More efficient engineering and visualisation with HiCAD

More efficient engineering and visualisation with HiCAD

Railtechniek van Herwijnen has been using HiCAD for many years. The specialist in drawing and building conveyor track systems has even had a customisation function developed to enable even more efficient engineering. But the 3D software also helps them visualise the design much better for the customer. And in this, Van Herwijnen goes quite far.

Projects we carry out are all customer-specific and preferably have the shortest possible lead time, says Patrick Stolk, project coordinator at Railtechniek van Herwijnen. The company with headquarters in Tiel uses HiCAD as its 3D software. "Although the software is already very flexible and easy to use natively, we saw opportunities to achieve even greater efficiency. Together with the experts at ISD Benelux, supplier of HiCAD, we automated part of the modelling process. When setting up a steel structure, we can now automatically 'draw' a coupling between beams. By clicking on both ends of the beams, the software composes the steel construction connection itself. This results in considerable time savings. We have thus reduced the elaboration of a steel structure from three or four days to half a day. And human error has been reduced to almost zero."

Another strong point of HiCAD, according to Patrick, is the visualisation aspect. "Our customers demand much more insight and participation in the process during engineering, which is entirely justified, by the way, given the increasing complexity. We can fulfil this perfectly with HiCAD. In the past, we used to make a global design in 2D based on the preconditions, but nowadays everything is presented visually step by step, picture by picture in 3D. That way, the client really gets a feel for what he is ordering. That is easier to talk to and in many cases leads to a more optimised design. That really is quite a change and improvement compared to before the 3D era."

3D model
And speaking of visualisation and simulation, Van Herwijnen really does make a difference in this. "What you see is that projects are becoming increasingly complex," Patrick experiences. "Many of our projects involve a large number of other parties. We are then part of the big picture, but we are able to integrate all the data from our proposed conveyor system into the 3D model of the overall project. Again, that makes talking easier. Moreover, this allows you to overcome potential clashes with the other suppliers' solutions at an early stage."

Data sharing
To exchange data from HiCAD, Van Herwijnen uses Trimble Connect. "It's a great programme for a demonstration of the intended end product. From HiCAD, it's a matter of making an export and importing it into Trimble," Patrick explains. "We then make a login available to our customers so they can experiment with it themselves. It really is being used more and more. It leads to better communication, not only with the client, but also with suppliers and intermediate suppliers."

Railtechniek van Herwijnen continues to continuously invest in automation and digitalisation. "Our biggest concern is lead times. What was ordered yesterday should preferably go out the door today," Patrick says jokingly. "Of course that won't work, but thanks to HiCAD and a far-reaching focus on standardisation, we do get a long way."