Mar 28, 2011

Weatherhaven Deploys Portable Shelters with Help from Autodesk Inventor Software

Digital Prototyping Helps Weatherhaven Reduce Costs and Turnaround Time for Shelter Systems Used from Haiti to Antarctica.

SAN RAFAEL, Calif - Autodesk, Inc has named Weatherhaven as the Autodesk Inventor of the Month for March 2011. Weatherhaven has been using Autodesk Inventor software to more effectively create portable shelters designed for use in the most rugged and remote locations around the world.

Weatherhaven shelters have supported activities ranging from earthquake relief efforts in Haiti to scientific expeditions in Antarctica and peacekeeping missions in the Sahara Desert. Inventor software helps to reduce the time required to create and deploy the shelters.

Given the urgent nature of its customer needs, Weatherhaven must not only rapidly configure and manufacture systems, but also ensure they are mobile, redeployable and lightweight so the shelters can be quickly and easily broken down, moved and reassembled when an operation shifts locations.

“Inventor software plays a critical role for our company in improving our innovation, competitiveness and response time in serving customers, often enabling us to out-compete companies several times our size,” said Ray Castelli, chief executive officer at Weatherhaven. “Weatherhaven is deeply honored to be recognized as Autodesk’s latest Inventor of the Month.”

Autodesk partner IMAGINiT Technologies provided training and support to enable Weatherhaven to more fully embrace Digital Prototyping and create lighter, more mobile shelters. Creating a 3D digital model in Inventor helps make it easier for engineers to maintain focus on safety requirements, even as they optimize the design and lower the overall weight of the shelter.

Digital Prototyping Streamlines Product Development

Inventor automatically calculates the weight of various parts and assemblies as Weatherhaven engineers create the designs. In addition, by using integrated finite element analysis in Inventor software, engineers can better predict important factors, such as stress, and tweak the design accordingly.

“By using Digital Prototyping in Autodesk Inventor, we have much more confidence that our designs will be manufactured the way we intend,” said Ryan Savenkoff, design engineer at Weatherhaven. “We can even drop digital models created by our suppliers into our assemblies to check for possible interferences. Digital Prototyping has significantly reduced the time we need for product development, from concept to manufacturing.”

As a result, Weatherhaven now builds fewer physical prototypes, relying more heavily on Digital Prototyping to explore and validate designs. Since physical prototypes of a Weatherhaven shelter can cost up to $100,000 to build, Inventor software has already more than paid for itself.

Weatherhaven also uses Autodesk Vault product data management software to reuse designs and more effectively manage iterations and revisions, significantly reducing the need for rework and enabling the company to better respond to customers.

“By adopting the Autodesk solution for Digital Prototyping, Weatherhaven is gaining speed that is crucial, particularly when it comes to emergency management situations,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk. “Faster innovation and reduced costs serve not just Weatherhaven but its sophisticated customer base as well.”

Each month, Autodesk selects an Inventor of the Month from the users of Autodesk Inventor software, which takes manufacturers beyond 3D to Digital Prototyping. Winners are chosen for engineering excellence and groundbreaking innovation. For more information about Autodesk Inventor of the Month, contact us at IOM@autodesk.com.