As I write this, the final touches are being put to the March edition of DEVELOP3D. The layouts are being tweaked, “it’s” is being changed to “its” and vice versa and it’s looking sweet. What have we got in store for you this month? The answer is a veritable feast.
This month’s cover story centres on Brompton Bicycles, a UK manufacturer with a global market for its legendary folding bicycle. While the story has been expertly crafted by our very own France Corbett, I went along (if you’ll forgive the horrific pun) for the ride. When you’re looking to write a story there are a few things you don’t want to happen. One of them is to walk into a meeting room and the man in charge of design wanders in, somewhat nervously and states “We don’t use much technology.”
But what transpired over the next hour or so is that the Brompton Team not only use 3D CAD (In this case SolidWorks, but they use it in a very holistic manner. Key components of the bike are redesigned to change process, to add strength or new functionality and these are done in SolidWorks. Renderings are done, FEA is conducted, FDM parts are built to verify fit ann function, SLA parts are used for casting prototypes. Jigs and Fixtures are designed in 3D and the same product data is used to generate illustrations for the user and service manuals. For a company that does not use much technology, they certainly know how to ‘not’ use it. Marvellous.
Elsewhere Stephen takes a look at what’s happening on the factory floor with this month’s Product Development Gallery and also visit J Lawson Limited, an expert model maker working on some rather interesting and often highly secretive projects who luckily allowed Stephen into his workshop to show off what he does.
Bob Johnson of DAMT and well known figure on the NAFEMS seminar circuit continues his Engineering Workshop series, continuing on from last month’s peice on unit conversion, with a look at forces, moments and free body diagrams. Personally I love what Bob is doing for us, there’s a wealth of simulation tools out there but many are hesitant to jump on the bandwagon and give it a whirl because they can’t quite correlate the basic fundamentals of engineering and physics with the sometimes cryptic world of simulation. Bob’s here to help.
We’ve also got a few reviews in this issue too. There’s a look at Flownex from Athena-Horizons in the UK which provides a systems level simulation approach for all manner of industries, but one which focusses pretty much on the power generation industry. I get to conclude my three parter looking at Vero Software‘s VISI Series product (VISI for Design and VISI for Manufacture), rounding things out with a look at VISI Flow Finally, there’s a look at Sustainable MInds LCA software which gives you the tools and technology to both discover the environmental impact of your products and redesigns, but can also assist with bringing a greener future for your products when used from the very earliest stage of the development process.
DEVELOP3D for download (either as a PDF or via the iPhone app) and should be mailed out to print subscribers across the globe next week.