Ian Barrett, CAD and Engineering Specialist, tells us more about his role and how the SAM Project can help SMEs embrace CAD and CAM technologies.
Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) technologies were developed in the ‘80s and are now widespread across the industry, helping improve practicality and productivity for businesses the world-over.
Throughout my career, all of my roles have involved some form of design, especially during the early days of CAD adoption, from developing consumer products to large scale heavy engineering projects. I also have a vast knowledge of prototype manufacture (both rapid prototyping and small batch production) and testing.
This has helped me establish an excellent working relationship with customers and colleagues who – as a result – trust my judgement when it comes to all things CAD and engineering. A business’ needs must be managed, and I take responsibility to gather the relevant information, design or fit a solution to overcome any issues, put them in place and ensure the manufacturer is satisfied and that – more importantly – the problem has been solved, and not just with a ‘sticking plaster’, so to speak.
Due to my experience, knowledge and role, I am actively involved in a whole host of engineering projects, carrying out design layout, concept and prototype design, design for manufacture studies, drawing creation, FEA studies and providing additional information to customers who may require support that is over and above the usual role of a design engineer.
The SAM Project, our Prototype Factory, at The Industry Centre, and most importantly, our staff, allow the region’s manufacturers to experience and benefit from technology and knowledge that – in usual circumstances – would be difficult to access. Especially for small businesses. It’s also all under one roof and on their doorstep, at absolutely no cost to their business.
Recent success stories include using CAD to help an SME manufacturer develop a transparent, bullet-proof security barrier for the armed forces. Not only did we design the modular framework and supporting accessories, we also provided a scale prototype allowing the customer to have meaningful conversations with not just the MOD but also their finance and funding bodies.
Another saw us work with a family-owned beauty salon which – prior to tapping into our support – had absolutely no manufacturing or design experience. We helped them develop their idea for an easy-to-clean, portable, mobile hygiene screen and brought the idea to life by creating a fully functioning prototype. They are now looking at selling the product across the globe.
So, if you’re an SME manufacturer in the North East wondering how you could benefit from adopting CAD, need to provide CAD data and are not sure the best route to do it, or get the most out of your current CAD installations, why not pay us a visit at the University of Sunderland and see for yourself how our support could benefit your business?