Designing and building sniper rifles and aircraft components is no easy feat but is something Braddick Defence has done with relative ease thanks to advanced SolidWorks software from French company Dassault Systemes.
Braddick has used SolidWorks to design its Mk XII SFS (Special Forces Sniper) rifle series, as well as components for re-engined DC-3/C-47 turboprops, including parts for the engine cradle, hydraulic piping box, and aircraft tracking and Health and Usage Monitoring (HUMS) systems etc.
SolidWorks 3D software is used to digitally design components and products but can also be used for simulation – for example, stresses and loads can be calculated as well as aerodynamic and thermodynamic stresses. An aircraft wing can be simulated within the software and the aerodynamic loads it will experience can be calculated. This allows for faster manufacture, as there is less reliance on prototypes since testing can be done digitally.
SolidWorks is able to generate information on the properties of materials – for example how heavy a part is and where its centre of gravity is. If steel is changed to aluminium or carbon fibre, the weight and other properties, such as strength, will automatically be adjusted. The software can even compensate for things like heat expansion and contraction, for instance in plastic parts, and can also be used for costing.
SolidWorks allows for collaboration – people around the world can work on the same design at the same time. And if a change is made by one person on one element of a design, it is updated throughout the whole project – before software like SolidWorks, every page of a design had to be manually altered.
Apart from design and simulation, SolidWorks products also cover product data management and product manuals, which can be easily rendered using the software – for instance, exploded views of components can be generated.
Once an item has been designed in SolidWorks, production data can then be generated and information sent to CNC (computer numerical control)/CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) machines, including 3D printers. This significantly speeds up design and production.
SolidWorks designs can be exported into other programmes like Dassault’s CATIA, and simulation and modelling programmes, for example.
Braddick is part of the 770 Group, which also includes Innova3D, a local distributor of SolidWorks software and training systems. The company says there are applications in the aerospace, defence, mining, automotive, healthcare, electrical and other sectors. Millions of engineers and hundreds of thousands of companies around the world use SolidWorks software.