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For over six decades, Thwaites Dumpers have built a reputation for the strength, reliability, safety and ergonomic design of its dumpers. The UK had always been the biggest market, and when the domestic construction industry came to a comparative standstill, Thwaites Dumpers knew it had to be even more efficient to secure its future.
Their immediate problem was that they were paying more for components while customers were paying less for the machine, which squeezed profits from both sides – hence the need for more efficiency. Their large assemblies needed effective management. One important requirement was for CAD to integrate with their existing CAM systems, which led to a completely different way of designing; starting with the complete model rather than individual parts.
Thwaites Dumpers turned to NX and TEAM Engineering to provide the technology and the expertise they needed. ‘TEAM’s consulting engineers were really knowledgeable and they came up with a new package which was cheaper than our old support contract,’ explains David Reed, Engineering Manager at Thwaites.
The company soon transformed production; slashing development time by 50% and saving over two months and £6-8000 in staff costs on a normal project. Until then, the company’s seven-stage development process had included a complete trial build process as a step, but with NX, they were able to cut that stage altogether.
‘We design, build, test, refine and create tooling with the 3D model, and then we only need to make a small batch trial for the physical testing process,’ says Reed.
NX allows them to get a lot closer to production specification, with an almost ‘perfect fit first time’ approach – as well as savings in development time and project material costs.
Another significant advantage is that NX integrates well with the Radan sheet metal and robot weld programming CAM software. Reed explains, ‘NX enables us to achieve much greater accuracy in our sheet metal processes because we can bring the solid model through into our other software packages.’
With TEAM Engineering’s consultancy and implementation assistance, the transition to NX was smooth. ‘Our training sessions were excellent,’ enthuses Reed. ‘They were very detailed and useful – TEAM Engineering definitely knew what they were talking about.’