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In a way, engineers working in mechanical industry are involved in creating the future. They are the driving force behind many technologies and industrial processes, including both traditional and innovative products.

Mechanical engineering is the most important branch of engineering that deals with design and production of tools, machines and all other mechanical equipments used in industries. It deals with all types of industrial machinery and all aspects of their mechanism and functioning: the design, development, construction, production, installation, operation and maintenance of air conditioning and heating machines, refrigerators etc to name a few. They not only design and create new products, but also develop ways of making them.

The work of a mechanical engineer can be extremely challenging and fulfilling. As their work involves production, transmission and use of mechanical power and heat, they have to study different materials used for the machines and their tolerances, study the different energy sources and the power they generate and the design problems if any. While designing and making a commercial product they have to take into account the business and marketing aspects to make sure that the product is affordable and matches customer requests.

In this context, 3D solid models can significatively improve the daily work of a mechanical engineer.

Going to 3D

Solid modeling shortens design cycles, streamlines manufacturing processes, and accelerates products introduction by improving the flow of product design information and communication throughout an organization, as well as among its suppliers and customers. For a manufacturing company business this means faster time-to-market and higher quality products, that translates into increased revenues, while reduced design costs provide larger profit margins.

The main benefits of going to 3D

By adopting the 3D modeling practise, the mechanical manufacturer can benefit in the following ways:

  • Faster product design;
  • Automatic flattening of sheet metal parts (with bend allowance);
  • More effective communication with suppliers/customers;
  • Visualize more ‘what-if’ scenarios during the design process;
  • More effective internal design reviews;
  • Easily incorporate late design changes;
  • Test and validate your designs to reduce costs from quality problems and mistakes;
  • Automatic Bills of Materials;
  • Helps to standardize on detailing and drafting practices;
  • Automate your design process and increase speed and accuracy of output and response to customers;
  • Allow non-technical personnel such as sales department (and even customers) to quote, specify and configure product whilst maintaining your design & engineering integrity.

 Automatic generation of 3D model by using a selection software

The latest frontier of 3D modeling in AHU manufacturing industry consists in the possibility of automatic generation of an unit 3D solid model offered by an advanced selection software.

An on-the-edge example of advanced 3D unit models generation software is AHU Designer by Altec srl. In a nutshell, this integrated platform allows the automatic generation of 3D solid models of a selected AHU in the native format of the main 3D design frameworks availables on the market, such as:

  • Autodesk Inventor;
  • SolidWorks;
  • Pro Engineer/Creo.

The generation of the 3D model is smoothly integrated with the selection module used for the calculation of the units relevant information like lengths, weights, pressure drops, costs and prices, providing an integrated platform that targets the many requirements and needs that an AHUs manufacturer must cope along the entire process of selection, design and construction of the units.

Depending on the manufacturer’s needs, different types of 3D models can be automatically generated, with increasing complexities.

Generation of a model of the unit structure

A first level of detail is the ability to generate a 3D model containing the unit structure, the panels, the profiles and the positioning of the dampers, so as to obtain a solid model of the outside panel.

This model is suitable for designers of the technical office of the manufacturer, who will be able to:

  • Check the dimensions;
  • Check the structure of the unit.

The following are some examples that illustrate the potential of the software:


3D Unit structure example - Pro/E

3D Unit structure example – Pro/E


 3D structure

Generation of a model of the unit with components inside

A next level of complexity consists in the automatic generation of 3D models of the internal parts of the unit, that shows the exact layout of all components and all of the sheets of the unit, whether they are metal sheets for the panels of the structure or internal metal sheets.

For panels, it will be used detailed models that indicate the exact arrangement of the two plates that form the panel with the necessary workings and holes. Similarly, for the internal metal sheets will be generated drawings that show the correct folds of sheet metal and machining and holes.

From this model it will be possible to automatically generate the necessary documentation needed to the production, particularly the drafting of individual sheets with their workings and all the necessary files to be sent as input to the punching machines used in the production plant.

The following pictures show some examples of the whole unit and of metal sheet 3D model:


 3D Unit 23D metal sheet

Generating a 3D model for the customers

Another important application of 3D drawings is to generate a model for the end customer. In this case, the accessories of each section of the machine (these are particulars that can be chosen as add on to the basic elements), the models of the doors and removable doors (useful to inspect the internal parts of the unit) and every other detail which helps to complete the model of the unit will be detailed in the drawing.

3D model for the unit assembly

The next stage of the 3D unit modelling, with the highest level of detail possible is to propose a scheme of assembling the units (“IKEA-like” model). This will allow the shipment of the machines disassembled, with considerable savings in transportation costs.

The model will allows the visualization of the assembly diagram of the entire unit and thus requires a very high level of detail, having to report every single elements, screws and assembly components.

Advantages of an automatic 3D solid model generation software

With Altec’s AHU Designer advanced solutions, we can help you to reduce your design-to-launch time and develop modern products for an ever changing market. We can also help your company reduce costs and improve profits.

Using our knowledge and experience with AHUs lifecycle management, Altec’s solutions can help your company speed development and increase revenue through faster conception-to-market times. Our solutions will provide your company with faster product delivery and overall management of your entire production process.

We can also help you to structure your project plans to achieve greater productivity, enable all parties involved in conceptualizing, designing, building and supporting products to operate as a single entity, produce more personalized products through shared business processes and a common knowledge of the product throughout all stages of its lifecycle, from concept to delivery.

Our AHU CAD design solutions are designed to help you adapt quickly to individual customer preferences and shorten production time, while maximizing your revenues. We can help you reduce operating costs, improve product time to market, develop better, more innovative and personalized products.


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