"We want engineers to have a completely open mind. SolidWorks and SolidWorks Simulation let us focus on how to extend our products’ capabilities, not on how to get more out of our design software."
- Nick Mennell, Engineering Director
For more than 30 years, AP Racing in the UK has been pushing the envelope, tweaking its high-performance clutch and brake system designs for race cars and motorcycles, sports cars, and specialty vehicles. In 1998, the company set out to re-shape its design process as customers increasingly demanded more clutch and brake performance in a shorter time frame. The previous design software required too much hands-on manipulation, which reduced the amount of troubleshooting and refinement engineers could perform. AP Racing engineers used several high-end CAD packages to design one of its products within a week to see which one would best attain its benchmarks for ease of use, speed, and functionality. Only SolidWorks 3D mechanical design software achieved the benchmarks.
Since then, AP Racing engineers have completed new brake and clutch system designs 30% faster with SolidWorks and SolidWorks Simulation than with the previous design software. SolidWorks and SolidWorks Simulation detected a thin wall in one of the first brake designs created with the new software. It was a flaw the previous software overlooked, and one that could have caused problems on the track. The ease of use of SolidWorks and its ability to automatically carry out a change throughout a design – rather than forcing the engineer to do it by hand – allow AP Racing to refine a design more than it could with the previous systems. The tight integration between SolidWorks and SolidWorks Simulation solves one of the biggest headaches AP Racing engineers faced: having to physically load a solid model into a separate analysis package to test how it would perform. This labor took too much time and increased the risk of design errors that would require more time and money to fix later. Now, when the engineers change a design, the change automatically transfers to the FEA model, reducing the potential for problems and allowing the company to perform more design iterations in less time. AP Racing also uses SolidWorks PhotoWorks photorealistic rendering tool to generate lifelike product images, which are then animated for manufacturing, assembly, and marketing purposes.
- Improved productivity by at least 25%
- Reduced the number of prototypes using integrated stress analysis
- Detected problems the old software overlooked, and integration of SolidWorks Simulation reduced potential for problems