U.K. company helps transform hand-crafted chassis manufacturing process into fast, accurate, automated CNC process
Caged Ltd. is using SolidWorks(R) 3D CAD and COSMOSWorks(R) design analysis software to transform a decades-old hand-crafted automobile chassis manufacturing process into one that is faster, more efficient, and more accurate. The company has cut weeks out of development and made the chassis lighter and straighter for the legendary Caterham cars, which have the performance and distinctive elegance to match their discriminating customer base.
Founded in 2002 in Westbury, U.K., Caged specializes in designing durable roll cages for motor sports vehicles. The company had been supplying specially built roll cages to Caterham Cars Ltd. when the car maker decided to reconfigure its Caterham 7 chassis and the inexact, labor-intensive process for making them. Caged used SolidWorks to streamline the chassis design and COSMOSWorks to test load strength and other tolerances. Both SolidWorks and COSMOSWorks are the starting point for an automated design-to-manufacture process that has cut months out of chassis development. This new process lets engineers design and build a universal chassis that could support four different engines in 10 days.
"We couldn't have finished that first project in AutoCAD(R) software. It doesn't have the ability to do that work," said Phil Squance, engineering director at Caged. "SolidWorks as a product family is great because it lets you design something, tweak it, and analyze it in COSMOS(R) to test it - all in one package. SolidWorks and COSMOSWorks have more than doubled our productivity, while enabling us to design better chassis."
Building a car that weighs less than 1,000 pounds and is capable of going 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds requires that the chassis be strong and light. Caterham engineers, who had never used CAD software, were initially skeptical that any chassis designed on the computer could deliver the performance demanded by discriminating drivers. Squance and his team moved a couple of the tubes in the chassis to improve its stiffness and alignment, and then used COSMOSWorks to arithmetically prove to Caterham engineers that the newly designed chassis was stronger. "SolidWorks and COSMOSWorks dramatically reduce the risk of human error from the hand-crafted process. Now, when we design something, cut it, and put it together, it fits," said Squance.
To streamline design-to-manufacture, Caged engineers simply import SolidWorks models directly into the software that runs the company's laser machine that cuts the tubes for the chassis. This computer numerical control (CNC) process lets Caged quickly and accurately produce chassis tube frames that meet exact engineering specifications. Each frame is sturdy and perfectly straight.
"Caged has carved a niche in a very competitive industry," said Michel Gros, SolidWorks executive vice president, Europe. "Adopting SolidWorks and COSMOSWorks has enabled it to save time and money, design better chassis, and help usher a sports car company with rich traditions in hand-wrought steel into the 21st century."
Caged relies on authorized SolidWorks reseller Cadtek Systems for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.
Founded in 2002 in Westbury, U.K., Caged is a leading manufacturer of custom roll cages and lightweight, durable chassis for the motorsports industry. Its engineers have more than 40 years of experience developing rugged rollover protection for customers such as Caterham Cars, The Invicta Car Company, and the U.K. Ministry of Defense. For more information, visit the Web site (www.therollcagepeople.com).
About Cadtek Systems Limited
Cadtek Systems is one of the U.K.'s leading engineering software solutions providers helping businesses improve how they design their products, share their ideas, and manage their data. A customer base of over 800 companies includes organisations that have worked with Cadtek for more than 17 years - a testament to real engineering partnership and expertise. These successful and longstanding relationships are under-pinned by one of Cadtek's core commitments - the provision of world class training and support for SolidWorks' products. Cadtek offers tiered SolidWorks support packages designed to cater for all sizes of company, and comprehensive SolidWorks training solutions including an online learning option. Cadtek hold sales, training, and support certifications from organizations including SolidWorks, Microsoft, SmarTeam, and Hewlett-Packard. More information about Cadtek Systems Limited can be found at http://www.cadtek.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
About SolidWorks Corporation
SolidWorks Corporation, a Dassault Systemes S.A. (Nasdaq: DASTY, Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA) company, develops and markets software for design, analysis, and product data management. It is the leading supplier of 3D CAD technology, providing intuitive, high-performing software that helps product design teams develop great products. For the latest news, information, or an online demonstration, visit the company's Web site (www.solidworks.com) or call 1-800-693-9000 (outside of North America, call +1-978-371-5000).
SolidWorks is a registered trademark of SolidWorks Corporation. COSMOS and COSMOSWorks are registered trademarks of Structural Research & Analysis Corporation. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright (c) 2006 SolidWorks Corporation.