Yaskawa’s engineering team delivers custom enclosures for drive systems by leveraging the power of 3D CAD.
In New Berlin, Wis, Yaskawa builds custom and standard packages for sophisticated electric-motor drives. Jason Schultz and his fellow engineers have moved from 2D drawing system to modern 3D CAD software from SolidWorks to customize the drive packages. Benefits include quicker customization, faster response, and use of more powerful analysis tools. Specifically, the following benefits were measured:
•Product design time shortened by 50%
•Development costs decreased by 30%
•Design errors reduced by 15%
•Increased data compatibility with customers, partners, and vendors
Drive package customization often includes changes to external size and shape, number and type of components to be mounted inside the enclosure, and performance characteristics such as cooling air flow within the enclosure, vibration resistance and structural integrity.
Yaskawa aims for world-class drive packages customized to meet customer requirements in applications requiring high performance, function, and quality. They have moved to add 3D modeling capabilities to their existing combination of 2D CAD, and a proprietary electrical software package.
Yaskawa decided that 3D modeling would allow easier interface with their vendors and some customers. Over the last two years, they have added three seats of SolidWorks 3D CAD to augment the other design tools they use. They chose Solid Works in part because of the ease of modeling incoming custom orders, and because of the analysis capabilities available. Also, they were seeking a package that would interface well with Pro-E CAD used by their parent corporation in Japan. Yaskawa’s headquarters in Waukegan, IL, uses Pro-E, SolidWorks, and Autodesk 2D CAD.
HQ office in Waukegan, IL uses CosmosFloWorks to analyze air flow within the cabinets to keep them cool inside. Engineers use it to determine number and size of fans needed, and where they should be located.
Engineers get involved in the design of a custom package when a customer needs a non-standard size or shape, or special components mounted inside the enclosure, or special guards installed. Occasionally customers specify additional components to be installed — such as an RFI filter or special transformer — so the customer sends the specs for them. Engineers take the request, and make CAD models of components. Some of the work is still being done in 2D and some in SolidWorks.
The drive packages designed in New Berlin are sometimes described as “big lockers.” One of the floor-mount enclosures is 73-in. wide with two doors. “But sometimes they can’t fit that 73 inches into their facilities,” explains Jason Schultz, order engineer. “When it needs to be 72 or 65 inches, then we use SolidWorks and within an hour, we have a new design, complete with engineering drawings.”
A recent custom enclosure request asked for polycarbonate guards to be placed inside the enclosure to keep operators from touching anything inside. The design task started with a clean sheet. The team laid out the enclosure and populated it with all of the components. Then the team decided how the guards should be placed to ensure operator safety. Total time for the task, including preparation of all engineering and production drawings, was one day.
Variability in standard products
The standard product at New Berlin involves both wall-mount and floor-mount enclosures, made to order. Each carries a lengthy code, which specifies all of the components placed in that drive package. For each design, there can be up to three subpanels. Each of the subpanels is precut, with holes to accommodate all the components that may be mounted within them. The panels “…have to fit 99.9% of all the components that may be placed in them.” One crucial job is to layout every component that might possibly go in a panel, and make sure it fits so there is no drilling required at assembly time.
“Our main task with SolidWorks involves configuration, noted Schultz. “We can have one enclosure, one modeled assembly, and within that one assembly is all the different sizes and cutouts. With one click of the mouse, I have a 73-in. wide enclosure, a 61-in. wide, and a 49-in. wide (units). Then in each, there is either a large cutout in the back, a small cutout, or none at all. This is very easy with the 3D modeling software. Once the model is set up, we can see all the variations of what we can do. With all these variations, the 3D modeling software is a huge time saver.”
Photo rendering prepared for Marketing. 3D modeling software allows engineering models to be used to create marketing images in less than a day.
Headquarters in Waukegan has just started using CosmosFloWorks to analyze temperatures inside the drive packages. The engineers can determine where to locate the fans inside the enclosure box to exhaust heated air for optimum component cooling. The software allows them to see how the air is flowing around the components inside the enclosure, which allows them to determine the size and number of fans and the best location for them.
The Waukegan engineers are also using CosmosWorks for seismic and vibration analysis of sheet metal applications. One example: a simple weldment or a bent metal part with bolts in it can be simulated allowing them to analyze the amount of force a simple assembly can withstand before bending or deforming.
One unexpected benefit of the new 3D CAD software is in marketing support. Now the engineers are able to rapidly prepare 3D renderings of proposed designs that can be used in brochures and catalogs. Designs and rendered images often can be prepared in less than one day.
Another benefit is improved communication throughout the factory. The engineers can use supplier data in the form of PDF images and incorporate that into SolidWorks drawings along with the 3D model of that part. Then these drawings are saved again as a PDF image and then linked in SAP for everyone in the company to view. They find this process helps Purchasing (and other service departments) to be able to see the actual parts they need to order.
Yaskawa Electric America Inc.
.: Design World :.