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Third-generation hydraulic design software from HydraForce.


HydraForce has released the third generation of its i-Design software, which is intended to allow hydraulic control and sales engineers to create custom-integrated manifolds for mobile hydraulic applications, i-Design Version 3 includes several enhancements from the original version, which was introduced by HydraForce in 2006.

The i-Design program is based on and incorporates many features of Famic Technology's Automation Studio. The Canadian company's software was developed to assist in circuit design, simulation and project documentation of fluid power systems used in construction, mining, agricultural and forestry machinery.

Like its earlier iterations, i-Design Version 3 allows the user to create custom-integrated manifolds from the earliest design stages through pricing and quoting to customers. It incorporates the schematic layout and pricing tools from previous versions and adds a 3-D layout tool that helps the machine designer understand and visualize the design of the manifold more easily.

Manifold systems can be designed either using a drag-and-drop system or through a Project Parameters segment that allows the user to select specific technical parameters as default values that will carry throughout all component selections. After designing the circuit, the user can specify where to locate valves, ports and mounting holes on the manifold and define maximum envelope dimensions.

When a manifold system is completed, the program will run an automatic design check that will provide a variety of detailed warnings, such as incomplete product specifications, errors in component size, pressures or flow settings, etc. After the design is checked, the system generates a report that contains information from all parts of the project, including customer and distributor information, technical parameters, the circuit, the manifold layout, the bill of material, warnings and revision history.

Reporting enhancements for the new i-Design tool include an ISO metric view of the manifold, estimated manifold and extrusion size, as well as the estimated weight of the manifold. All of these are based on the user's definition of the assembly.

Another improvement is that users can now specify the location of the ports, valve mounting holes, etc., in a real-time 3-D editor. The 2-D interface of the six faces is available for users that are comfortable with the previous face. The 3-D editor provides a representation of the valves, ports and other components drawn to scale, allowing the user to size the manifold extrusion such that the representation will closely match the final design. The manifold length and extrusion can be manipulated simply by grabbing the grip points surrounding the various surfaces. Understanding the relative size of the manifold is useful for the machine designer who needs to allocate space in their overall assembly or has a predetermined space in their machine that the manifold must fit.


A full 3-D rendering of the assembly is also available, which also aids in documenting the ability of an assembly to be fitted into an overall machine design. If components are too close to one another or there is some other obstruction, the color will change from blue to red or orange, respectively. After the user has placed the components in the required position, the user can select the autofit function. The block size will decrease until a minimum size is achieved based on the placement of the components and available extrusion sizes.

The complete HydraForce product catalog is included in the software library, and approved i-Design users can also receive pricing information. Previous versions of i-Design required the user to generate a report in order to see the complete assembly list price, including all the manifold components. With i-Design Version 3, the user can request the price of the manifold at any point during circuit layout or placement onto the manifold surface by using a "Get Total Price" function. This feature makes it even easier to do "what if" variations for cost evaluation, HydraForce said.

To access i-Design, users must register with and receive authorization from HydraForce. The updated program is also available on CD. HydraForce maintains an i-Design Help Desk to accommodate user questions.
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Title Annotation:mobile hydraulics 2009
Publication:Diesel Progress North American Edition
Date:Sep 1, 2009
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