Innova and SOLIDWORKS help Thomson Rail

Thomson Rail Equipment has specialised in the design and manufacture of specialised rail equipment for ten years. Design work was initially completed with a low cost 2d design package and rapidly moving on to AutoCad 2D.

Thomson Rail Equipment has specialised in the design and manufacture of specialised rail equipment for ten years. Design work was initially completed with a low cost 2D design package and rapidly moving on to AutoCad 2D.

Thomson Rail products in action on a railway line

“In 2002, we purchased SOLIDWORKS through Innova Systems and were surprised to find that it took only a few days to learn enough of the package to produce useful output. We were bowled over by what we were able to do once we completed the training,” said Dave Thomson Managing Director at Thomson Rail. Soon after the initial investment, Simulation (for analysis) and Workgroup PDM  (for data management) were purchased to complete the ‘suite’.

One of Thomson Rail’s most successful products is its fast-clip machine, which is now the industry’s leading machine for opening and closing the fastenings, which secure railway rails to the sleepers.

The introduction of a new, low cost rail fastening system for tram ways and low speed lines, known as the FD clip, meant that the race was on throughout the industry to create a machine to work with these clips and Thomson Rail turned once again to SOLIDWORKS for the design. Once the initial concept and outline specification had been decided upon, our designers set to work on a Tuesday morning.  On the Thursday morning the machine shop started making parts for the prototype machine.

First to trial and with very few teething troubles to sort out before going into production, the machine has already attracted interest from UK and French buyers showing all the signs of being another winner.
“From a manufacturers point of view, the ability to design, analyse, create production drawings and manage the data of the complete product in a matter of hours is incredible, but SOLIDWORKS does not stop there. SOLIDWORKS also provides concept models; e-drawings and animations that are of immense help in sales and marketing activities.

The point which I think is often missed in SOLIDWORKS’ marketing material is the usefulness of the package as a marketing tool.  We all know about its abilities as an Engineering resource but it is usually financiers who give the go-ahead to projects of this kind.  The creation of images of this kind, which is a walk in the park with Photoworks 360, allows anyone to understand the product and all of the images attached have played a major part in our sales success in the last year.

Since partnering with Innova Systems our company has grown from £ 120,000 to £ 1.2 million turnover and a single seat of SOLIDWORKS Premium has provided all the Engineering drawings and support for this growth.

When it comes to the documentation which must accompany any CE marked product, the almost instant production of detailed exploded views of assemblies, complete with automatically produced bills of materials makes parts manuals a few minutes work. SOLIDWORKS is our number one research and development tool and as such it attracts considerable tax advantages earning more than its cost in tax relief alone. Combine SOLIDWORKS, Simulation and Workgroup PDM and we have design, analysis and documentation completely under control”

“Keeping upto date is vital for and I am looking forward to the new SOLIDWORKS release which continues to underpin our competitive edge in new product development.

For example, the SustainabilityXpress functionality will help me to understand, in real-time, the environmental impact of my product design and takes into consideration how and where materials are produced, parts are manufactured, and products are used and disposed of. This is of particular importance as a supplier to major companies such as Network Rail and Balfour Beatty.

SOLIDWORKS Premium offers us by far the best solution for our needs when taking into account functionality, reliability, cost and – most important of all – the valued partnership of our Reseller Innova Systems. SOLIDWORKS has transformed our business, and we need to ensure we keep our product development tools are kept as sharp as possible in a demanding competitive marketplace” said Dave Thomson.

Thomson Rail products in action

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