Crown Cork and Seal has upgraded its CAD software to SolidWorks three-dimensional computer-aided design software in an effort to speed up its design process in order to meet increasingly demanding production schedules.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, Crown Cork & Seal is one of the world's leading suppliers of food and drink cans and plastic bottles. Currently it has 208 plants in 45 countries and produces about half of the aerosol cans and one-fifth of the beverage cans in North America.
The company's global research and development operations have standardised on SolidWorks software to migrate from static 2D designs to 3D solid modelling. SolidWorks claims that this move has streamlined the overall design cycle from as much as 20 weeks down to eight. Its engineers now use SolidWorks' software to retrofit existing machines used for aerosol, food and beverage can production.
"Crown's production lines must operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year just to meet consumer demand," said Joe Domijan, Crown Cork & Seal's manager of three-piece metals engineering.
"We're constantly retrofitting them with new designs to meet the changing demands of our production plants. SolidWorks 3D CAD software lets us immediately spot and anticipate design issues and resolve them before we try the part out on a plant floor. That is an invaluable benefit and it helps us achieve our production and quality goals."
One of the first jobs Domijan's team had to tackle using the new software was to make several design adjustments to an inserter, a machine that inserts a component into a container. SolidWorks claims that while it would normally have taken nearly 10 weeks to complete the design and testing in 2D, it took only five weeks with the newly installed software. It also eliminated the need for building a prototype.
"With AutoCAD, we typically had to produce 2D drawings and give those to the CAM [computer-aided manufacturing] manager so he could re-create the drawings in 3D to produce the parts," said Domijan. "By the time we had the parts made and operating in the machine, it would take anywhere from 16 to 20 weeks. The new software means we can achieve this in half the time, allowing us to save up to 12 weeks in design time."
SolidWorks Corporation, a division of the France-based Dassault Systèmes company, develops and markets mechanical design software solutions.