Engineer Göran Ewerlöf and his partner Jonas Ahnmé, an industrial designer at GEPRO AB were engaged in a mechanical design project to create a new type of CD and DVD printing machine that would print using flexo-printing technology. Flexo-printing had been previously used mainly by the packaging industry.
With their 15 years of mechanical design experience, the two designers felt they were up to the task providing they could find a suitable CAD system. The required software would have to be capable of handling hundreds of parts with easy modification of geometry and the ability to create associative technical drawings of the parts and assemblies.
Their work with IRONCAD resulted in the EZ6, a machine that prints CD, DVD, and blu-ray discs with six colors, at low operating costs, with a maximum speed of 100 discs per minute.
The IRONCAD Advantage for Mechanical Design
After getting a tip from a colleague, Göran Ewerlöf contacted Solidmakarna AB in Sweden, IronCAD’s largest authorized reseller in the region. Previously, Göran had used a 2D application, which required him to use cardboard and other materials to create “virtual” 3D mockups of his mechanical designs. Jonas had used 3D surface modeling software but found that in a project of this magnitude, 2D and surfacing weren’t the right tools for the job.
Using IRONCAD, they found that the scene browser helped them keep track of everything from features to part to assemblies. Also the capability to easily change radii and the sizes and placement of holes was a definite benefit. Both engineers increased their workload using drag and drop to create their 3D assemblies. This IRONCAD environment allowed them to do complex analysis of their mechanical designs ensuring correct fit and function and the built-in mechanism mode enabled simulated movement to ensure assemblies were collision free and structurally sound.
Arriving at the Perfect Machine
With a goal of printing 100 discs per minute, the finished machine had to be highly accurate and precise. The 3D model needed to be perfect and IRONCAD delivered. The final design was a machine that, using advanced servo motors with ultra high accuracy, performed gearless printing with direct-driven high resolution press rollers for an optimal print. Printing and curing stations that printed with six different colors with a resolution of between 133 and 150 lpi obtained the final high quality image, resulting in a machine that beat all competitors.
Their mechanical design concept called for six print stations, one for each color. After creating the first station, all they had to do was use the TriBall to make six linked copies. Jonas and Göran were able to prototype and test very quickly as they didn’t have to spend time buried in software manuals. They could try different design scenarios without worrying about breaking history dependencies or having to follow rigid design rules. They could simply immerse themselves in IRONCAD’s uniquely intuitive interface and let their creativity take over. The machine is a great success with hundreds of precision milled and precision turned mechanical parts, sheet metal parts and vacuum formed components all created and assembled in IRONCAD.
The design of the EZ6 printer has been a tremendous success for GEPRO. The machine has already been thoroughly tested at Sweden’s largest CD, DVD and blu-ray manufacturer, Media Plant AB with great results and even won an honorary Miller Impression Award for Innovations/Design.
“I feel inspired by IRONCAD because it is so easy to try wild ideas, which is important for me as an inventor,” said Göran Ewerlöf. “To construct complex parts and assemblies has become easier because I can now use my imagination when I actually see the part in the 3D virtual world. I build my designs in under a week and by the following Monday I can simulate everything. I now optimize all my products before production takes place.”
“With IRONCAD, I am able to keep track of very large assemblies, and also easily make changes to parts (apply shelling and radiuses, make holes etc.,) without having to rebuild the part like I would in a surface modeler,” said Jonas Ahnmé. “This allows me to freely explore different design concepts and stay creative.”