Solidworks Makes Cakemaking A Piece Of Cake

Compiled By Doug Bartholomew Production-line and packaging machinery typically doesn't attract a lot of ink in the press, but it's a huge industry. And it's one of the markets targeted by Solidworks Corp., a maker of mechanical design software, whose 3-D CAD models were used to construct production and packaging machines for McKee Foods Corp., the top snack-cake manufacturer by volume in the U.S. McKee Foods designs its own production machines for plants in Tennessee, Virginia, and Arkansas that make 75 different brands of snack cakes and 20 varieties of Sunbelt granola and cereal products. The company purchased a 20-seat software license for Solidworks' 3-D CAD system with the goal of reducing design time and production errors for the machines, conveyors, and other automation. In one case, McKee Foods' engineers estimated it would take four to five weeks to redesign a depositor, a machine that applies a filling to a cake product. "With Solidworks, it took only three days," says Jeff Badger, process group manager at McKee. "The software is very intuitive, and therefore it is easy to turn around designs much faster." A unit of Dassault Systemes SA of Paris, Solidworks is headquartered in Concord, Mass.

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