‘Tis the season to load up on fresh fruits here in the Northeast. My diet improves each spring/summer when it’s cheaper and easier to find fresh fruit in the supermarket. So, it got me wondering… how does all that produce make it to my supermarket shelves and still look amazing? SOLIDWORKS customer, Macro Plastics is the leading manufacturer of large agricultural bins in North America. The company offers 70 different packaging models to fruit growers for bringing their products to market. This includes packages for picking and transporting everything from apples to watermelon.
Most of us probably think that plastic bins are pretty primitive from a design perspective; it’s just a box, right? Well, according to Senior Product Development Engineer Todd Turner, they actually go to considerable lengths to reduce material while maintaining strength and designing elaborate ribbing patterns. While SOLIDWORKS 3D design tools, such as the rib command and draft and wall thickness analysis, are important for developing new products, the SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium analysis software plays the most dramatic role in helping Macro Plastics produce agricultural bins using the minimal amount of material necessary to do the job.
As the cost of plastic resins continues to rise, optimizing designs for material consumption while maintaining performance has become an important goal. By using SOLIDWORKS design and simulation tools, Macro Plastics tripled its new product offerings, saved 30 to 60 percent in capital costs for new products, and reduced product weight by 10 to 25 percent across the board.
“With SOLIDWORKS, I can identify and resolve potential issues during design, so that when we mold those initial pieces, they are right the first time. It used to take three to six months to develop a new product,” Turner explains. “Now, we’re doing them in a matter of weeks. SOLIDWORKS tools like interference detection, finite element analysis (FEA), and PhotoView 360 all play a part.”
Read more about how Macro Plastics uses SOLIDWORKS to help get fresh fruit to market by clicking here.