Ready, aim, fryer: Software speeds appliance development

April 18, 2002
World demand for major household appliances is expected to increase 3.6% annually through 2005, or 337 million units, according to a study from The Freedonia Group Inc., Cleveland.

In today's world, consumers want appliances that help prepare meals as quickly as possible. But speed is setting new standards on the manufacturing side as well, with companies bringing products to market faster than ever. One recent example: The Supremia deep-fat fryer from Groupe Moulinex, a global company based in Europe, took only 14 months from styling to manufacture.

With its difficult shapes and advanced assembly requirements, the Supremia presented a challenging development cycle for Groupe Moulinex. It addresses two new concepts: a rectangular shape to handle both conventional applications, such as french fries, and nonconventional uses, such as fish frying; plus an optional removable tank for easy cleanup.

To help with the design, Group Moulinex chose Unigraphics software, which offers advanced capabilities in product

modeling, assembly management, photorealistic rendering, rapid prototyping, and NC mold manufacturing, as well as specialized plastic injectionmold analysis. The fryer is a complex composite-elements assembly that includes molded, extruded, and blow-molded plastic parts, silicone parts, folded and stamped sheet-metal parts, and electri-cal components.

By providing an advanced associative modeler and integrated designto-manufacture process, Unigraphics software is able to handle the fryer's complexity. "Unigraphics'

Advanced Assemblies module helped us tremendously by allowing four designers to work in a real concurrent-engineering environment, sharing a unique math model in designing their particular subassembly to fit the final product," says Guy Collas, Supremia project manager.

In addition, Unigraphics screen shots help file patents, consult suppliers on mold designs, and respond to team member inquiries about a product.

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