Solid Edge in the Automotive and Automotive Aftermarket Industries

Recently, we examined how the tools and capabilities of NX CAD could be applied effectively—and are having an effect—on the automotive market. But NX 12 isn’t the only 3D CAD product making waves in the auto industry. 

Designers and manufacturers face several different challenges in a highly competitive industry: they must work faster, produce accurate models and assemblies, respond to design changes and requests quickly, and stay on time and budget. 

That’s a lot of demands that need to be met.  

Now, consider the difficulty of staying on top of those challenges while dealing with some of the trends of the automotive aftermarket: 

  • An increase in the number of miles driven per car 
  • An increase in the length of time people are keeping their cars 
  • An increase in demand for reliable parts so that owners can drive their cars and can keep their cars longer 

The good news is that there’s a simple solution to this complicated problem: Solid Edge.  

In a chaotic, fast-paced and ever-changing environment, Solid Edge provides companies in the automotive and automotive aftermarket industries with a leg up on the competition. Not only does the system have powerful design and simulation tools, but it offers reliability and simplicity of use that can’t be matched. 

Decrease Design Time by 30%

One vehicle seat manufacturer made the move from a 2D design system to Solid Edge and saw a jump in productivity, all while slashing prototyping times and setting up for advanced manufacturing with the use of 3D data. 

Solid Edge allowed it to view complex seat assemblies (up to 200 parts) from multiple angles. After making the switch, the company achieved a 30 percent savings in design time, compared to working with just drawings. All prototypes are now developed from 3D models, with some needing 70 percent less time to develop.  

Switching to a new software can always be scary, but with Solid Edge, there isn’t a steep learning curve. It’s powerful, while still being intuitive.  

Here’s an assembly of a wheel axle with brakes, designed in Solid Edge.

Improve Assembly Line Design

While not directly involved in the automotive aftermarket, one major motor company uses Solid Edge for designing car body assembly lines. Engineers use the 3D software to model work cells, assembly lines and plant layouts. 

Since integrating the software, the company has continued to incorporate new Solid Edge functionality, like large assembly modeling and interference checking.  

“By using Solid Edge to implement 3D CAD with design management, we have been able to effectively reduce design time and costs,” says one assistant manager of their automation design team. “In addition to solid modeling, we use analysis and simulation to optimize each production stage.” 

Integrate with Teamcenter

One automotive supplier that specializes in ball joints and other steering and suspension system parts found itself using two different CAD systems, plus two PDM systems. That led to quite a bit of rework and duplication. 

They used one CAD system for original equipment manufacturing (OEM) product development, while using another for aftermarket product design and simulation. To simplify, the company made the switch to Solid Edge for the hybrid 2D/3D CAD system. Plus, they had access to Femap software for simulations.  

The switch to Solid Edge also improved the PDM problem, too. With each integration to Teamcenter, the company now had a single source for data. 

“[Teamcenter’s] multi-CAD capabilities represent a unified archive,” says their engineering manager. “You can open each unique item in both modeling systems, without any translation.” 

Solid Edge has tools like Femap to run stress simulations on parts.

Increase Productivity; Master with Ease

Because of the demands of the automotive industry, a major advantage of Solid Edge is its ease-of-use, allowing for a more productive worker.  

A brake manufacturer switched to Solid Edge for its 3D CAD advantages, as well as the sheet metal and wire harness capabilities. But its ease-of-use and reliability have become important to the company. They allow interns to spend two days on the integrated tutorial, and by that time they’re ready to complete simple design tasks on their own. 

“I’m excited about the user-friendliness and reliability of Solid Edge,” says a long-time development engineer. “When I come to the office on Monday morning, I can be absolutely certain that everything is running smoothly.” 

As a powerful 3D CAD tool with a portfolio of solutions and a library of learning material, Solid Edge provides advantages to both the automotive and automotive aftermarket industries. Its ease-of-use and reliability make picking up and learning the system a breeze, letting you make use of a full range of tools faster.  

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