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Software Driving Hardware Changes.

ATV manufacturer transitions to 3D with added benefits

Ontario Drive and Gear (ODG) Ltd., New Hamburg, Ontario, designs, manufactures and sells amphibious, all-terrain vehicles. ARGOs are all-season machines that offer seating for up to six passengers, while the company's latest eight-wheeler, CENTAUR, is targeted for the commercial market and is expected to excel in tough conditions.

Since recent implementation of Inventor software from Autodesk, San Rafael, CA, John Donkers, ODG design technologist and CAD administrator, completely modeled the existing ARGO and CENTAUR vehicles in 3D for the first time. Donkers and the design team have also used Autodesk Inventor software to design vehicle accessories such as a brush guard, a roll bar, and dumpbox. These accessories were not available in the past and ODG had difficulty visualizing how the parts would look on their vehicles without building expensive prototypes. By modeling the entire ARGO using Autodesk Inventor, Donkers and his colleagues are now able to examine the form, fit, and function of the accessories in relation to the rest of the vehicle.

Prior to using Autodesk Inventor, Donkers and the engineering team worked only in 2D mode with another software package. "We made the decision to migrate to a 3D mechanical CAD system because we needed a tool to help us move product to market faster and more economically. For example, we wanted to eliminate some of the costly prototype building and testing." says Donkers. Previously, ODG required several whole vehicle prototypes for each of its products, at costs between $5,000 and $7,000.

Donkers hopes to use the software for numerous activities, including the generation of parts manuals. "Right now, our illustrator uses Corel and Pagemaker to document parts manuals that accompany each vehicle," notes Donkers. "Using Autodesk Inventor, we can document directly from the solid models, streamlining the design-to-manufacture process and reducing the time-consuming task of drawing. We can also create AVIs on axle and transmission assemblies so operators and assembly staff can understand how each assembly should be put together."
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Author:Mandel, Richard
Publication:Medical Equipment Designer
Date:Jul 1, 2001
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