CONCORD, Mass.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—November 13, 2006— The humble manhole cover is easy to overlook - unless you work for LeBARON Foundry of Brockton, Mass., the dominant supplier of cast iron products to New England's construction market. The 150-year-old company pours 100 tons of molten iron a day to supply the region with nearly all of its manhole and sewer drain covers. Although its products are low-tech, the company has used high technology, specifically SolidWorks(R) and COSMOS(R) software, to great advantage.
"We're saving more than $500,000 on raw material costs annually
because of design work performed in SolidWorks 3D CAD software and
facilitated by COSMOS analysis software," said LeBARON Foundry
President Steve Clinch.
The story began in December 2003, when scrap metal prices spiked,
tripling over the next six months, thus tripling LeBARON's raw
material costs. The company had no way to pass along these costs
because it was locked into long-term contracts with municipalities.
Fortuitously, Clinch had just invested in SolidWorks Office Premium,
which includes COSMOSWorks(R) Designer software, in hopes of updating
the company's manual product testing processes. Those processes
employed hydraulic presses applying upwards of 60 tons of force to
determine their strength.
Clinch set up simulations in COSMOSWorks Designer, built samples
in the resulting geometries, and tested them against real-world
conditions to establish validity. He quickly determined that many of
its best-selling products were significantly over-designed - i.e.,
they were thicker than they needed to be. Using SolidWorks and
COSMOSWorks Designer, Clinch and his team quickly redesigned a wide
variety of the products in less than two days each. This process
shaved as much as 50 pounds of material from a typical manhole cover.
It was a savings of as much as 25 percent by weight without
sacrificing safety. The company recouped the company's projected
shortfall, estimated at more than $500,000 in the first year alone.
"Sure, we could have done this without COSMOS," he said. "We could
have built a pattern, made castings, noted when they broke, made a
leaner pattern, and repeated the cycle ad nauseum until we ran out of
time and money. It would have been a horrendously time-consuming and
expensive process. With COSMOSWorks Designer, I was able to iterate
six different models in two afternoons until I came up with
streamlined designs that still had more than adequate strength. Our
work was simplified by an easy-to-use, relatively inexpensive finite
element analysis product combined with an elegant 3D CAD package. I
think the world of these products."
LeBARON is now using SolidWorks and COSMOSWorks Designer to expand
its product line to include custom configurations.
"You'd think that after 15 decades there would be nothing more to
say about manhole covers," said SolidWorks Vice President of Worldwide
Marketing Rainer Gawlick. "What this story teaches us is that sharp
minds using powerful tools can always design better products.
Sometimes these improvements yield extraordinary benefits."
LeBARON Foundry relies on authorized SolidWorks reseller CADD Edge
for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.
About LeBARON Foundry
LeBARON Foundry, Inc., first established in 1855, has poured gray
iron castings to serve the needs of the construction industries of New
England from its Brockton, Massachusetts, facilities since 1911. The
ultimate recycler, it turns all manner of scrap iron waste into
manhole covers, storm-water grates, and trench-drain systems which it
delivers to contractors and municipalities throughout the region. For
more information on LeBARON Foundry visit www.lebaronfoundry.com or
About CADD Edge, Inc.
CADD Edge, established in 1995, is the developer of the Mechanical
Engineering Productivity Machine(TM). The CADD Edge Productivity
Machine enables engineers to design imaginative products fast with
superior quality. Customized for industry-specific SolidWorks
environments, this performance-driven machine is fueled by four
components - auditing, implementation, multi-level training, and
software utilities - all working together to help companies be first
to deliver winning designs from concept to customer. For more
information on CADD Edge, please contact the company at 508-475-2900
or visit http://www.caddedge.com
About SolidWorks Corporation
SolidWorks Corporation, a Dassault Systemes S.A. (Nasdaq:
Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA) company, develops and markets software
for design, analysis, and product data management. It is the leading
supplier of 3D CAD technology, giving teams intuitive, high-performing
software that helps them design better products. For the latest news,
information, or an online demonstration, visit the company's Web site
(www.solidworks.com) or call 1-800-693-9000 (outside of North America,
SolidWorks is a registered trademark of SolidWorks Corporation.
COSMOS and COSMOSWorks are registered trademarks of Structural
Research & Analysis Corporation. Other brand and product names are
trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright (c) 2006 SolidWorks
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