Fair-Play engineers design complex scoreboards by retrieving a previously designed close match, such as the four-sided board for basketball, and then making customer-requested modifications.

Fair-Play engineers design complex scoreboards by retrieving a previously designed close match, such as the four-sided board for basketball, and then making customer-requested modifications.


A drawing and data vault for AutoDesk Inventor gets credit from engineers at score-board maker Fair-Play, Des Moines, for cutting up to 70% off the wheel-spinning involved in delivering designs. "We quickly find and copy an existing design and use it as a starting point for a new project," says Fair-Play Senior Engineer and CAD Manager Bill Graham. "Vault, the PDM, has search functions that let engineers find, load, and access assembly files in minutes. Its check-in-and-check-out feature protects file integrity by preventing one person from overwriting a file in use by another, even while both people work on the same design," he says.

Fair-Play previously used a home-grown database to track drawings and search for files but the software was counter productive because it required continuous manual updates. "Engineers would save and over-write drawings, and lose relationships between drawings. A cumbersome update process reduced their access to valuable design resources," says Senior Mechanical Engineer Laddie Devine at

Avatech Solutions, Fair-Play's AutoDesk reseller. Engineers would spend about 4 hr a day searching for files, explaining what they did, manually filing documents, preparing bills of materials, and documenting other details.

The PDM now tags and stores all designs for reuse. The new system gives the team the option to save each design as a new version. "Now we can easily do 'what if' scenarios and rapidly roll back to a previous drawing if a modification doesn't pan out," says Graham.

MAKE CONTACT Avatech Solutions (804) 290-8850, avat.com