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Across the pond Alibre Design makes a big splash.

Richmond Measurement Services chooses Alibre Design

Richmond Measurement Services of Derby, England designs instrumentation and test systems for many industrial companies. Formed in 1995, RMS works in aerospace, medical, power generation and transport sectors. Most projects require the incorporation of commercially available components into a bespoke system. Design work is carried out using mechanical, electrical and software CAD packages. Alibre Design was chosen as the 3D mechanical design package due to its advanced features and cost effective pricing.

"Alibre Design is ideal for part and assembly modeling of close tolerance components. We can import industry standard parts from leading manufacturers using SAT, IGES and STP formats and we can easily create bespoke components", said Bernard Killeen, design manager for the company.

RMS works with a variety of materials including steel, aluminum, plastic and wood. "We even produced stereo lithography models for casting platinum parts for an advanced technology aerodynamic probe" said Bernard. RMS also works closely with machining workshops. Here, it is important to be able to produce quality 2D detail drawings. Alibre Design's ability to convert 3D parts quickly to 2D drawings complete with geometric dimensioning, tolerance annotation and full parts lists is a real bonus. The parametric nature means that modifications are simple to implement and changes cascade through to the drawings seamlessly.

Aerodynamic Load Simulation
The project shown here involves the design of a pressure control system. Richmond needed to accurately control the pressure inside a series of inflatable air bags that applied load to a panel made from a composite material. The design involved implementing a set of solenoid valves for inlet and exhaust together with an electronics PCB to monitor the bag pressures. CAD models for the valves and manifolds were obtained from the manufacturer's website and configured for this application. An extremely useful feature of Alibre Design is the ability to combine parts into sub assemblies. Once the sub assembly has been defined, it can be reused many times in higher level assemblies. The printed circuit board and manifold adapter are bespoke items.

Again a single sub-assembly can be defined. The mechanical CAD model data was used in the PCB CAD system to ensure correct spacing and location of the interacting components. The primary concern is to ensure that errors are found during the design stage and not after manufacture. The enclosure was modeled in Alibre Design as a sub assembly and then, finally, all the sub assemblies were brought together into a top level assembly. One of the main aims of designing this way is to define the space envelope required as early in the project as practical. The initial design took around one week to complete and a full drawing set was produced in a few days.

Reverse Engineering
Lego has advanced considerably since the company added NTX technology, servo motors and sensors. It is still based on the same concept of building blocks for imaginative model making. "Lego Mindstorms" is a set of specially prepared pieces coupled with sensors, actuators and a programmable 'brain'. The designers at RMS wanted to experiment with model building using Alibre Design to help record and illustrate models. Each component was reverse engineered by simply measuring each part and modeling accordingly. The parts are designed around standard interface fixings and so Alibre Design's catalogue feature was pressed into service. A catalogue feature is a sketch or feature that is likely to be repeated many times across many parts. A hole with a specific diameter and depth is a typical example. Other features such as drive hole profiles were stored as catalogue features. The process of modeling all the components for the Lego NTX robot took surprising little time. Once the parts have been created, assemblies are simple to build. Parts are placed on the work screen and located against each other using constraints. Aligns, mates and tangents are typical constraints. The CAD model can be animated using Alibre Motion to reflect available movement.

About Richmond Measurement Services
RMS started trading in 1995 to supply a need in the Aerospace Industry for a wide range of instrumentation services. RMS offers a service that covers the application of sensors to industrial components through to the recording of test data. RMS manufactures a wide variety of airflow test rakes for measuring temperature and pressure. Vane instrumentation can include Leading edge, Aerofoil, Platform and Cavity sensor installation. RMS is located at Unit 4, Derwent Business Centre, Clarke Street, Derby, DE1 2BU ~ Tel: +44 (0)1332 364354

About Alibre, Inc.
Alibre is the leading global provider of cost effective professional grade mechanical CAD, CAM, and PDM solutions. Founded in 1997 and based in Richardson, Texas, Alibre develops Alibre Design™ and Alibre CAM™, the fastest growing parametric CAD/CAM solution on the market. One fifth the cost of comparable software, Alibre Design offers the same core features of SolidWorks, Pro/E, Inventor, and other mid-range solid modeling packages at a cost that is affordable to any business or individual. Alibre CAM extends Alibre Design to provide integrated 2 ½ to 5 axis CNC machining. Used by an immensely diverse user base, Alibre Design and Alibre CAM provide design and manufacturing solutions to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, consulting firms, machine shops, start-ups, hobbyists, inventors, teachers and students. Alibre products are distributed in 50 countries and in 15 languages.