Delcam's CADCAM software makes trains run on time

An Employee using the Software
A Changchun Train

The addition of Delcam’s Power Solution CADCAM software at China’s Changchun Railway Vehicle Co. Ltd. has helped the company to meet Government targets for better trains capable of operating at higher speeds. The introduction of the new software was part of a general improvement of the company’s manufacturing facilities. The decision to specify Power Solution software followed one of most thorough evaluations ever experienced by Delcam China.

Changchun Railway Vehicle Co. Ltd. was formed in 2001, as part of a restructuring of the region’s industry. It incorporated the Changchun Car Company, which was built as one of the 156 key construction projects during the First Five-Year Plan of China, as well as many other enterprises. It is now the biggest passenger train production base in the country, with more than 8,000 employees.

In 2003, in order to respond to the government strategy for increasing railway speed, the company started to choose its next generation of CADCAM software. The evaluation involved engineers and technical consultants from throughout the manufacturing sections over a six-month period.

For the first stage, each of the competing suppliers had to install demonstration software and train a group of technical staff for one week. Even at this stage, the Delcam software became a strong contender because it was easy to learn and easy to use. Also praised were the high efficiency and high speed of its machining strategies, the gouge and collision detection, the very quick calculation speeds and the comprehensive post-processing functions.

The technical staff involved in the software selection then visited Delcam users within the First Automobile Works of China to obtain information not only on the suitability of the software but also on the support and training provided by Delcam China.

The next stage was for engineers from each CADCAM company to generate five-axis toolpaths for a sample mould, with all the programming undertaken live in sequence on the same computer. The result was that the total programming time needed by the Delcam engineer was nearly 25% less than the best performance of any of the other suppliers.

The programs generated were then used to machine sample moulds. Only the Delcam programs were able to produce the mould to the quality required at the first attempt. One other competitor managed to reach a similar standard but only after adjusting and revising its programs many times. In addition, the machining time needed for the Delcam program was 30% less than that of the other software.

As a result of its investigation, Changchun Railway Vehicle has subsequently purchased many seats of Delcam’s PowerSHAPE and PS-Draft for design and of the PowerMILL CAM system for 3-axis and 5-axis high-speed machining. The Delcam software subsequently contributed to the success of the new Model 25T passenger train that was both produced on schedule and enabled the planned increase in national railway speed to be achieved.

The company has also used Delcam software for its spare part production, which was previously programmed manually. This change has given similar large improvements in process efficiency and quality.