Solid Edge and the Food Manufacturing Equipment Industry

I find out last year that I fit into a unique category with SE usage, namely the one with the highest adoption rate of using Solid Edge AND Synchronous tech. Now to me the whole ST thing was why I came here to begin with and the demo part that convinced me was one for a machine that severed yeast roll dough. Every time they fiddled with this machine new knives had to be made to accommodate the new required length. You would not think that a machine that just cuts dough blobs required much in the way of accuracy but it did. And the old parasolid traditional way was as we ST users know slow and cumbersome with these types of edits. The demo guy grabbed the front face of the knife and dragged it and all the associated geometry changed. Ten seconds and not ten minutes and I was hooked and bought as ST1 was first released.

And sheet metal, I had to have good sheet metal which SE was acknowledged at that time and now to have the best mid-range MCAD sheet metal capabilities. So I have been with ST from the beginning from it’s pretty clunky ST1 and 2 until now where it is a pretty mature and very powerful program. While I grouse a lot about how stupid Siemens is with Solid Edge I have to say once again that technically there is no better place for a small design build shop whose primary customers are all food manufacturing oriented as I am. And yes as I have proven here before with past videos and posts you can get other files in, for me typically SW and Inventor of course, and work quicker than the author did in his native file and program. Always kind of fun to do this to them and watch their faces as they contemplate the time they have to spend.

But why the food industry and why are we the highest rate of adopters? One of the product lines I make is extrusion dies for cookie dough and it is a perfect example of why. This is not an exact science and how the dough handles suffers from variables such as particulates type and size, texture and resistance to extrusion, and deformation from the depositing process which determines how the deposit cooks off shape wise. Then add in as the process goes along the changing of the recipe for whatever reason and you at times have to start over with the discovery process to become efficient again. When I have my basic shape to use as a “template” and these variables come up I can often make the changes while I am on the phone and send these guys an email shortly after. Quite often with my biggest customer I am either meeting with them face to face or on the phone and I have the required changes done so quickly that they see them immediately and we make decisions in real time. Not another day passes as the whole part has to be redone and then get back to these guys like it used to be. There is no capable substitute for the abilities of direct editing like Synchronous to develop families of parts and variants in these.

Our food manufacturing customers know what they want as a final product but there are no concise formulas or guidelines to follow from many of these companies so it is try this and try that. And the ones who do know of course do not share that information. Even in the case of those who do know though there is always something new they have to work on as the food industry is not a static entity where nothing changes. For example there is a current fad of Glutin Free and how rice flour handles is entirely different than wheat. Even the big boys have to experiment to get it right. All this leads to constant changes that ST is superbly capable of dealing with.

There is another aspect of this design build idea and of course CAD has no reason to exist if you make nothing from it. As I go along further with CAMWorks and it makes more sense I can reflect upon the combination of SE and CAMWorks. I don’t know why models blow up in SW but it is one of the things I hear complaints about. One of the things I have read in the SW forums for CAMWorks is that for some reason merely rotating models in SW can cause them to blow up which appears to complicate things considerably according to the griping. Fortunately I have no experience with this as SE does not do this. It either works or does not but what the result is is always stable in my experience.

Anyway, Swoosh Technologies is going to have a “Lean, Clean Food Processing Machine Equipment Design” online session today and it should be interesting. Here is the link. Sorry about the short notice but I have been really slammed this week and forgot all about this until this mornings emails. Find out why this ST stuff matters for your shop. Even if you miss this event today I am certain this will be made available for viewing later so inquire.

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