Delcam software takes new jeep from prototype to production

Collecting data from the prototype vehicle with the Romer arm
The individual body panels were combined within PowerSHAPE

Using Delcam’s Power Solution CADCAM software enabled the Lutsk Ukrainian Automotive Plant to develop a complete set of tooling from a prototype jeep that had passed all its tests and was ready for mass production. Traditional methods used in the past had proved to be very time consuming so the management of the plant was keen to explore the use of CADCAM to automate the process of bringing the prototype into production.

The company needed to produce, as quickly as possible, a CAD model of the car and, from that, to generate the data needed for the production of moulds and dies. At the start of the project, the only documentation available was paper drawings of the framework. There were no drawings of the bodywork.

Given the size of the project, it was divided between two of Delcam’s distributors. The Ukrainian reseller, the CAD/CAM Centre in Lvov, was made responsible for creating the mathematical model of the metal framework of the jeep, while Adequate Systems, Delcam’s distributor for Belarus, was tasked with creating the CAD data for the plastic bodywork used in the prototype model.

The framework had over 100 components of different degree of complexity. These were divided between the simpler parts that were modelled by specialists in the plant using solid modelling software and the more complex components that were created in Delcam’s PowerSHAPE hybrid modelling CAD software. All the individual parts were then combined in a single assembly within PowerSHAPE by the CAD/CAM Centre staff. 
The data for the bodywork was collected using PowerSHAPE’s PS-Arm reverse engineering system and a Romer measuring arm. The jeep had to be measured from fourteen positions; reference points were used to ensure that the measurements could be united in a global co-ordinate system. Each section of the shell was created separately and then assembled together within PowerSHAPE. Finally, staff from Adequate Systems merged the computer models of the framework and shell with each other.

Vladimir Antonov, Assistant to the Chief Engineer of the Plant, made the following comments: "The work was completed in six months, even though we had to make changes to the prototype design. Modifications were made to both the framework and the body shell, throughout which we had to maintain coordination of the two sets of data. From the final CAD model, full sets of design documentation were prepared, and moulds and assembly jigs manufactured for production.”

"As well as these practical advantages of working with Delcam software, there were other important benefits which were more difficult to quantify. Our engineers gained invaluable experience by working with the specialists from Lvov and Minsk. They increased their confidence in their ability to use the technology and their level of knowledge improved substantially. Furthermore, now that we have a CAD model of the jeep, it will be much easier to introduce modifications and design improvements in future.”