1) VDC (Vehicle Development Corporation) Pty Ltd is the new owner of Billrich
Special Services Pty Ltd.
2) STS provided the CAD Solution for Billrich to design the Right-Hand Drive Conversions.
3) KEYCREATOR is the successor to CADKEY.
4) STS is the Australian Distributor of KEYCREATOR.
Billrich Special Services Pty Ltd (now known as Vehicle Development Corporation (VDC) Pty Ltd) specialized in left to right hand drive conversions of Ford F Series vehicles. They were the largest converter of these vehicles for the Australian market and the only one with full volume compliance for these vehicles. The introduction of CAD to its engineering operations in 1998 proved a vital ingredient in their amazing development.
When Ford Australia ceased local production of F Series vehicles in 1991, Billrich saw a niche in the market and was determined to fill it. Sandro Deluca, head of the Billrich Engineering Department in 1999, has been passionate about the F Series vehicles. He knew the process that Ford US undertook to produce a vehicle was complex and demanding. New advancements in design and technology of the F Series in the USA convinced Deluca that if Billrich was to maintain its leading business position and move forward, it needed in-house CAD capability. After a thorough investigation of the range of software solutions, CADKEY was selected as ideal for Billrich. It handled surfaces and wire-frames easily in 3D and included all the necessary translators to manage the data Billrich needs to use.
"CADKEY is indispensable in the conversion process." says Deluca, "The old manual system simply could not cope anymore. We would make changes to a part using manual design methods and later find that it affected various other parts. In CADKEY we can have all the related parts up on screen and manipulate each one of them. CADKEY is excellent for bringing all the components together and checking them for clearances, form and fit." Del Luca was introduced to CADKEY by Barry Dyson of Specialised Technical Services (Australian CADKEY distributor) at an AIEE trade show. "I explained our situation to Barry and he showed me the ideal solution," says Deluca. "I looked at AutoCAD, but found many companies using it only for 2D simply because it was considered too difficult to use in 3D."
Firewall panel from a Ford IGES file imported to CADKEY for modification.
Deluca believes that commonsense engineering is better than theoretical. "It's a type of mentality," Deluca explains, "I can picture parts in my mind and visualize how they should be formed. The most difficult part is coming up with the concept. Once I've done that, the rest just flows. Sometimes the files are extremely complex and difficult to understand, but I don't let that worry me and somehow I always get through them. If I concentrate on the design, then the rest of the process runs smoothly. Other engineers have said to me ?ou can't do that' referring to the way I have designed and built custom steering boxes for F Series vehicles. It has been a pleasure to prove their theories wrong."
Billrich used CADKEY primarily for surfacing. "We download the data from Ford in the US as IGES or STEP files. Then we import that data into CADKEY and work directly on those surface models," says Deluca. "Often we will mirror image a part, but there are many parts that are not suitable for mirror imaging because of physical constraints imposed by the vehicle. Sometimes the manipulation required is extremely demanding and we often end up with an extremely complex file. Many people are amazed by the results we achieve with CADKEY and FastSurf."
File sizes on complex parts can become very large. This can create additional problems. "Some files here are up to 40 and 50 fifty megabytes, says Deluca, "CADKEY handles them reliably and with ease."
The same firewall panel as above rendered in CADKEY.
"We designed vehicle conversions manually for a long time I know the pros and cons of traditional methods, "says Deluca, "Now that we are using CADKEY it would be impossible to go back. There are so many advantages once you become confident with the software. And the bottom line is that we can often get parts to production 90% faster these days."
"Engineers from Ford Australia have shown a lot of interest in what we do and the way we do it at Billrich. The work we do in CADKEY and the way we can present it is impressive as well as practical." says Deluca, "I mainly work on large files with many parts. CADKEY allows me to selectively display parts during a presentation which helps to explain a complex design solution idea very clearly in stages. Our design system is also very efficient. The system we have at Billrich can produce the results that a larger organization might have thirty designers working on.