User Story

Cryco : Mechanical Desktop

Austin, TX-based Cryco is a leader in the high-tech world of semiconductor equipment and precision quartz manufacturing. The Cryco Quartz division is a total solutions provider with a comprehensive line of semiconductor-quality quartz products. The Cryco 22 division leads the industry in the design, manufacture, installation, and servicing of cantilevered mechanical wafer loading systems.

A long-time AutoCAD user, Cryco migrated to Autodesk's Mechanical Desktop software product two years ago. Cryco's complex designs for its quartz and mechanical wafer loading products require technology that allows its designers to optimize its customer's products and processes. "We do not simply design to specifications," says John Ives, director of Cryco operations. "Of particular importance is prototyping our products prior to manufacturing. That process is especially critical given the level of precision, sophistication, and expense associated with our products."

Cryco customers such as Motorola, Dominion, LSI, Lucent Technologies, Samsung, Texas Instruments, Intel, IBM, and Advanced Micro Devices require updates and changes to their semiconductor products every three to six months. As a result, Cryco must be able to respond to its customers' needs quickly. "Time-to-market is crucial," adds Ives. "Our customers rely on us to deliver products on schedule to meet their high volume production demands."

Dr. Mike Gou, Cryco's director of engineering, says customers require fast turnaround and Mechanical Desktop enables the company to keep pace with its customers' needs. "The ability to generate an accurate, fully dimensioned 3D model very quickly helps the company maintain its competitive edge. And, Mechanical Desktop helps us work with customers to develop better products and a higher level of communication."

Faster time-to-market
Mechanical Desktop is the primary driver in the process of electronically prototyping and testing Cryco's products prior to manufacturing. Ives adds, "Using the technology, we are able to do a tremendous amount of testing and development work on the front-end prior to physically constructing the first product. Mechanical Desktop allows us to check clearances on the mechanical wafer loading systems, as well as analyze the construction of a product by prototyping the actual tooling that we use to make the product."

Cryco provides the tooling and fixturing at its own costs. Ninety-five percent of Cryco's tooling material is graphite - a very expensive and difficult to obtain material. Using Mechanical Desktop in the early stages of design eliminates a lot of costly material waste, and allows engineers to investigate and solve problems electronically versus physically on the manufacturing floor.

"Mechanical Desktop models allow us to manipulate designs in 3D space," says David Allen, Cryco's senior CAD manager. "It is very helpful to visualize the product and examine it from all angles. This functionality makes tooling very easy. The benefits from our ability to easily copy surfaces to use for developing fixture parts are immeasurable."

Once Gou and his colleagues complete the research and development phase of a new product, the actual physical construction is so much easier and quicker using Mechanical Desktop models. Cryco technicians find it infinitely faster and easier to build products from 3D models than from simple 2D drawings.

Mechanical Desktop as a communications and educational tool
Customers immediately understand the products Cryco is developing for them when they view a Mechanical Desktop model versus a confusing 2D drawing. Customers can see how Cryco's products are capable of working within their processes. From engineers and designers who have a technical background to non-technical managers and senior executives - the 3D models need no interpretation. Everyone understands the design intent because of the 3D, real-world representation.

Ives adds, "Cryco conducts training sessions for its technicians who build our products. Using Mechanical Desktop, we simulate part-by-part the construction of a product. Not only are we checking for fit, function, and performance, but also demonstrating how the machines should be assembled. Mechanical Desktop simulations help our technicians become more knowledgeable about our products, how they operate, and the best methods of assembly to assure a total quality product."

Enterprise-wide design-for-manufacturing
As a truly enterprise-enabled system, Mechanical Desktop interfaces with Cryco's CAM package as well. "We are using AutoPro from InterCIM," notes Ives. "Using Mechanical Desktop, we create the tooling paths, dimensioning, and programming for the CNC process. Mechanical Desktop files are downloaded directly to the CAM package. By using a mainstream, universally accepted product such as Mechanical Desktop, we are greatly enhancing our design-through-manufacturing cycle time.

"Cryco believes in leveraging its engineering data across the enterprise. All programs and technologies associated with sales, customer service, finance, engineering, manufacturing, data management, enterprise resource planning (ERP), Microsoft office applications, and warehouse packaging are linked together. According to Ives, "Not only does Mechanical Desktop tie very seamlessly with all the technologies we have in place, all Autodesk products integrate with our system. For example, Cryco engineers download Mechanical Desktop files to spreadsheets to maintain engineering data for all projects. Since many of our parts are similar, designers can access the spreadsheet matrix to obtain the information they need. This saves a tremendous amount of design and manufacturing time."

Allen is currently using Mechanical Desktop to design a new fixture. "Using 3D, it's easy to view all the model features. The ability to rotate the model and visualize all sides of the part makes the tooling job so much easier. We can check clearances and interferences and make corrections in tooling before making any physical parts. This project relies heavily on our ability to visualize the model because there are round and tubular parts that fit into "V" notches. Any interferences with that configuration would automatically change the dimensions of the part. Being able to proactively check the model using Mechanical Desktop is of great value."

Autodesk legacy at Cryco
Cryco conducted a very extensive 3D product evaluation prior to migrating from 2D AutoCAD to a 3D environment. The company investigated Solid Edge, SolidWorks, SolidDesigner, and Pro/ENGINEER products. "We selected Mechanical Desktop because of its seamless integration with our legacy drawings," says Ives. "Additionally, the product's robust functionality and affordable price beat the competition. Finally, we have a team of technicians with an extensive Autodesk knowledge base. We couldn't disregard the wealth of expertise and confidence developed through the years of use by opting for a product that would take a lot of training and coaching. We couldn't ignore the negative impact downtime associated with the learning curve for completely new software architecture would have on our production cycle."

Ives and his colleagues believe that the migration from the 2D AutoCAD world to 3D Mechanical Desktop was greatly simplified because the Mechanical Desktop evolved from the same family of products. "Mechanical Desktop is very intuitive and user-friendly," says Gou. "Our organization found it extremely easy to migrate from AutoCAD to Mechanical Desktop. The product gives us the ability to leverage our existing investment in software, hardware, and engineering expertise."

Allen adds, "Manufacturing is moving toward 3D. The spin off programs such as CAM, CAE, and other technologies are hedging on 3D geometry. For us, we know that when we send 3D geometry to a toolmaker, there's no longer the window for interpretation and the risk of error. Toolmakers no longer have to worry about drawing dimensions. As more companies migrate to 3D, the easier manufacturing and reduced time to market will become."

Cryco realizes bottom line benefits as a result of implementing Mechanical Desktop. "We have made tremendous gains in all areas of our organization as a result of implementing 3D technology," says Ives. "Engineering, marketing, manufacturing, prototyping, and other areas are realizing the benefits of leveraging the engineering data to other areas outside of the design space."

Ives says that the migration path from 2D to 3D is not difficult. "The in-house familiarity of Autodesk products, and the intuitiveness and user-friendly nature of Autodesk products make the migration so easy. The movement to 3D Mechanical Desktop has been an extension of a strategy that historically has served our company very well and given us a competitive edge in the marketplace."

Autodesk distributor DC CAD (Austin, TX) is an added value to Cryco's Mechanical Desktop application in terms of education, implementation, and on-going technical support. Allen notes, "We have a very close relationship with DC CAD that has been a major factor in our successful use of the product. When it comes to our mission critical business model, we do much more than just buy software products. Our philosophy is to partner with vendors such as DC CAD and Autodesk. We have been an Autodesk shop for years and that strategy has serviced us well."

Author: Laura Carrabine

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Page last modified on February 17, 2000
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