PTC Express
September 2009
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In This Issue
Windchill ProductPoint 1.1 Pioneers Social Product Development
Feature Article: Virtual Prototyping and the benefits to SMBs
Working with Imported Data in Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 4.0
Using User Defined Workflows in the Promotion Process within Windchill PDMLink 9.1
Turbo Pattern: A Technique for Improving Pattern Performance in Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 4.0
Using Mathcad’s Scriptable Text Box Control to Validate a Result
Pro/ENGINEER CAD/CAM/CAE Demonstrations
Tech Tips Webcasts: Work Smarter, Not Harder
PTC University Demonstration Series
Workin’ on a Coal Mine, Pro/ENGINEER Style







Workin’ on a Coal Mine, Pro/ENGINEER Style


“We knew this would be a big job from the very start,” says John De Andrade, Principal modeler for Haald Engineering in Brisbane, Australia.

Haald Engineering signed a contract in late 2008 to do the detailed design for a new coal mine at Cameby Downs, about 275 km from Brisbane in the southeastern part of Queensland, Australia. Australia is the world’s fourth largest coal producer, after China, the US, and India; Cameby Downs could eventually produce up to 20 million tons of high-quality “black” coal per year.

Haald Engineering is experienced in major mining construction projects, materials handling, defense and transportation, and others. Since Haald would handle the entire job, including mechanical, structural, piping, and concrete footings De Andrade knew he would use Pro/ENGINEER.

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The Cameby Downs Coal Mine is expected to eventually produce 20 million tons of high-quality coal per day, and generate 600 jobs in southeastern Australia

Two reasons for choosing Pro/ENGINEER.
“We really had two basic reasons for going with Pro/ENGINEER,” De Andrade says. “First, it uses true parametric design, which means we could use a top-down design approach. With parametric design, once you get the basic skeletons down, everything becomes associative. So we always know that if we make a change in one area, it will be translated to any other modules or assemblies that are related to it. Because there were so many interrelated technologies, and our reviewers included a good number of people, we knew there would be a lot of modifications along with way.”

The second reason was the scope of the project. The site footprint was one kilometer square, and De Andrade didn’t know of any other CAD software that could handle a project that large and still be fully parametric.

“We’ve used other CAD systems for some jobs,” he says. “But Cameby Downs would involve huge assemblies, and they couldn’t handle that.”

Starting with a Skeleton. The key to designing massive assemblies is to use a top-down design approach, according to Haald’s managing director Andrew Reid. DeAndrade began by creating a top level 3D skeleton to serve as the framework for all other assemblies. Within the skeleton they published geometries that were used to build the five top-level area assemblies for conveyors, structures, mechanical equipment, piping, bins and hoppers. Each of these would have a master assembly skeleton for the next lower level of assemblies, and each of those a master to the assemblies below it.

“We took a top-level skeleton assembly and built in references and workpoints that could be published to the next-level sub-assemblies,” says Reid. “The references are published geometries from skeletons that will remain stable and controlled from 1 location—like a certain angle on a conveyor or pulley locations. Another engineer can then start working on a sub-assembly module by building around those references.

“This way, you can get a whole design team working at the same time on different assemblies. That’s the best way to do a project this big and complex.”

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The key to designing massive assemblies is to use a top-down design approach

The other key was using a fully parametric CAD application, De Andrade says. “Our client might look at the entire assembly model of the main process building and say, “Can you lift the floor level by a meter?” With Pro/ENGINEER, the answer is yes, because all related changes will automatically propagate to the sub-assemblies below.

“It’s important that the software be fully parametric, too,” De Andrade says. “I can modify a dimension in the skeleton, say the height of a conveyor head pulley or building column centers, then regenerate the model and have every related subassembly model update and all the associated drawings update automatically.

“We’ve seen systems that will go halfway—they might be able to extend the height of columns on a trestle, but they couldn’t automatically widen the column spacings—you’d have to go and move each column manually.”

For the project Haald used Pro/ENGINEER Expert Framework Extension (EFX) for designing the structural framework and the piping layouts of the buildings. Pro/ENGINEER EFX contains a large library of sections, connections, joints, stairs, and other parts, and it’s fully parametric, so it propagates any upper-level changes to sub-assembly structures.

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Haald used Pro/ENGINEER Expert Framework Extension (EFX) for designing the structural framework and the piping layouts 

Help with the client. The parametric software also helped Haald keep its client project team up to date on the design’s progress—important in a project that’s visible to the community and the government as well as to its investors.

“We had reviews with a dozen people or more pretty regularly,” De Andrade says. “We’d be able to show a particular equipment assembly and even let the client take a virtual walkthrough to check ergonomics and maintenance access. The client might ask for more clearance around a certain piece of equipment, and we’d make the change on the spot, regenerate the model, and it would show how that change affected everything else, including piping and chute work—everything.

“Without Pro/ENGINEER, it might take all day to regenerate a model like that—and the client would be less than impressed.”

Haald also set up a client extranet site and uploaded the assembly models at the end of each week for client inspection.

Thanks to the efforts of the Haald team the design project was completed in 2009 and holds more total parts than De Andrade has wanted to count. He will say that the five top-level assemblies alone have more than 80,000 unique parts, more than enough, he says, to bring most CAD software to its knees.



Haald Engineering, based out of Brisbane, Australia, offer specialized mechanical engineering services, including implementation, design, and analysis. They serve a broad range of industries from mining, defense, sugar factories and agriculture to defense, energy and transportation.


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