MCADCafe Weekly Review March 29th, 2017

GoEngineer Customer Builds Enclosures That Enable 3D structures to Light Up the Night
March 29, 2017  by Mitch Bossart, Industry Writer for GoEngineer

Human beings seem helplessly attracted to moving pictures and light, the closest example being the smartphone in your pocket. But also think about television, movie theaters, and even concert light shows — all examples of our moth-like fascination with light.

Painting with Light

“Video mapping is becoming the largest part of my business,” says Tim Burnham, president of Tempest, the world’s premier manufacturer of specialist outdoor enclosures for digital projectors and conventional and moving lighting instruments. Video mapping essentially “paints” a building with video and light, usually from multiple projectors at multiple angles.

Figure 1: Tempest products in action – twelve Cyclone enclosures along the Atlantic City Boardwalk survived Hurricane Sandy without a scratch.

Unique Niche

Tempest provides products to some of the most famous theme parks, shopping venues, resorts, cruise ships, beach resorts and theaters in the world. The Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City, for example, wanted to stand out from its competitors on the boardwalk, so they invested in a light show displayed on the front of their casino. The combination of lights and video resulted in a significant increase in walk-in traffic.

“We are the only company in the world that does what we do,” states Burnham.

Significant Engineering Challenges

What’s the big deal? You might ask. How hard is it to make a metal enclosure for video and lighting projectors? “There are about 10,000 ways to get this wrong; these are not just metal boxes,” says Burnham.

Figure 2: Tempest Monsoon moving light enclosure protects delicate automated luminaires on many cruise ships. Designed in SOLIDWORKS, and rendered in SOLIDWORKS Visualize.

The projection equipment and lighting devices are extremely delicate – and expensive. Their specific requirements for operation cannot be violated without damage to the units, or worse, operational failure.

And the projectors end up in very hostile environments.

Last summer Tempest did a large installation in Dubai where temperatures of 100 degrees are common, even though the projectors are only rated to run in temps in the 80-degree range. Intense high humidity can also wreak havoc. A current installation at the Marina Bay Sands Resort in Singapore faces additional challenges: salt and humidity.

“It’s our job to keep the equipment comfortable [in our enclosures] whatever the environment – it is a real engineering challenge,” says Burnham.

Tempest builds in heating, cooling, filtering and sophisticated electronics to monitor every detail dynamically in real time. “We also have installs in places like Russia and Canada where it gets pretty cold in winter so we have to maintain minimum temperatures by heating up the enclosure,” says Burnham.

SOLIDWORKS Visualize

Burnham and his engineers use SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, which it purchased from local reseller GoEngineer. “We could not do what we do without SOLIDWORKS,” says Burnham. “And I call GoEngineer whenever I have problems.”

All of Tempest’s products are highly customized for each client, making product photography problematic and nearly impossible. “SOLIDWORKS Visualize has allowed us to render our products so they look almost exactly like photos,” enthuses Burnham.

SOLIDWORKS Visualize is “The Camera” that enables fast and easy creation of photo-realistic renderings of 3D content from SOLIDWORKS and from a number of other CAD packages as well. “The quality is astonishing. Most people cannot tell that our product ‘photos’ are actually renderings done in SOLIDWORKS Visualize.”

Local and International Growth

The fascination with video and light is not fading. Burnham’s business continues to grow with several more large and complex international projects. “Outdoor projection is now the biggest part of our business,” say Burnham. “I can’t imagine how we would do what we do without SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS VISUALIZE.”

Tempest

At software conferences it’s always fun to catch up with old industry acquaintances, but is more interesting to strike up conversations with new companies with innovative ideas. That very thing happened a few weeks ago at SOLIDWORKS World 2017 when we got introduced to Xometry, a company committed to bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. with its software platform for building a reliable and scalable manufacturing program. It employs a unique machine-learning approach that provides its customers with optimal manufacturing capabilities at the best price based on parameters input by customers.

Founded in 2014, Xometry is hoping to transform American manufacturing through a proprietary software platform that provides on-demand manufacturing to a diverse customer base, ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies. The platform provides an efficient way to source high-quality custom parts, with 24/7 access to instant pricing, expected lead time and manufacturability feedback that recommends best processes and practices. With more than 100 manufacturing partners, the manufacturing capabilities include CNC machining, 3D printing, sheet metal forming and fabrication, and urethane casting with over 200 materials. Xometry’s 4,000+ customers include General Electric, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, NASA, and the United States Army.

CNC Machining and How Xometry Is Different

“Reaching 4,000 customers and over 100 manufacturing partners represent key milestones for Xometry. They highlight the growth we’ve achieved on both the demand and supply side of our business” said Randy Altschuler, co-founder and CEO of Xometry. “We’ve built the largest marketplace of manufacturers driven by a software platform that delivers instant pricing and manufacturability feedback. Our goal, and that of our partners, is to find the right solution for our customers to meet their design and production requirements.”

The e-commerce platform overhauls a previously time-intensive and inefficient process. It does this by connecting small- to medium-sized manufacturers, a $50 billion plus market at the heart of the American manufacturing sector, to customers in key American industries, including aerospace, automotive, defense, medical, technology and telecommunications.

SolidCAM: Patented Wizard to optimal feeds & speeds
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