Switching to Autodesk Inventor <a href=www.autodesk.com let engineers at Bauer cut the part count for compressors like this one by 68%. Company engineers credit the software with improving efficiency and lowering production costs. " width="176" height="159" />

 

Switching to Autodesk Inventor (www.autodesk.com) let engineers at Bauer cut the part count for compressors like this one by 68%. Company engineers credit the software with improving efficiency and lowering production costs.

Even simple parts took days to design when compressor maker Bauer Corp., Norfolk, Va. (www.bauercomp.com), used 2D design software. But new parts are ready for review in less than an hour after a switch to Autodesk Inventor. “The part count in one project dropped by 68% while profitability and throughput rose,” says John Dwyer, Bauer chief engineer.

Dwyer credits Avatech Solutions, Owings Mills, Md. (www.avatechsolutions.com), a reseller and trainer of design and engineering software, with work methods that streamline design using 3D CAD models. For instance, establishing libraries of frequently used components, such as filter housings and electric motors, let engineers use approved parts in new designs.

Building modules and shared components further cut part counts. Dwyer's team even designs sheetmetal parts and plates in 3D because models easily export to laser cutters and robots that bend and weld parts together.

Fast implementation was important because of increasing demand for compressors from fire departments and the U.S. military. “The upshot of the new software is that the company can now react quickly to requests for changes bringing 25% growth when many competitors are losing market share,” says Dwyer.