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Shining a new light on aquariums 

Introducing the industry leading AquaRay® range, created with the help of Stephen Howgill Design.

Tropical Marine Centre (TMC) is Europe’s leading supplier of ethically-sourced marine livestock and they also manufacture and distribute innovative products for the aquarium. Recent legislative changes that limit the manufacture of incandescent lamps has been the catalyst for a whole new generation of lighting equipment that uses light emitting diode (LED) technology. To meet these legislative changes – and offer the environmental and performance benefits to its customers, TMC commissioned Stephen Howgill Design Limited to design key elements of the AquaRay® range of solid-state lighting, controllers and mounting systems for both freshwater and marine aquariums. The benefits of LED lighting include low running costs because of exceptionally low power consumption and ‘light source’ life in excess of 50,000 hours.

The initial requirement from TMC was to create the housing for the PCB LED board. Stephen Howgill explains, ‘once the outside styling and surface modeling had been done, the internals were fitted in place with clearances checked. We ran a ballpark analysis using the NX FEA wizard to ensure brackets were rigid enough.’

Howgill uses NX CAD for solid and surface modeling, drafting and assembly modeling. There is an analysis wizard for single parts and any detailed analysis is handled externally. He notes, ‘NX Surfacing is far, far ahead of anything I have used in the past. Its general slickness and functionality is exemplary when compared to other packages. The sketcher functions embedded in the ‘extrude and revolve’ commands and the improved assembly modeling capabilities put NX miles ahead of other systems.’

Howgill also uses Synchronous Technology as it makes a huge difference in being able to make changes to imported models – dumb solids, IGES, STEP, for example. For Howgill, ‘it makes making changes to the model so much quicker and easier.’

On the visualisation front, Howgill confirms that the latest version of NX with True Shading produces renderings good enough for virtually all his clients.

TEAM Engineering is the leading Siemens PLM Solution Partner and Siemens I-deas to NX Migration Partner. According to Stephen, ‘I chose to work with them because I know the people and how good their service is.

‘Their support, the help desk in particular, is great. When I have used the hotline, I get a more or less instant response.’

Stephen also like to go to their Technical Seminars as he finds it a useful way of keeping up with developments and if gives him the opportunity to catch up with TEAM’s – and Siemen’s – technical people.

‘The TEAM annual support contract provides software updates and support and it’s so important to have that safety net – there is always someone at TEAM to help.’

Stephen is now looking forward to a move towards more concept design work, he explains, ‘I’m starting to do a lot more medical device design work and we are also working on the commercialisation of steeplejack fall arrest equipment that I designed specifically for one client. I’ve been able to do all this with the help of TEAM Engineering who have the experience, the history and the track record.’


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