3D CAD SOLIDWORKS Case Study Plastic Services

The Challenge
There are a lot of tools on the market designed to make engineers’ jobs easier. But how many of those tools also make engineers’ jobs more enjoyable?

Dan Bendixon, owner of Plastic Services Group (PSG) in Arlington Heights, Illinois, said the highlight of his job is doing contract design work and using SOLIDWORKS.

“I just love modeling,” said Bendixon, whose company PSG is primarily a sales organization. “To me, sales is a business. It’s not fun. But product design and working with SOLIDWORKS is fun and I enjoy it. I don’t ever want to retire.”

Bendixon has a background in Industrial Tool Design, and remembers designing his first plastic part back in 1965.

“You had a slide rule and a drawing board. There were no computers and there were no CAD systems. You kept your files and you did your revisions. That’s the way we had to do things,” he explained.

By 1969, Bendixon began to focus more on selling plastics and eventually founded his own company, PSG, in 1982. He found himself entrenched in millions of dollars worth of little, plastic parts and realized his true passion is for actual part design. Also in 1982, in a special dedication ceremony, Elgin Community College unveiled its brand new CAD/CAM equipment to the Society of Plastics Engineers, in which Bendixon was the President of the Chicago section.

“All it amounted to was a 2D system that you could plot a tool path and remotely run a machining center from a computer. That was really cutting edge back then,” Bendixon said reflecting on the first Computer Aided Design programs. “AutoCAD was a big thing with everybody because you could make such accurate prints very quickly. Although they were 2D, they were still accurate and you could make a machining path, grind the slots and everything.”

The Solution
13 years later, in 1995, one of Bendixon’s friends—a Cadkey user at the time– purchased one of the first seats of SOLIDWORKS sold by CATI. After researching SOLIDWORKS, it wasn’t long before Bendixon decided to jump back into the design engineering arena. He immediately knew that SOLIDWORKS was the perfect design tool for him.

“SOLIDWORKS made it easy for me to learn. It’s very intuitive and logical, and it makes it possible for you to even teach yourself. I really believe there’s not much you can’t do with SOLIDWORKS,” Bendixon said. He remembered recently modeling a gear, something he had never attempted before. “It was easy. I just sketched one tooth, and bang, there was the circular pattern, and there was the gear.”

Bendixon has also dabbled with FeatureWorks, Animator and PhotoWorks. He said that he likes to do simple PhotoWorks renderings for his customers so they can better present their products to prospective customers, regardless of if he designs the actual part or not.

Bendixon said SOLIDWORKS has been the perfect tool for him. Aside from being easy to learn, easy to use and extremely powerful, SOLIDWORKS is also one of the best data translators on the market. Bendixon knows a lot of engineers who use a number of different design tools, but he has no desire and no need to ever consider using a 3D CAD system other than SOLIDWORKS.

“Whether my customer has ProE, or any other system, I can translate that now and I can send him back an IGES file for MasterCam, or whatever he needs. And if I want, I can do 2D drawings too. There’s no reason for me to focus on anything else. SOLIDWORKS is becoming an industry standard, and I feel real comfortable with that.”

I just enjoy going through the new features, trying everything out and seeing how it is improved,” said Bendixon, also touting SOLIDWORKS Corporation’s outstanding effort to really listen to SOLIDWORKS users and make highly-desired, highly-effective enhancements to its product as it continuously evolves. They’ve done an absolutely excellent job.

Summary and Metrics:
Bendixon attended SOLIDWORKS 2005 Launch Day at CATI, which featured new capabilities for the new version of SOLIDWORKS. This new version has more than 250 customer-requested features and enhancements that help machine designers, mold designers, consumer product designers, and others become faster, more accurate, and more productive as they bring their innovations to market. Some of the key improvements are:

  • An extensive design library for machine designers
  • The first mold design validation tool built into a solid modeling environment
  • Enhanced loft features for consumer product designers
  • Application-specific user interfaces
  • An embedded editor for AutoCAD files
  • A time-saving Task Pane on the SOLIDWORKS desktop