Digital prototyping reduces lead times for Skoda Electric

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Digital prototyping is enabling Skoda Electric to make its design process more effective and is helping the company manage the transition from design to manufacture.

Autodesk reports that Czech Republic-based Skoda Electric has been using digital prototyping methods incorporated in Autodesk Inventor software to shorten delivery times and make design processes more effective. Skoda Electric is a supplier of traction electric drives, trolleybuses and traction engines, and has used Autodesk Inventor software to design a traction engine for the Skoda RegioPanter single-deck unit launched by Skoda Transportation, the parent company of Skoda Electric.

Using Inventor, the design team developed digital prototypes of the engine. These provided the data required to purchase parts with long lead times early in the project when individual components were still being developed. As a result, suppliers were involved much earlier in the development process, helping to streamline the product design process and prepare for manufacturing.

Martin Vlcek, Head of Technical Department, Division Traction Motors, Skoda Electric says: "Autodesk Inventor is very strong in 3D modelling and generating drawings. It has better functionality than our previous CATIA system, especially in terms of support for machining in the assembly process, which is key to the design of our products. Thanks to advanced integration, the assembly structure can be moved from Inventor directly to the bill-of-materials in the PLM system and this speeds up the whole design process." The ML 3942 K/4 traction engine is a four-position, open, asynchronous traction engine with a short-circuit armature for the individual drive of the wheel set of the type 7Ev suburban electric unit.

Because the engine is exposed to various external elements such as dust, sand, small stones, water, salt and snow, as well as vibrations in the vertical, horizontal and axial directions, the main focus was to significantly reduce engine-noise level. This was achieved by means of a suitable design, reducing the acoustics output by 10–15 decibels.

To date, Skoda Electric has benefited from the use of Inventor across many projects; for example, the development of engines for the Skoda 671 intercity unit for Slovak Railways, the Skoda 675 intercity unit for Ukrainea Caterpillar mining vehicle, the Hyundai Rotem locomotive for Turkey, the Bombardier tram for Krakow and city trolleybuses in Austria, Germany, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Martin Penaz, a Manager of Manufacturing Solutions at Autodesk, says: "Skoda Electric is a manufacturer delivering products all over the world. It is key that it delivers its products not only with traditional high quality, but also as quickly as possible. The digital prototyping functionality included in Autodesk Inventor helps to achieve these goals."

Skoda Electric worked with CAD Studio, an authorised Autodesk partner, on the implementation of Inventor. Vlcek concludes: "It was a smooth process, enabling us to quickly appreciate the superior functionality and generally lower operating costs of Inventor."

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