CAD: 3D Design Greatly Reduces Production Times

CAD: 3D Design Greatly Reduces Production Times

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By implementing a suite of Autodesk solutions, Wipaire has moved from 2D to 3D, reducing its typical production time on large projects by 47 percent.

Illustration Image: Wipaire
Illustration Image: Wipaire

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Wipaire, now the world’s largest manufacturer of aircraft floats, started small. But increased demand for its products led to explosive growth—making it necessary for Wipaire to move from 2D to 3D design. The company also needed a data management solution that could help it meet customer demand and outpace the competition. For years, Wipaire’s designers had simply stored design files in network folders, which could lead to colleagues opening the wrong files and working from outdated data. To speed production time and better manage its design data, Wipaire implemented Autodesk® software—with the assistance of Mastergraphics, a Premier Solution Provider.

Autodesk Vault offered Wipaire a simple implementation process that doesn’t require IT assistance, and helps provide that all teams work from current design versions. “Autodesk Vault is exactly what we needed,” says Charles Wiplinger, Chief Engineer, Wipaire. “It has been phenomenal in helping us with design organization, security, and accuracy. And now, with Productstream, we will be able to extend our use of design data even further, for a more accurate paperless process all the way through a product lifecycle.”

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By implementing its suite of Autodesk solutions to leverage the advantages of designing in 3D, Wipaire has reduced its typical production time on large projects from 1,700 hours to 900 hours. In addition, by using Autodesk Inventor to design and refine its tooling and automate manufacturing, the company has cut an additional 200 hours off its production times.

Another benefit is that the 3D design capabilities of Autodesk Inventor have made Wipaire’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval process much easier. The company’s floats are now certified once, and then the attachment bracket can be certified for each model of airplane. Switching to 3D design has also made it easier to create instruction manuals and reduce the waste and cost of materials. And as Wipaire works with a wide variety of airplane manufacturers, Autodesk Inventor has facilitated extensive reuse of data through DWG and IGE files.

Altogether, these benefits have convinced Wipaire that 3D design—enabled by Autodesk—is key to developing innovative products more efficiently. Meanwhile, the cuts in production time alone are helping Wipaire achieve its goal of staying ahead of the competition.