Provide customers with more effective tools for servicing and maintaining automated packaging machinery and equipment, as well as better support for customer training initiatives.
SOLIDWORKS Composer technical
Engineering Services Manager
Thiele Technologies, Inc. (now a part of BW Integrated Systems) provides advanced high-speed packaging automation solutions worldwide to a variety of industries including fresh and frozen food, dairy, bakery, pet food, beverage, horticultural, paper goods, pharmaceutical, medical devices, cosmetics, commercial printing, contract packaging, mailing and fulfillment, and petrochemicals. A Barry-Wehmiller company, the manufacturer offers a complete range of end-of-line packaging machinery and equipment for domestic and international markets.
Thiele Technologies equipment requires documentation and usage instructions for safe operation and effective maintenance. Originally, Thiele Technologies supplied 2D engineering drawings and bills of materials (BOMs) for all of its machines in PDF format. Although this approach served Thiele and customer needs, it had drawbacks, according to Engineering Services Manager Daniel Hanson.
“Working in 2D has its shortcomings,” Hanson explains. “It required a significant amount of an engineer’s time to generate exploded-view drawings and BOMs for each machine’s parts catalog, and 2D PDFs are not as easy to use by our customers for identifying parts. All you have to imagine is a machine operator or maintenance technician rifling through a book of drawings or paging through a PDF file, desperately trying to locate the appropriate part number to get production back on-line, to understand how 3D can improve the process. With 3D, you can view the machine and get to your part in seconds.”
Thiele Technologies used SOLIDWORKS Composer software to replace their 2D PDF documentation. “SOLIDWORKS Composer lets us help our customers in unforeseen ways,” Hanson stresses. “Reusing our 3D CAD data, we can provide customers with a SOLIDWORKS Composer package for machine assemblies that anyone can open, explore, and use for part identification and training.”
“Prior to SOLIDWORKS Composer, an engineer might spend 25 hours to create exploded view drawings and BOMs, plus a technical writer might spend another 15 hours doing the required desktop publishing work to complete the manual,” Hanson notes. “Machines with 15 to 20 assemblies could easily exceed 40 hours of documentation time. With SOLIDWORKS Composer, we’ve been able to achieve essentially the same thing in 5 minutes.
“Using SOLIDWORKS Composer, we don’t need as many steps and transactions to get the information into a usable format. It’s just a drag and drop from our vault.”
Thiele Technologies customers appreciated the move to 3D documentation. “Maintenance technicians and production line managers had expressed their frustration with 2D drawings,” Hanson says. “Trying to locate the correct drawing and then the correct part on the drawing takes time, especially if the clarity or detail of the drawing leaves room for ambiguity. SOLIDWORKS Composer eliminates this problem because the customer can navigate directly to the part, click on it, and read the part number.”
Eric Henderson, a preventive maintenance technician with P&G Pet Care, which produces IAMS pet food, says Composer was a big improvement. “We have many machines in our department,” Henderson explains. “Keeping those machines operating 24/7 is imperative. 3D makes it easier to establish procedures and feed part numbers into SAP. Having information at our fingertips instead of shuffling through PDFs is a huge advantage.”
Thiele Technologies customer training is also more effective because 3D documentation provides the same context as being on-site. “SOLIDWORKS Composer is a great training tool,” Hanson says. “Instead of traveling on-site and interfering with a customer’s production schedule, we can complete much of the training online using SMG files.
“For example, I can show an SMG file to all 10 people on a machine without having to be right at the equipment where it’s often very loud and difficult to train. Explaining a concept or talking about a particular part in a complex assembly is much easier using 3D models,” Hanson adds. “SOLIDWORKS Composer represents a major step up from what we’ve been able to offer, and our customers are as excited as we are about the possibilities.”