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Dec 6, 2010

CYBEX Eliminates Heavy Lifting with SolidWorks

R&D Gets Results with Integrated Simulation, Collaboration, Data Management, & Documentation.

CONCORD, Mass – CYBEX International Inc. is combining state-of-the-art engineering, advanced exercise science, and SolidWorks® software to design products that yield more gain with less pain.

Whether training professional athletes or contestants for The Biggest Loser, CYBEX exercise equipment presents a daunting array of design challenges. Cross-trainers, bikes, treadmills, and strength machines must deliver intense workouts without injury. Such workouts involve smooth motions that hinge on input from the company’s own bio engineers and kinesiology experts. The equipment must stand up to years of punishment by athletes of a wide range of shapes, sizes, and abilities. It must be affordable, easy to assemble, easy to manufacture, and attractive to prospective users and deliver superior results.

“Cost-effectively meeting these design challenges demands a design strategy integrating our mechanical, software, and electrical engineers, all of whom are at the top of their fields,” said Ray Giannelli, senior vice president of research and development at Medway, Mass.-based CYBEX International. “SolidWorks helps us achieve this goal with intuitive software that supports frequent design changes, customization, stress and strain analysis, collaboration, reuse, and high-impact customer presentations.”

CYBEX builds much of its products to order and uses SolidWorks software to produce designs in a wide variety of configurations. Parts are often shared among several products in the company’s broad product lines, and many new designs start life as upgrades to existing ones. “When we update a part in the design phase, it updates wherever it is used,” said Rob Cassano, mechanical engineering manager at CYBEX. “This saves us a lot of time and money as we innovate.”

Stress, strain, and load analysis is critical for CYBEX devices. A treadmill, for example, needs to support a 400-pound athlete with a pounding stride for the equivalent of 75,000 miles or more. SolidWorks Simulation software helps CYBEX catch any design problems before prototypes go to the engineering life test lab and then ultimately to the CYBEX Institute for Exercise Science for real-world testing. Engineers communicate between development facilities in Minnesota and Massachusetts using SolidWorks eDrawings® software for sharing designs over email, and they collaborate on designs through SolidWorks Workgroup PDM product data management software.

“We use Workgroup PDM heavily from the early stages of design so that all of our engineers can work on the same product at the same time without stepping on one another’s toes,” said Cassano. “It makes the product releases a lot easier. Collaboration is important, and Workgroup PDM really works for us.”

CYBEX uses 3DVIA Composer® software to close sales by creating custom walkthroughs from 3D designs so prospects can preview CYBEX machines in their own sites.

The company discovered SolidWorks software in 1995 when it was having trouble with CAD software that was difficult for engineers to integrate into the design process. “I met with one of the SolidWorks founders,” Giannelli recalled. “He told me SolidWorks is different: it ‘speaks engineering.’ That was true, and our engineers were productive on the new software even before we could sign them up for training. The interface is even more intuitive today, and the software is a key component of our design strategy.”

CYBEX relies on authorized SolidWorks reseller Symmetry Solutions Inc. for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.