Interactive software to design household appliances

Oscillating atypical reverse glyph.
Oscillating atypical reverse glyph.

Three adjectives describe the salient features of design software systems that allow studying and developing innovative products by exploiting a work of wide technical partnership and by managing their complexity in any evolution phase.

Marika Comotti

For the sector of the household appliance production, the information systems for the three-dimensional parametric design prove to be among the most interesting instruments to manage effectively and in real time the study and the evolution of the product, from the concept to the implementation, passing through the assessment in advance of possible and eventual failure risks in the operation phase. This approach simplifies the definition process of systems and of internal and external components, permitting to create simulations, to manage a large volume of data continuously modified and implemented in the course of the design phase, thus contributing at the same time in reducing times and costs at companies’ charge. But – most of all – it opens collaboration and interaction spaces among all the operators involved in the design, inside and outside the company’s walls. All advantages that Lavazza, Italian giant of the coffee industry headquartered at Settimo Torinese (TO), has discovered and decided to develop by choosing the software SolidWorks (brand by Dassault Systèmes) for the design of the internal kinematic gears of coffee machines. The idea matured with the acquisition, two years ago, of the contract for the study of new internal kinematic gears with the Engineering Department of the Turin Polytechnics, which already used the system successfully. To further improve the collaboration performances, in the summer 2012 at Lavazza they implemented the solutions CAD 3D SolidWorks Professional and SolidWorks Standard, successfully used for the accomplishment of two recent innovative projects, strengthening the integrated dialogue between the operators of the Research & Development department (engineers graduated at the Turin University and system experts), and university researchers.
Lavazza has had the opportunity of exploiting the 3D design solutions by SolidWorks both in the CAD 3D Standard version for the rapid creation of parametric parts, assemblies and designs at production level, and in the Professional version, which allows enhancing the productivity thanks to an integrated data management system that stores all the information of the design and keeps tracks of all changes. After relying on external design studios for several years and after implementing licences of always different suppliers, the experts of Lavazza have felt the need of achieving uniformity with a single work tool. In the choice and in the implementation of SolidWorks solutions, Lavazza has availed itself of the consulting support of Nuovamacut Automazione (TeamSystem Group), main partner of Dassault SolidWorks and reseller of SolidWorks solutions in Italy.

Concept design for Flag System.

More collaboration, fewer costs

The use of specific software for the three-dimensional parametric design allows developing a project and the related variants and modifications in real time, but especially operating in a shared manner among the various involved operators. Helping in reducing not only times but also business costs, as in the case of Lavazza. “In the light of the organization and of the dimensions of the R&D Division of Lavazza, the CAD 3D design software by SolidWorks proved to be the ideal solution – explains Luca Bugnano, R&D Department, Machines and new extraction systems of Lavazza -: the user friendliness coupled with quite advanced instruments has in fact fully satisfied our needs, representing a perfect intermediate level between basic and high-level languages”. The continuity of language with the resources of the Turin Polytechnics has enabled the Lavazza staff to develop coherent projects, with a notable saving of time and resources. “Until two years ago – adds Bugnano – we outsourced the design activities to external consulting companies, and our work was affected by some operational difficulties. Thanks to the choice of using SolidWorks now we carry out everything in-house and in continuity with the Turin Polytechnics. The University develops the ideas and patents them together with Lavazza, they are then developed inside the company through prototyping before being transferred to the technical department and to the real implementation”.

Design of the extraction group of Lavazza Drawer.

Before the capsule

The collaboration with the Turin Polytechnics concerns the development of the first operation phases of the internal kinematic gears of the machines produced by Lavazza, that’s to say the mechanisms and the gears that pick up the coffee capsules and transport them into the apposite chamber, managing the various steps, from the insertion of the capsule itself to the discharge into the box after use. The problems in the project phase derive from the different sizes of the various types of capsules with Lavazza brand, which require from time to time particular devices and internal dimensional adaptations of the machines in design phase.
“The parametric design – goes on Bugnano – has allowed us to obtain the final overall dimensions of the machine in real time by varying the used capsule, this permits us to create new machines by simply modifying some dimensional parameters without any effort”. The other key element in the use of SolidWorks is simulation: “in the initial phases it allows us to perceive the macro-criticalities in the interaction between capsule and machine, with the simulation we can execute a reliable estimate of the work and of the duration of the different components used and quantify the risks in the points where the machine can break”.

Design concept Lavazza Fixed System.

Parametric design

The design process of the new kinematic gears of coffee machines is simplified by the use of SolidWorks information solutions. “Lavazza avails itself of the SolidWorks Professional licence– explains Gualtiero Marcellan, Area Senior Technical Manager SolidWorks EMEA -. SolidWorks Professional includes all the functions of SolidWorks Standard, that’s to say modelling of parametric parts, assemblies and designs, adding new functions able to enhance productivity, to grant the project accuracy and to make available efficacious communication tools”. SolidWorks Professional, he continues “contains libraries of parts and standard fixing elements, an instrument for the automatic appraisal of manufacturing costs, a set of functions that allow reconstructing the tree of the functions of the imported geometries and an error research utility. Besides, it contains the PhotoView 360 software with which it is possible to produce a realistic rendering of designs and the eDrawings Professional package with which it is possible to share, to visualize, to measure and to take note of the project data, both if they are SolidWorks native files and 2D (DWG/DXF) designs coming from suppliers or customers”.

Design of the extraction group of Lavazza Fixed System.

Preventing failure risks

The powerful modelling functions of SolidWorks permit to create rapidly parametric components and assemblies, providing the significant advantage of having the possibility of creating design variants and of studying the best solution. “In particular–Marcellan further specifies -, all coffee machines with pod contain a standard connecting rod-crank mechanism in which the kinematic study is obviously fundamental. In SolidWorks there are very powerful and intuitive assembly functions that permit to create a real virtual prototype. Afterwards, you can move the parts involved in the kinematic gear and dynamically verify possible interferences or mechanical inconsistencies. If some problems are surveyed, a simple click on a dimension permits to resize a component or the whole assembly. “To do that – he ends – no additional modules are necessary for the simulation but you can use the SolidWorks functions included in the base version”.

Winning Partnershi
Founded in Turin in 1895 by Luigi Lavazza, the homonymous company– today with more than 3,800 employees, 4 factories in Italy, 2 in Brazil and 1 in India, among the most important productive realities of coffee in the world – it starts its activity by producing and marketing not only coffee but also soap, spirits, oil and spices. After few years the specialization in coffee and then in the manufacturing of coffee machines and automatic dispensers, culminated in the launch of the automatic espresso system “A Modo Mio” (My way) purposely conceived for the house.
Dassault Systèmes, the “3DEXPERIENCE Company” that counts in its range the SolidWorks software solutions, offers people and companies virtual universes where to design sustainable innovations. The developed collaborative solutions transform the way of designing, producing and supporting products, boosting the social innovation to increase the possibility of improving the real world through the virtual world. The Group serves over 150,000 customers of all sizes, in all sectors and in more than 140 Countries.