Design

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New Design Concept: Common Sense

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The latest iterations of Computer Aided Design software now combine the traditional drafting facilities with structural, flow and performance, Finite Element Analysis. In theory products can be taken from concept to proposed solution, rendering, testing and performance simulation through to proposed manufacturing route. All of this within the software environment, reducing time, the need for expensive physical testing, resulting in a fully formed solution that meets the design concept envelope.

I’ve got to get me one of those!

With all this fire power, millions of line of code, NASA level mathematics and algorithms that could run a small planet, why, when the shiny new drawings land on my desk for quotation are they so ridiculous?

We are humble Cold Forgers (look it up) who spend our days making things, real world products. Daily we receive what can only be called “Designers Dreams”

Our many years of experience enables us and I am sure other engineering companies to quickly grasp the purpose of the drawings we are asked to quote on (the design envelope) we then look at the drawings from a manufacturing point of view.

We see tolerances that can only be achieved by grinding, mirror finishes on flat surfaces, holes that would need to be bored, not drilled, ground pins that are made from stainless steel inserted into steel bodies (thus creating a galvanic cell [look it up] resulting in premature corrosion failure) Body designs which need to be milled, the list goes on and on. Oh yes and by the way the purchasing department that has been tasked with the un-enviable task sourcing this product need to bring it in for tuppence.

At what point in the programme does the system say “seriously, are you sure you want to do this?”

The design works great, the computer said it would. Where is the button you press to cost all these processes and give you an idea of the piece part price?

Why does this happen?

How many great concepts have failed because of the computer said yes but real life said “for that price? no way”

Part of the reason lies in the way FEA was developed. If you look at a conceptual model below the right hand side has been neglected to some extent at the expense of the left hand side

We have tried a different approach. We take the design concept envelope and de-construct it. Working closely with the original designers, we propose alternative strategies to provide the same (or better in many cases) performance but within the cost parameters the product must meet.

Our Design Support Agreement provides a low cost, low risk method of looking at alternative solutions that didn’t come out of the box.

This is aimed at metal-based manufacturing companies, it isn’t for everyone but a short conversation and exchange of the relevant NDA’s will enable us let you know whether we feel we have something to offer

Contact me, Steve Hardeman on +44(0)121-378-6950 to discuss the matter further or e-mail me at sales@clevtec.com 

Also please visit https://www.clevtec.com/services

 

Clevtec

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In  2008 when the world stopped due to the financial crash, we had to re-evaluate our business model as we realised that if people didn’t want the fasteners we manufactured at Clevedon, we were pretty much sunk. As a result we created Clevtec. Clevtec is a trading arm of Clevedon Fasteners Ltd and unlike Clevedon who are a purely a manufacturing entity, Clevtec is able to buy and sell product all over the world, as long as it made a return. This meant that as well as fasteners, Clevtec could venture into other parts of the fastener market, that we were unable to make at Clevedon.

Clevtec soon found that there was a latent demand of high quality threaded fasteners, particularly if they were of UK origin and so in 2012 we purchased a company called Blakeacre who specialised in high quality threaded fasteners and they became part of Clevtec. In addition to threaded fasteners, Clevtec over the years has got into Commercial Vehicle brake shoe platforms and various types of setting machines, the latest of which being spin riveters.

Clevtec’s latest market offering is a range of services that we believe our existing an new customers will find of interest. Over the past year we have been developing with a selected number of existing customers, two specific services:

 

Supplier reduction service

Design Support service

We are now in a position where we are able to offer these services to other customers. The details of these services will be on our new Clevtec Services web site and will be the subject of further Blogs in the future

Clevtec Services  https://www.clevtecservices.co.uk/

Contact us on 0121-378-5967

or email me on steve@clevtec.com

Designed to Fail

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In this age of high tech, computer based design. A growing problem is becoming obvious to us here at Clevedon. As you know, whilst we do some very clever cold forgings and self-piercing products, our main business is based on the humble rivet. Solid Semi-Tubular and Fully tubular rivets. Some of you reading this blog may not even know what these products are or will confuse them with “pop” or other blind rivets

Therein lies one of the problems with modern design techniques. A confluence of two factors, demise of “old style” apprenticeship’s where some of our best engineering talent learned their trade and the rise of the computer savvy, iPad literate younger generation, many young designers have not been taught some of the most basic, fundamental engineering techniques.

This is not their fault, most CAD systems are great at producing designs drawings. Unfortunately, only certain techniques are included in the various wizards and “look ups” which mean that only certain outcomes will be produced.

Quite often these unintentionally, pre-defined outcomes are very difficult to productionise and more importantly very costly to manufacture.

We have had experience of being told by very well meaning designers that our suggested fixing proposal will not work because their Finite Element Analysis (FEA)testing show that the rivet will fail at a particular load. This despite that fact that in our long history (we began business in 1939), we have never encountered a failure mode of the type the FEA predicted would happen. To prove the point, we undertook practical testing to discover what happens in actual practice. The rivet did not fail.

Drawings are sent to us where in order to realise the designers dream, the product needs to be turned, milled, drilled, ground etc.  Each operation results in expensive individual set up and run times and thereby the final product is very costly to manufacture, at which point some very innovative designs are dropped because they do not make economic sense to peruse.

Powder printed samples are very good straight off the CAD system, but are incapable of predicting that the whole project will fail due to the lack of basic engineering input at the beginning. The old adage rubbish in, rubbish out, still holds true. All of these very sophisticated, technologically advanced  CAD and FEA systems all have the same fundamental, inherent weaknesses and results in the waste of large amounts of time, money and company resources, to say nothing of the potentially game changing design concepts that never come to fruition.

Here at Clevedon (the parent of Clevtec) we do not claim to have all the answers, but we are very good basic engineers. Having had to fight against overseas competition that has destroyed many good UK engineering companies we do have a very good track record in providing low cost, practical, innovative solutions to seemingly intractable design issues.

For the above reasons we have introduced a “Design Support Agreement” to work with designers to put some of the practical elements back into the design process that don’t come straight out of the can. We have found this has the most beneficial effect when we are involved early on in the design cycle but have also been able to re-engineer designs that have got into difficulty (usually cost difficulties).

Please contact us and ask for Steve Hardeman and we will very soon be able to let you know if we are able to help.