Leading role in China
With a history dating back nearly 30 years, and more than 20 years of specialized manufacturing experience, Beijing Long-Yuan Switch Equipment Co., Ltd. (Long-Yuan) supplies medium-voltage (MV) and high-voltage (HV) switch products, as well as electrical equipment used in special environments such as railways, mines and new energy applications.
HV switches play an important role in electrical equipment, controlling and protecting role power transmission and distribution. As a result, quality control is the most important aspect of Long-Yuan’s operation. Relying on a technology-driven development mode, Long-Yuan promotes continuous improvement in technologies and quality, a focus that has given the company a 15 percent share of the Chinese market, as well as a presence internationally.
Long-Yuan is equipped with world-class, high-precision numerical control (NC) lathes, 5-axis NC machining centers, high-precision and high-efficiency NC laser cutting machine tools, high-voltage insulation testing equipment, and partial discharge testing equipment, as well as fully automatic wire processing machines specifically for HV and low voltage (LV) switches and assemblies. Overall, the company has some of the most advanced industrial equipment in China.
PLM for product advancement
The company’s success has always depended on the health of the electrical industry. When the industry experienced a downturn in 2011, Long-Yuan management realized that the company’s stable customer base and robust products would help in facing the crisis. The company also made some major changes to its design process, installing product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions from Siemens PLM Software. These included Solid Edge® software for computer-aided design (CAD) and Femap™ software for finite element analysis (FEA) pre- and post-processing. The company now uses these PLM technologies for new product advancement, speeding research and development (R&D) and gradually building one of China’s most advanced design and manufacturing platforms.
Superior sheet metal functionality
Because Long-Yuan’s products are housed in sheet metal cabinets, advanced sheet metal design and manufacturing capabilities are critical to the company’s success. From the most basic blanking to the finished product, the use of Solid Edge has brought about great improvements in this endeavor, being suitable for sheet metal parts for a variety of electrical products, especially those with more non-scalar elements.
By using Solid Edge, 3D sheet metal designs subject to process programming can be performed directly, including designs of double hems and three-sided corner bends. Such designs can be unfolded automatically in 3D in accordance with the customer’s empirical parameters, displaying the bend sequence and performing such bend process tests as interference and collision. This saves a lot of time compared to manual unfolding and also promotes higher precision.
The most important process in sheet metal operations is calculating the unfolded area. Using the Solid Edge sheet metal module, 3D models of sheet metal parts (as well as the unfolded models) can be saved in the same sheet metal file, and conversion between the two can be made easily through the Feature Manager.
When the engineering drawings are generated, the system will automatically identify if there are both folded and unfolded models in the sheet metal file, and give prompts to the user for the correct choice. The unfolded sheet metal graphics correlate with design models so that the unfolded graphics will be updated automatically in case of changes to the models, enabling a more flexible sheet metal design process.
The integration of sheet metal design with manufacturing minimizes the time required to go from customers’ drawings to actual products. Product variants can be made quickly and in accordance with both domestic and international market trends, enhancing Long-Yuan’s adaptability to market fluctuations.
Tong Bao-Quan, Long-Yuan’s chief engineer, confirms the selection of Solid Edge. “We had a lot of options for both 2D design and complex 3D design,” he explains. “However, taking functionally into account, the scope of selection immediately narrowed. The sheet metal function is surely one of the strengths of Solid Edge.
New functions are developed every year to better meet a variety of sheet metal-specific design requirements. With specific sheet metal functionality, such as automatically adding bend deformation, bend calculations and unfolding, Solid Edge has enabled us to reduce our design time by 30 percent as well as double our utilization rate across materials.”