How American Augers Cut 25% Off Design Time with Creo

Suppose you need to run a pipeline across the countryside, but you don’t want to disrupt existing surface features and infrastructure—such as railways, highways, or streams and rivers. Your solution can be found in what’s called “trenchless technology,” a method for creating infrastructure by boring under the earth’s surface. Trenchless encompasses several different techniques for underground construction, but one of the most common is the auger bore.

Here’s how it works: you simply construct a pit on either side of the feature you want to route your pipeline under, set a giant auger bore in one of the pits, and start drilling toward the other side.

Okay, it’s a little more complicated than that, and a lot more fascinating. The animation below illustrates:

American Augers, based in West Salem, Ohio, makes the machinery that punches through the earth in projects like the one shown in the video. In fact, the company builds a full range of auger boring machines and the largest horizontal directional drills in the industry.

That includes the ABM 72-1200. Not the most catchy product name, but it tells you everything you need to know: It’s an auger boring machine (ABM) that can produce holes up to 72 inches in diameter with a maximum thrust of 1,200,000 lb. See it come together and get to work in this video:

But while American Augers powers through tough rock and earth all over the world, not long ago it slowed down a bit and reconsidered its product development processes. The company had ambitious growth goals, and wanted to support more projects per year. With up-to-date CAD and PLM software technologies, the company hoped it could push forward, but at the same time keep costs down, better utilize assets, and engage in lean manufacturing methods.

With more efficient software, the team hoped it could improve system performance, taking deadline pressure off the design team, too. That’s why they enlisted the most recent releases of Creo and Windchill.

With Creo, engineers work with the most powerful and flexible 3D CAD software on the market. Among its broad range of powerful 3D CAD capabilities, Creo includes sheetmetal design features for creating walls, bends, punches, notches, and more. Plus it automatically generates flat patterns from 3D geometry.

To get even more from the software, American Augers added Creo Advanced Assembly Extension (AAX). With Creo AAX, critical design information can be shared with individual team members enabling them to work concurrently, all within the context of the full assembly.  Plus, it offers a host of specialized functions that make designing and managing assemblies much easier.

Windchill completes the picture by providing CAD data management and collaboration between design and manufacturing. The software creates a single, trusted, central data repository that ensures all design data is tracked and up to date. Now anyone, anywhere within the enterprise or extended team can communicate and collaborate by accessing the tools in Windchill.

The results?

“We design 25% faster using the new sheetmetal features in Creo,” says Joe Francz, product engineer/CAD administrator. That includes new tools for flattening, unbending, and creating flanges.

Large assembly design time and iterations are down by 25% with Creo AAX.

And communication among engineers and non-engineers alike is improved with Windchill, as team members and manufacturing can easily access the latest design data—even without being CAD experts.

“Windchill has improved productivity for our engineers,” says Francz. ”Now they can effectively manage design data and ensure that manufacturing is always using the most up-to-date files.”

Find out more about Windchill and how it can help your company work more efficiently with its valuable design and engineering data.

Learn more about PTC and product data management (PDM).