Increased design office capacity at industrial fan manufacturer, Donkin Fans,
enables designers to create models and working drawings of custom-size fans for same-day submission to the company's production department.
Donkin Fans specialises in the design, manufacture and supply of heavy-duty process and light duty ventilation fans to the mining industry.
Until recently, limited engineering capacity at the company's factory at Struandale, outside Port Elizabeth, was hampering growth.
"We are a small engineering department, comprising engineers, draftsmen and management," says design engineer, Maynard Gesha.
Donkin Fans manufactures several different ranges of standard products. Its axial fan is produced in 12 different sizes, ranging from 315 mm to 2250 mm in diameter. Creation of working drawings for an entire range was extremely time consuming.
"It was very repetitive work," says Gesha.
After creating the original model, producing working drawings for each size could take a week. So a range comprising 12 different size fans, could take a draftsman three months to complete. And if revisions were required, checking that they had been made to every single set of drawings was a logistical nightmare.
"There was a bottleneck in the design office. Orders were backing up because of the slow turnaround time," says Gesha.
Today, with the parametric and associative technology of Autodesk Inventor, it takes half an hour to create a model and working drawings of a custom-size standard fan, guaranteeing same day submission of drawings to the company's production department.
"We simply put the new dimensions into an Excel spreadsheet linked to the original model, and the size of all the components and their interrelationship with one another alter automatically.
"If we receive an order in the morning, it can be with production department that afternoon.
"Turnaround time in terms of delivering drawings to the production team has increased significantly. Designs are no longer a stumbling block, but rather the lifeline of the company."
The Autodesk Upgrade Subscription Program ensures that the company's design office has immediate access to new features in Autodesk Inventor as soon as new versions become available. One of these features, which Gesha has used extensively, is the Engineer's Handbook, which includes engineering theory, formulae and algorithms. The comprehensive online reference and manufacturing knowledge base, which reduces time spent on research, is easily accessible from anywhere in Autodesk Inventor.
"You do not have to spend time checking through standards and doing equations. All the information you need is accessible through Autodesk Inventor," says Gesha.
"I can specify the impeller shaft diameter and the mass of the impeller and Autodesk Inventor calculates the size of the bearing required for a specific assembly. It calculates the properties of the beam required for the fan base and when it comes to welding, there is a section where I can specify the size of the weld, the sections to be put together and whether it is a cyclic or static loading. Autodesk Inventor does all the relevant calculations."
Donkin Fans' production department has also benefited from the introduction of the program - instead of simply providing 2D working drawings of jobs, the design office now provides detailed documentation, including isometric drawings and models from several different angles.
This visual imagery has helped to boost production. Detailed assembly guidelines reduce errors, streamlining and accelerating production time.
For more information contact Charmaine Nhlapo, Autodesk, 011 805 1555, www.autodesk.com