Blackman and White design and manufacture knife and laser cutting solutions used for cutting a range of materials from textiles to Kevlar. Their customers include sail makers, gasket manufacturers, and aerospace companies. Based in Maldon, Essex, they brought in SOLIDWORKS back in 2006 after upgrading from 2D CAD. In 2010, current Senior CAD Designer James White joined the company. Previously an IT administrator, James had no engineering or CAD experience and had this to say:
“With Innova Systems’ support and training, I was able to get up and running very quickly. The trainer, Adam Rose, was fantastic and SOLIDWORKS proved very easy to use.”
A lot of Blackman and White’s work is made up of bespoke variations on their standard products. Every customer’s requirements are different. In 2D, bespoke work like this would mean redraughting existing work, only to change a few dimensions to alter the bed size. Altering existing designs in SOLIDWORKS is infinitely easier – change one dimension and everything updates automatically. Rework that would have usually taken weeks in 2D takes less than a day in SOLIDWORKS.
Once Blackman and White familiarised themselves with SOLIDWORKS, they investigated the configurations capabilities of the software and created a number of standard variations. James White says: “Innova’s help in automating our design process has increased our capacity hugely.” Implementing SOLIDWORKS has given Blackman and White the capacity to take on more work and increase revenue. The company now employs 20 people: three of which are designing in SOLIDWORKS.
Shortly after implementing SOLIDWORKS, Blackman and White took an order for a machine with a bed size of 260 metres from an aerospace manufacturer in the USA. Previously, their bed sizes rarely exceeded 25 metres. “Not only has SOLIDWORKS increased our production capacity, it has allowed us to design larger machines: the size of which far exceed our previous capabilities.”, Said James White.
Blackman and White recently took on an order for five new machines. Before, these would have taken a month each to design; in SOLIDWORKS, it took just a week in total.
Something that more and more of our customers are doing in SOLIDWORKS is layout planning. Blackman and White’s machines are very large and often have to be assembled on site. By modelling the factory space in SOLIDWORKS, with all existing internal features, they are able to insert the large assembly into the factory environment and find the best position of the machine using collision detection in SOLIDWORKS. Blackman and White now go into customers’ premises knowing exactly how to overcome the challenges of limited space.
Reuse of standard parts has eliminated the need to redesign common parts used in all of their designs. “Before implementing SOLIDWORKS, we found ourselves redrawing the same part over and over again. Now, we just drag a standard part into our assemblies. This has vastly sped up our design times.” Monotonous redesigning like this becomes history in SOLIDWORKS. “We haven’t looked back.”
Because every machine is different, the fixings used to assemble vacuum tables to the machines have to be placed in different locations. “In 2D, it was mostly guesswork and involved a lot of alteration and rework upon assembly. In SOLIDWORKS we can determine exactly where to place fixings, reducing rework and waste.”
“SOLIDWORKS has completely changed the way we work and has vastly increased our production capacity. Innova Systems has been fundamental in our success with SOLIDWORKS. Their training and support is second to none and their commitment to helping us get the most from our investment has been fantastic.”’
To find out more about, Blackman and White, click here