Recently, Schwingshandl automation technology GmbH no longer has to worry about intellectual property falling into the wrong hands when it gives 3D models of its lifting and conveying equipment to third parties. Because with Lino® Simplify, the special-purpose machine builder from Austria generates simplified models in a targeted manner – and manageable STEP files.
As soon as elevators, lifters, conveyors and distribution systems are required for special intra- and warehouse logistics tasks, Schwingshandl GmbH comes into play as a supplier. In individual production or small series, the machines of the Austrians move load carriers and conveyed goods whose dimensions or properties do not correspond to any standard. The decisive factor is always the trouble-free exchange with the customer in order to comprehensively clarify the special features of the task.
When Schwingshandl is commissioned by a large plant manufacturer to add custom products to its portfolio, this partner company needs 3D models that can be integrated into the layout of the overall plant. The Austrians use the 3D CAD software Solidworks to design their machines and also generate those models that go to partners. However, these are very complex and consist of up to 8,000 individual parts, from the impeller to the bolt, which drive up the level of detail of the 3D models.
At the latest, the complexity became a problem when exporting to the standardized STEP format, because many customers could not open the huge files or integrate them into their layouts. Before exporting, screws and other elements therefore had to be deleted manually from the 3D model. This was an enormous effort that could take up to five hours, even on small machines. After all, the manual simplification also made it possible to conceal innovations and intellectual property from third parties.
In order to obtain protected and manageable models more conveniently, Schwingshandl was looking for software that could take over these tasks automatically. The right tool was quickly found in Lino Simplify. Simplify was impressive in that it is not a standalone solution, but an add-on for Solidworks that integrates seamlessly into the familiar software environment and the existing processes.
In the meantime, Lino Simplify has been in productive use for almost half a year. Without exception, every 3D model that Schwingshandl sends out is “treated” by the add-on beforehand. This begins with the first rough models, which can be used to clarify further specifications and requirements in discussions with the customer. The process is very simple and unbeatably fast: open the model, select the degree of simplification – and you’re done. The standard settings and the click of a button are enough to simply reduce the file size.
For Schwingshandl, however, the new process speed is only one major benefit among many. At least as important is the flexible and condition-based simplification, with which one specifies that some components are to be deleted automatically, others never or under certain conditions. In this way, the machine builder can protect selected innovative components but also specify that others remain visible in detail – for example, all interfaces to adjacent machines. For the designers, it is also helpful that they can select each individual part in the graphics area of Solidworks and define the simplification via it.
Learn more about the Schwingshandl project in the detailed case study.