So says designers at Remmele Engineering, New Brighton, Minn. Configurators short-step the need to remodel components and thus save time, they explain. "The big benefit is greater design flexibility," says Remmele engineer Roger Clark. "Before, we had to manually model any new configuration. Now when a particular configuration doesn't work, we download a different one. In fact, we may download three or four configurations and still have time to evaluate which works best," he says.
Clark often configures linear actuators on the Web site for devices from Nook Industries, Cleveland. The company manufactures linear-motion components and linearcontrol systems used in applications for straight-line, controlled movement.
Nook uses 3D PartStream.NET on its site so design firms can configure 3D models of needed products and download them for use in assemblies. Users select loads, lengths, and a style. The online system then produces a 3D model of the part and its part number.
Prior to bringing the configurator online, "We had to find the model, modify it, and then verify its accuracy," says company Vice President Chris Nook. "That took about a week."
"Over 3,300 people have registered to use the online catalog, and they have downloaded over 3,400 models," he says. "About 80 to 85% of the downloaded CAD models produce sales. As soon as an engineer downloads a model and determines how it fits into their overall design, the purchasing decision is as good as made," he adds.