Just as Michelangelo once said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it,” Henk Meijer says, “In each piece of iron, a gear wheel is hidden.” He would know; Meijer is CEO at manufacturer Bierens, a company that’s been revealing those concealed cogs for more than 70 years.
Based in the Netherlands, Bierens produces custom gears, accurate up to 2 microns, for well-known brands such as DuPont, Rolls Royce, and Bosch. You’ll also find Bierens parts in mining, construction, energy, and just about any other application that calls for mechanical movement.
“Specifically, where the highest demands on surface requirements or gear quality must be met, Bierens is the perfect solution,” writes the company its website.
Bierens designs, tests, and manufactures it all in house. And there’s more. Bierens engineers don’t just optimize familiar cogwheels and racks, they also innovate new ones as manufacturing technology evolves.
With the introduction of freeform 5-axis CNC machines, which allow complex shapes to be milled in one action, Bierens recently unearthed something else new in an old block of iron. That is, they’ve begun producing an innovative S-shaped gear. The company says the new design leads to 30% more power transfer compared to conventional gear shapes. Plus, it produces less heat and noise.
You can see the Bierens’ manufacturing process in the video below (Click the [CC] button and Settings > Subtitles > Translate Captions to see English subtitles):
While the CNC machine provides accuracy and efficiency, the team at Bierens thought it could cut costs and improve performance well before manufacturing too. Traditionally, the company outsourced the analysis phase of product development. That is, a highly specialized team would evaluate Bierens’ engineering designs for structural and thermal performance. A necessary step, analysis makes the designs more robust before going to production.
But Bierens recognized that outsourcing the work also introduces a couple problems. First, there can be a lengthy wait for the external team to return results of the tests. That in turn discourages engineers from trying new things or refining a model, because too often a small tweak to a model can translate into another lengthy analysis cycle.
So, working with a little guidance from PTC Value-Added Reseller GPO Solutions, Bierens began using PTC Creo Simulate to do much of the work themselves. With PTC Creo Simulate, engineers can analyze the performance of their models from within PTC Creo. They model in PTC Creo Parametric as per usual and then apply loads, materials, and boundary conditions to the design geometry in PTC Creo Simulate.
Now engineers can quickly see the results and adjust the model to improve the model, producing higher quality designs faster than ever.
Dr. Ir. Noud van Roosmalen, Head of the Technology & Development Center at Bierens, says that the PTC solution proves to be easy to use and development moves faster than ever. “Now we save 30 to 40% of our development time by using PTC Creo Simulate to analyze capabilities.”
That translates to a 30-40% savings in time to market, as well as a 20% reduction in development costs overall.