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CASE STUDY: Schneider engineers shrink their design by 25% with Enventive Concept

Schneider Electric is a global leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation.

As a key player in electric power distribution, the company’s award-winning circuit breakers stand out thanks to innovative design.

THE CHALLENGES OF DESIGNING ROBUST CIRCUIT BREAKERS

Circuit breakers are complex. At their core they multiply forces. For example when a user applies 1 kg of force to open or close the breaker it results in transmitting up to 100 kg or more of force to the electrical contacts.

So manufacturers of circuit breakers, like Schneider, face two major challenges with their mechanical design decisions:

  1. A wide range of mechanical considerations: materials, Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T), tolerance analysis, kinematics,…
  2. A high level of mechanical complexity: springs, cams, friction, electrical fields, multiplication of forces,…

For over a decade Schneider has taken advantage of Enventive’s Concept tolerance analysis software to help meet these challenges. A recent example is for Schneider’s new generation of low-voltage circuit breakers. The company set a goal to shrink size by 25% with no compromise on safety or performance. Smaller breakers offer important benefits to Schneider’s customers.

 “We manufacture high quantities of complex systems. In our applications, tolerance analysis is primordial and a prerequisite to any design.”
Florent Pitis
Building Devices Engineering Manager

DESIGNING PRODUCTS 25% MORE COMPACT WITH ENVENTIVE

Schneider’s ability to successfully shrink breaker sizes is directly linked with its engineering team’s ability to rapidly test numerous concepts very early in the design process. Enventive Concept gives them this ability.

At the project start, Schneider’s engineers leveraged Concept’s capabilities to very rapidly: 1) add a functional condition, 2) run a multi-criteria analysis, 3) evaluate the level of impact of design contributors on that condition, and then 4) iteratively make changes to the functional condition or to design contributors. Each iteration typically took a few minutes, or less.

Once the engineers completed their iterations, they had a robust conceptual design ready to be used to create a robust detailed design within their Computer Aided Design (CAD) software.

 “With Enventive Concept, we don’t hesitate to add new conditions and run live iterations during meetings”
Florent Pitis
Building Devices Engineering Manager

WITH the tool users LEVERAGE THE COMBINATION OF:

Because Enventive Concept is highly intuitive for mechanical designers, Schneider’s team can focus on optimizing product designs rather than becoming experts in the complex functions found in other tolerancing software systems.

BENEFITS OF USING CONCEPT TOLERANCE ANALYSIS SOFTWARE

The combination of greater design innovation, confidence and efficiency brings a strategic advantage to Schneider’s team. Their engineers investigate and solve design problems that aren’t within the calculation reach of tools like tolerance analysis spreadsheets or worst-case tolerance stack-ups within a CAD software package.

The strategic benefits are accelerated times to market for products that meet challenging new design requirements and that robustly maintain reliability for their customers.

 “Enventive Concept is unanimously recognized by the team as essential in the pre-design phase. With fast and good iterations the tool helps us being innovative on every new design “
Florent Pitis
Building Devices Engineering Manager

Further reading on our tolerance analysis software

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