From hand-drawn sketches to luxury yachts
Sealing components for the maritime industry
Winel designs and manufactures sealing components for the maritime industry, mostly for yacht builders; the projects often concern yachts costing tens of millions of euros. Examples include a slide-out balcony, a door that can be raised to reveal a stowage compartment for a dinghy, or a door to provide access to an on-board helicopter. But the Assen-based company's sealing components not only find their way onto luxury yachts; the doors, vents, and more can also be found on commercial ships, including both inland and maritime vessels.
80 to 90 personnel
Between 80 to 90 staff members work at Winel, and additional personnel are occasionally hired. 'At the moment there are four designers in the draughting room, and three people from the planning department also use Inventor; in total the company has nine licences,' explains Reezigt. The overhead is deliberately kept in check, so approximately one fifth of our staff has it.'
In our draughting room, we design customer-specified sealant mechanisms for luxury yachts from 60 metres in length. As Reezigt explains, 'that can be a platform to enter the water with a jet ski, or a door behind which a smaller boat is stored for the owner to take short trips. Through the open door, that boat is placed into the water using a support bar and a small crane.
Everything is delivered 'turn-key' on site at the yacht dockyard, and our staff connect the electrical wiring. For the specials, the company keeps within 1000 kilometres of Assen. When their people have to travel, the company prefers that they can journey back and forth in one day. That means that there are mainly deliveries to yacht builders in Germany and the Netherlands. Other products, however, have a global range.
From sketch to product in three years
Reezigt explains: 'Building a yacht usually takes three years, so we are contacted early in the process. With new construction, we often have a year of throughput time. The customer talks to the builder about his needs, and we then make a design sketch which the builder discusses again with the customer. This frequently takes quite some time. It can take up to a month before you get the changes back for a drawing.
The base is a hand-drawn sketch, sometimes supplemented with photos of previously created and similar products, which will be shown to the customer for consultation. That sketch is then uploaded into Inventor, supplemented with additional information, and a physical model with planing, extruding, and intruding is created on this basis. If approval is given, the final door is manufactured in sheet metal.' The materials used include steel, stainless steel, aluminium, and bullet-proof Kevlar that is outsourced as composites.
Previously WINEL worked in 3D with a few HiCAD stations. Winel's requirements to simulate, visualize, and communicate the designs prompted their decisions to explore the market for 3D software again. They opted for Autodesk Inventor at that time because many external agencies with which Winel collaborates also work with Inventor, which facilitates communication. Moreover, secondment agencies provided knowledgeable engineers that were experienced in Inventor.
Simulation during the design process
'With Inventor, we're able to simulate the operation in advance and we can control for any snags. Previously, we would sometimes discover conflicts during on-site assembly, but that is now a thing of the past.'
Cadac Group takes care of the implementation. 'We usually reserve the holiday period for updating the software to the latest version. Together with a seconded consultant from Cadac, a method is determined for how to deal with the supplied double-curved hulls, because that is a truly a profession in its own right.More about simulation
Autodesk Vault for engineering document management
Currently, WINEL uses Product Design Suite Ultimate with Inventor Professional. For a long time drawings were outsourced, but they have satisfactorily worked with Inventor for five years now.
The document management now includes file folders containing PDFs, 2D drawings, and 3D models that are stored separately. If desired, new versions of PDFs and 2D drawings are created, thus they are not automatically updated. This is done so that old versions are retained and the process can be followed. The 100% standard parts are stored in Autodesk Vault and they draw electrical diagrams with AutoCAD.More about Autodesk Vault