Westfield Sportscars is now using Autodesk Inventor design software in a bid to reduce the number of chassis prototypes it builds from ten to one or two, thereby cutting costs and reducing lead times.
One of the UK's leading manufacturers of hand-built sportscars, Westfield Sportscars, has switched to Autodesk Inventor design software because of its versatility and digital prototyping capability. The managing director of the family-run firm, Julian Turner, explains that lengthening waiting lists for the cars have led the company to consider ways to minimise lead times. He predicts that cutting the number of physical prototypes made and instead using the Inventor model for testing and analysis will help significantly in this goal.
He says: "We are under constant pressure to produce more cars. Previously we would build ten chassis prototypes, try them all, test them and then destroy them. Using Inventor to build a digital prototype to check for design clashes and then using it for more complex analyses such as emissions testing will both encourage innovation and help to raise productivity, as it will enable us to cut physical prototypes to just one or two."
Westfield currently produces over 400 cars a year. Manufactured at the firm's West Midlands headquarters, and sold either factory-built or as self-assembly kits, these are renowned for their craftsmanship, speed and agility. Consequently, demand is constantly high and order books are always full.
Turner explains that Westfield's two design engineers previously used a combination of AutoCAD and a competitive package. However, they decided to migrate to Inventor, "because of its multi-functional capability. For example, we do all our manufacturing in house – Inventor gives detailed manufacturing guidelines so it does a lot of the work for us.
"Also, because the Inventor model can be used for analysis – and in fact the solution does include certain testing and simulation tools - we can cut down the amount of analysis work we need to outsource. Eventually we also want to use the 3D models in our build manuals too.
"Although we have only just started with Inventor, we foresee we will be using it extensively in the future to help move the business forward."