts catalogue.
It was then converted to a complete 3D visualisation and Inventor’s animation capability was used to illustrate the dismantling and re-assembly process. “The audience reaction was tremendous,” relates Rees. “Now our export director too is a real fan of Inventor and is going to put it onto his laptop for a forthcoming world tour.”
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