Fersa Bearings shortens design cycles by 75% with SolidWorks

The global economy can be described by three key factors: quality, price and time. What does it mean for the production industry? Fersa Bearings, a Spanish family owned business in the automotive sector, faces the same challenges-but is perfectly positioned to fulfill the requirements.

According to Javier Salvador, Product Engineer at Fersa Bearings “We are a very flexible company. This allows us to offer a high quality product with very short delivery times and at a very competitive price. These three factors quality, time and price are key elements for our customers and we are able to meet all of them.”

Founded in 1968, Fersa Bearings followed a strict company and brand strategy to position itself as leading company providing best bearings solutions for commercial vehicles.

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The incorporation of new partners in 2001 was essential to the modernization of the productive processes, which meant not only the construction of a new manufacturing plant in Zaragoza, Spain, but also the installation of new automatic manufacturing and assembly lines, based on the latest European technology. Since 2003, the investment of the company in R&D equipment and personnel has been equivalent to 5-6°% of their annual revenue. These steps have been essential in obtaining the certification from Tier 1 companies in order to supply axles and transmissions to global OEMs.

Furthermore Fersa Bearings adopted a customer and market diversification strategy followed by the introduction of a culture of continuous innovation. Both were key elements to the successful market penetration of the brand in more than 60 countries. This steps lead to the opening of new sales and engineering offices in Brazil and a new production center in China. As a result Fersa Bearings has trebled its production capacity to supply the ever increasing demand of their global customers.

In order to maintain the success of the company, Fersa Bearings decided on SolidWorks 3D CAD in 2010. “Although the design of a bearing is very simple, if you do it in 2D there is some important information missing. Having a virtual prototype in SolidWorks you are able to see everything on your computer screen and see how the bearing will perform and fit,” Javier Salvador said. “We opted for SolidWorks because we needed a tool to simplify the collaboration with our suppliers. SolidWorks software gives us the possibility to easily share information with other organizations. To meet our R&D objectives we work very close with several universities and technological partners. They support us in improving the quality and performance through Simulation studies. And finally we were looking for a tool that helps us to easily create a powerful parametric design of our bearings.”

The regular design process at Fersa Bearings starts with a customer request, including detailed capacities and external dimensions needs. Then the team uses tables to relate dimensions and capacities in order to define a bearing performance that meets customer needs best. From this model, the design team gets the full new product design and all the drawings they need automatically. The parametric characteristic of SolidWorks provides Fersa Bearings time savings and the flexibility to keep deadlines.

“Once we have the main dimensions and characteristics, we are ready to move forward and start the detailed engineering design process,” explained Javier Salvador. “SolidWorks delivers the precision and allows us to ensure, through the virtual prototype, that everything fits well the first time around and therefore avoids expensive errors and delays in the manufacturing and assembly process. In our industry, accuracy is critical; a matter of microns makes your product success or fail.”

The most challenging part during the engineering design process of a bearing is the estimation of the product lifetime and the ways to improve it. The design team uses a customized application that calculates the bearing lifetime, which is then compared to the lifetime demanded by the customer. R&D plays a significant role here. The ability to extend the lifetime of a product is crucial in order to gain trust of Tier 1 companies in the automotive industry.

Here are only a few of the results Fersa Bearings achieved with SolidWorks software:

–       Shortened design cycle by 75%

–       Improved time to market by 10%

–       Reduction of costs for physical tests by more than 50%

Javier Salvador concludes: “SolidWorks is more than just CAD. The offer is comprehensive: all tools are integrated, powerful and easy to use. Without software like SolidWorks it would have been impossible for us to reach Tier 1 companies supplying axles and transmission for the automotive industry.”


If you would like to learn more about the design tools in SolidWorks, you can request a free SolidWorks trial on our website. Want to see how SolidWorks can help you win new business and get to market faster? Request an in-person SolidWorks demo today.

Matthew West

SolidWorks alumnus. I like plate reverb, Rat pedals, Thai curry, New Weird fiction, my kids, Vespas, Jazzmasters, my wife & Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not necessarily in that order.