Apr 11, 2011

CAD And Simulation Help Swiss Watchmaker Reduce Design Cycle By 40 Percent And Cut Design Costs 60 Percent

CONCORD, Mass – There’s no such thing as "too complicated" in Franck Muller's world, and if there were it would be a compliment. The Swiss watchmaker celebrates complexity, layering one component on another to create some of the world’s most expensive and sought-after timepieces.

Franck Muller uses SolidWorks® CAD , SolidWorks Enterprise PDM, and SolidWorks Simulation software as its primary design platform for combining 21st century engineering with classical features such as repeaters and tourbillions – rotating enclosures that compensate for gravity’s effect on the mechanism. Franck Muller’s Aeternitas Mega 4 Grande Sonnerie Westminster Carillon watch was the most complex wristwatch ever designed when it was created in 2009. It packs 1,483 individual elements, 205 sub-assemblies and 36 “complications,” or added features, into a space small enough to fit on a customer’s wrist.

“The movements in this watch are so precisely packed in a small space that it would not have been possible to have a clear overview of how the mechanisms function within the allotted space without SolidWorks 3D design tools,” said Franck Muller R&D Engineer Jean Pierre Golay.

SolidWorks software enabled Franck Muller engineers to shorten the design cycle by 40 percent and cut development costs by 60 percent. During development of the Aeternitas Mega 4, SolidWorks helped reduce design errors by 30 percent.

“Once the size of the watch is defined, the challenge is to figure out a way to design the various mechanisms to fit and function within the case,” Golay said. “This challenge becomes increasingly difficult when developing complicated movement. SolidWorks software not only allows us to visualize individual components but also to simulate the motion of components and mechanisms, so we can avoid interference errors.”

Franck Muller chose SolidWorks solutions for their ease of use, advanced design and simulation capabilities, and seamless integration between the CAD, simulation and product data management applications.

“Any competent designer can make something complex, but it takes real creativity to make complexity into the kind of beauty you see in Franck Muller watches,” said Christine Washburn, vice president, corporate marketing, SolidWorks. “We’re grateful that Franck Muller chose our software as the canvas its designers use to experiment and innovate as they explore ways to make a centuries-old craft new.”

Franck Muller works with SolidWorks authorized reseller Axemble for ongoing training and technical support.