Computer-aided design (CAD) software is such a great tool, especially because we can use it to design products in 3D! Our engineers can create, analyze, and modify any potential actuator — in some cases without ever having to manufacture a prototype. This is a huge boon for us and our customers.
Here at W.C. Branham, we do a lot of custom work. Although we make a tremendous variety of actuators with a wide range of configuration options, every industrial design is different. So, you could say almost every product we sell is customized in some way, even if it wasn’t uniquely designed from scratch.
Here's how we use 3D CAD design software to customize actuators.
3D CAD Software Streamlines the Design Process
The final configuration a customer may want for their application could include numerous options and accessories, so there are a lot of variables in play. 3D CAD software enables us to “try out” an assembly on screen and on paper. This saves time and expense in two ways.
First, we can start with a base model CAD representation rather than designing from scratch every time. Then, we can pick and choose among all the variables to make desired modifications quickly and easily. We wind up with a representation of the exact product spec’d by our customer and can provide that as a CAD file they can then incorporate into their overall equipment design. It's faster and easier for them, too.
Second, and most important, the customer can ultimately order the actuator in whatever stroke length they need. It could be 1” or 100” or even longer, or any increment in between.
Do You Need a Physical Prototype?
Not necessarily. Most of the time, customers need only our standard components specifically-configured to match their specs. In this case, the steps outlined above are sufficient to ensure their actuator will be exactly as needed.
When we’re asked to custom design an actuator from the ground up, so to speak, we follow the same basic steps. Our CAD software allows us to lay it out and visualize it, check fits and placements and functionality, all based on the customer’s list of specifications they need or would like to have. The software’s versatility allows us to determine if W.C. Branham can accommodate all those requested details and the customer’s desired level of functionality without having to produce the actual part. We can see on the screen and on paper that the actuator is right.
No Need to Invest in Something that Won’t Work
Thanks to our 3D CAD software, customers can get the precise design they need faster, and it’s ready to go so they can move forward with their machine design. Even better, the process enables us to develop custom products relatively inexpensively. We can prove it out without having to incur the expense of procuring materials, machining parts, and assembling everything. The modeling process does all that for us.
We can usually identify and correct problems on paper first, whereas trouble-shooting and taking corrective measures using a series of prototypes can become quite costly.