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SMC Automation AB


Need: to easily and quickly create customised solutions in 3D. To be able to freely modify these to optimise the solution. To document which components are used on a 2D drawing with a complete parts list. And to present the result to the customer in a visually clear way.

Solution: IRONCAD.

Result: significant increase in efficiency, big time savings and SMC reaching the market faster.

The world's largest manufacturer of industrial pneumatics

Industry is increasingly using pneumatics to automate manufacturing and assembly. By using pneumatics to automate the manufacturing process, the customer gets a solution that is easy to use, costs relatively little, has high safety and low impact on the environment.
A really big supplier of systems, knowledge and components in this area is SMC. In fact, SMC is the largest manufacturer of industrial pneumatics in the world! In Sweden, SMC Automation AB is headquartered in Stockholm with sales offices around the country. The development has been really strong for SMC. The company has now also expanded its production capacity with new development and manufacturing resources in Riga, Latvia. Solidmakarna has now delivered IRONCAD licenses to SMC in Latvia as well.  

Layout sketch - the first step to a customised solution

The customer wants a machine to do a certain job. For this function, the customer often needs advice. SMC's business concept is to actively help the customer to choose the optimal components and solutions for their needs. The salesperson can make a simple layout sketch when visiting the customer. It shows, for example, where on the valve cabinet the outlets should be, which forms the basis for a hole punch drawing. He also draws a diagram listing the components that the customer wants in the cabinet. The salesman informs the system design department of the various solutions that need to be created.

Over 9,000 different components to Drag & Drop right into the 3D environment

The order form goes to the system layout where Pål Hallström and colleagues work.
They take the sketch and the diagram in IRONCAD and produce components according to the customer's wishes and put them in the cabinet. A valve cabinet can contain around 100 components. Over 9,000 components are stocked at SMC Automation and they are available in 530,000 variants, so the choice is huge!

Pål says: "We use IRONCAD for everything, even pure 2D pneumatic schematics. We can then add these to the assembly line if the customer wishes. We have found it to be superior in speed and agility to work with compared to other 3D CAD programs. We have become more efficient and are making significant time savings. We also have access to courses and trainings where we get many tips and learn different tricks."

It is also important to choose the right type and size of components. In addition, it is important to place the items optimally in the cabinets in the rather limited space to facilitate both assembly and maintenance. This is where 3D really helps.

"It's easy to pull in components from IRONCAD's catalogues which are always available at the side of the screen. The fact that entire compilations can be managed seamlessly in a single file makes it easier. We also don't have to think about constraints. Working with Triball and the cut and paste functions in 3D speeds up our work."

3D shows the way for hose drawing

The valve cabinets contain a variety of hoses. "It works very well to make hoses for the valve cabinets in IRONCAD. You create a 3D curve freely in the space between the connections and sweep a circle along this - done. We can give the hoses different colours and even split the surfaces of the hoses to give different colours to different parts of the hoses. The hoses in the valve boxes must have a certain minimum radius or they will break. With IRONCAD , we can see at the design stage whether the hoses can be drawn a certain way and avoid unnecessary redesigns later on."

The picture above shows how one of SMC's models looks like in IronCAD Webviewer.

Rendered images and WEB formats in 3D

Rendered images can be produced for the feasibility studies. These are salesy and facilitate the understanding of the client. "A neat feature is that you can put a colour image of the 3D model on a 2D drawing along with the bill of materials where you want everything transparent but the ducts in the valves and blocks should be visible. These can be highlighted with different colours. From this you create a pdf file with a single right click that everyone can read." Pål points out.
IRONCAD can also export the entire 3D model in a WEB format that does not require a viewer at the customer's site. Only one link needs to be emailed. Anyone can now view and rotate in 3D in a standard browser. It makes communication much easier.


Once the customer has approved the solution, it's just a matter of installing the components the customer wants in the cabinet. The assembly department does this. After the assembly is completed, the cabinet is tested pneumatically and electrically. Then it is plug and play for the customer once they have received the cabinet. SMC can also supply assembly on sheet metal if required. If the customer wishes to assemble the cabinet himself, all items are delivered as a kit together with assembly, pneumatic and electrical drawings.

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