Moving food from factory to table
The flakes in corn flakes, the toffee in chocolate bars and the oats in oatmeal all have one thing in common: they were probably flattened, rolled or otherwise processed by equipment from AT Ferrell.
Autodesk has named AT Ferrell as the August 2009 Inventor of the Month for its use of Autodesk Inventor software for the design and engineering of its roller mills and other industrial food processing machines. The Inventor of the Month programme recognises the most innovative design and engineering advancements made by the extensive community using Autodesk Inventor software, which takes manufacturers beyond 3D to Digital Prototyping. With Inventor, manufacturers can create a single digital model that gives them the ability to design, visualise and simulate products before they are built to reduce the need for physical prototypes.
AT Ferrell's roller mills use high pressure rollers to flatten grains to the exact thickness required to create the perfect corn flake, for example, or to crack a piece of toffee without crushing it. Using Inventor software enables AT Ferrell to take advantage of built-in features such as parametric modeling and finite element analysis so the company's machines can successfully operate under high-pressure conditions while meeting all tolerance requirements.
"Using Inventor software to create a 3D digital prototype means we no longer have to cut metal to prove the feasibility of a design," said Allen Gager, a design engineer and CAD manager at AT Ferrell. "We know exactly how a mill will perform before it's been built. Additionally, Autodesk Vault Workgroup helps us keep track of our designs and improves our ability to reuse designs and components, which speeds the development of new products."
On a recent project, using Inventor software for Digital Prototyping enabled A.T. Ferrell's designers to identify a problem, test the existing design and develop a new design all in one day. This efficiency has allowed A.T. Ferrell to greatly simplify the design-to-manufacture process and develop innovative new equipment.
"Machines play an important role in every aspect of our daily lives - even the foods we eat," said Robert "Buzz" Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk. "Inventor software is helping A.T. Ferrell move beyond 3D to explore fully working digital prototypes of their industry-leading machines."
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