SOLIDWORKS helps Edbro manufacture hydraulic tipping hoists

John Goddard CEng MIMechE, Senior Design Engineer at Jost UK talks about his experience of working with SOLIDWORKS with the support of Innova Systems…

EDBRO50 Tipper
Edbro is in its 99th year of developing and manufacturing hydraulic tipping hoists for on road and off road applications. Combining advanced processes such as laser welding, factory automation and high quality standards throughout allows the business to produce the industry standard in hydraulic tipping hoists. With production volumes exceeding many hundreds per week and a worldwide supplier base, technical product specification and integrity of data is vital to getting a repeatable and robust product.

Increasing levels of automation allows the business to compete on the international stage against low cost markets and constantly drives the need for innovation in design to take cost out of the product and improve its performance. This means using a combination of fabrication, casting, forged and moulded components making use of efficient manufacturing techniques.

CS17 Ultra Lifting TrunnionAll new product development is completed using SOLIDWORKS, utilising the 3D modelling capabilities, Finite Element Analysis (FEA) functionality through SOLIDWORKS Simulation and PDM Workgroup data management software.

Increasingly, suppliers and customers are demanding 3D data to drive manufacturing processes and accurately model their installations respectively. The FEA Simulation capabilities within SOLIDWORKS now form a core part the product development process enabling virtual simulation of new designs before prototype.

Once made, prototypes are tested in the laboratory and the use of strain gauges help to refine the FEA simulations to better represent the real world. This feedback loop allows the designers to confidently design and predict the safe performance of new products saving the expense of cutting metal. In addition, the powerful configuration design table functionality means the rapid generation of hundreds of product variants in a time simply not possible before, meaning new product ranges can be rolled out quicker than ever.


The Workgroup PDM and integral PDM web viewer have immediately become indispensable to the business. Everyone throughout the business that needs access to CAD data can now call upon it any time they wish.

From the purchasing department knowing they are getting the latest version of a drawing or specification document, to the quality inspection department working on night shifts measuring on the CMM benches, they now have fingertip access to the data they need – without having to trouble the engineering department.

This is now absolutely vital with a growing reliance on international supply chains. PDM allows us to conform easily to our ISO 9001 commitments of data management and integrity.

The PDM Workgroup web viewer is accessed using Internet Explorer, is simple to set up and gives trouble free performance. Ongoing projects are delivering scans of old archive drawings and from legacy systems into the PDM viewer tool creating a one stop shop for product data.

Certainly a long way away from lost souls on a  night shift being unable to get the drawing they need to keep manufacturing going, or engineering being burdened with dozens of drawing requests per day.

Innova Systems give us the backup we need to constantly push the design team and give guidance on how to optimise our data and systems. The IT management side of things is incredibly easy ensuring there is no need for a person to look after this separately, enabling the department to operate like a big business with a small team!

Whenever the Engineers have an issue, the technical support team at Innova Systems are immediately on hand, using Screen sharing technology to understand and solve the problem, even going as far as arranging web conferences with SOLIDWORKS Research and Development to find a resolution.

The customer – supplier partnership means Edbro receive training and support on SOLIDWORKS software, and Edbro are happy to share their experience and best practice with Innova Systems, to inform the industry of how customers can stretch SOLIDWORKS to achieve significant productivity gains.

Written by – John Goddard CEng MIMechE, Senior Design Engineer – Jost UK


“I have worked with Edbro for 20 years as a supplier, seeing the company transition from the Drawing board to 2D CAD with Medusa – and now into advanced 3D product development with SOLIDWORKS. In the tough competitive world of commercial vehicles, the business has always strived for Innovation in design to survive and prosper. I am delighted to have played a very small part in the company’s success”.

Mark Bradford – Managing Director Innova Systems.

Take a look at other companies using SOLIDWORKS in the automotive & transport industries