Huxley Bertram Engineering Ltd design and manufacture special purpose bespoke machines for a wide variety of clients and applications ranging from industrial automation and production test equipment through pharmaceutical assembly and test equipment, to research and development equipment.
John Bettey of Huxley Bertram comments “We have used 2D CAD for many years and all our engineers can “visualise” mechanisms and assemblies from 2D drawings. However, we became increasingly aware that there is a general migration towards 3D modelling amongst our customers. Within industry in general the sharing and presentation of information was becoming by default 3D.
Having made exploratory forays into the world of 3D modelling we became rapidly convinced of the productivity improvements that we could make, the improvements in the professionalism (and comprehensibility to non-technical persons) of our presentations to customers, and also the limitations of 2D CAD” Being highly design-based, the cost of mistakes or “rework” during the manufacture can fundamentally affect the profitability of a job, as can unnecessary delay during the design phase. Increased confidence in the design at the outset combined with faster design assures fewer “surprises” later on. As project cost is forced ever downward, such additional costs have a larger effect on profit margins.
Our products have always been innovative and function-orientated, but increasingly our customers require a level of aesthetic appearance, and recently we have been working in conjunction with industrial designers (also using 3D modelling) to ensure that “appearance” requirements are met. We evaluated various products, and of those that fell broadly into our price/performance/usability requirements SOLIDWORKS provided the most suitable solution. Coupled with this we had numerous endorsements of SOLIDWORKS from customers, suppliers and even competitors!
Naturally, having taken the decision to migrate to SOLIDWORKS we were anxious to make the transition as painless as possible. All of our engineers were surprised at how quickly they could start producing parts, assemblies and drawings One of the principle disadvantages of our previous 2D CAD package was the inadequacy of live General arrangements drawings, which were more trouble than they were worth. By comparison, live assemblies in SOLIDWORKS work exactly as expected, and the creation of automatic documentation from assemblies saves considerable amounts of time. The nature of our business means that order intake is, at best, rather unpredictable. However, the presentation of “working models” to customers at the tendering stage is clearly an advantage over competitive tenders without such facilities. E drawings are frequently used to send models for evaluation.
Simulation Xpress is occasionally used (although our designs tend to have a naturally high safety margin) SOLIDWORKS encourages collaboration and customer products can now be directly incorporated into our design, and supplier parts are readily available as SOLIDWORKS models giving the assembly a “real” feel. Huxley Bertram Engineering invested in 4 licenses of SOLIDWORKS Office with Innova Systems of Cambridge. During the decision process they were professional, courteous and non-“pushy”. This, in conjunction with the finance arrangements made them clear favourites for our business. Subsequent to purchase, the training and support we have received has been extremely useful, skilfully delivered, and well tailored to our needs.