Original Date: 04/20/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Rapid Prototyping
ITT Aerospace/Communications Division (A/CD) developed Rapid Prototyping to shorten its mechanical design/development cycle time and to improve the success of first-article environmental tests. This process uses an electronic suite of software tools to quickly produce a prototype, which provides the engineer with additional time to consider tradeoffs and alternative evaluations. The result is a higher quality final product. Early mechanical prototypes also enhance producibility by reducing fabrication costs and assembly problems through early detection, and by increasing manufacturing feedback to resolve issues prior to production release. Previously, a drawing/sketch had to be produced before a part could be machined. The machining house then interpreted the drawing/sketch which increased the chance of translation errors occurring. In addition, design issues were often not discovered until the first-article part was produced, resulting in expensive redesigns. ITT Aerospace/ Communications Division needed a new process that identified issues early in the design process, eliminated interpretation errors, and performed fit checks (tests) prior to the release of final drawings.
ITT A/CD created Rapid Prototyping utilizing state-of-the-art, integrated mechanical CAD/CAM systems and processes (including 3-D solids modeling using Pro/ENGINEER and Pro/MANUFACTURE software) to allow direct use of the design database by modelshop and manufacturing personnel as well as outside suppliers. Pro/ENGINEER enables fit checks to be performed prior to the release of final drawings, accounting for most real- world situations. After entering a design into Pro/ENGINEER, the engineer can electronically transfer it into Pro/MANUFACTURE where a target file is produced for the target modelshop process. Metal parts can be produced in one to three days if testing is needed, and stereolithography parts can be produced in three to five days if fit checking is needed. The electronic suite of tools provides software compatibility and integration:
Concept uses Pro/ENGINEER Drawing (if required) uses Pro/DRAFT
Fabrication uses Pro/MANUFACTURE
Analysis (if required) uses Pro/MESH
Electrical (if required) uses Pro/ECAD
Inspection uses Pro/CMM (available soon) or CAV
Rapid Prototyping provides ITT A/CD with a paperless process to reduce design/development cycle times and successfully produce first-article parts. The 3-D electronic representations result in higher quality designs, lower design costs, improved customer confidence, and more successful first-time assembly of products. The company identifies design issues earlier which reduces expensive redesigns. Rapid Prototyping’s compatible suite of tools eliminates translation errors, promotes design control, and provides quicker design turnaround.
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