How 3D CAD is revolutionising UK crop farming

Ever wondered how 3D CAD software is applied in the real world? Find out how one UK company made it cheaper than ever for farmers across the globe to establish crops on their fields – increasing turnover from £200,000 to £6 million in the process.


The rolling green pastures. The smell in the air. The muck on the wellies. Any mention of British farming conjures vivid images. But the modern farm is anything but parochial; home to progressive technology, cutting-edge machinery and victories of modern engineering.

Just ask Claydon Drills, farming equipment manufacturers from Newmarket in Suffolk. Eager to use innovative technology to solve common problems in the agricultural market, the company set about creating a product that would enable farmers to slash the cost of sowing and establishing crops in their fields.They are featured over on our reseller Innova Systems who specialise in helping small companies to improve their new product development using SOLIDWORKS 3D Design software.

It was a tough, complex challenge. The product had to serve customers in 26 countries and survive temperature extremes from -20oC to 50oC. Plough anything from fine sand to heavy clay and solid stones. And because farming is so often a balancing act of high costs and low profit margins, the product had to be reliable.

The result? Claydon Drills designed and manufactured a now-patented seed drill that reduced the cost of establishing crops to a third of what it was before, while improving sowing speed fivefold. The key to the success of the design is a dual-tine system. A digging tine cultivates the field, directly followed by a seeding tine that plants the seeds in the ideal environment for optimum growth.

The unsung hero in this product’s success is 3D CAD. Claydon Drills used SOLIDWORKS to create sophisticated computer models of their design, enabling them to load-test the machinery and simulate breakpoints. Once the model was complete, they used a visual view of the assembly structure to produce the same kit and part numbers for the ERP system – slashing production costs.

Claydon Drills have identified this ability to translate ideas into 3D models with advanced visualisation as hugely beneficial in getting the right machine into the marketplace in the shortest possible time. In fact, since the company began using SOLIDWORKS ten years ago, Claydon Drills have expanded their annual revenue to £6 million.

When it comes to utilising 3D CAD, it seems you really can reap what you sow.

Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. offers complete 3D software tools that let you create, simulate, publish, and manage your data. SolidWorks products are easy to learn and use, and work together to help you design products better, faster, and more cost-effectively. The SolidWorks focus on ease-of-use allows more engineers, designers and other technology professionals than ever before to take advantage of 3D in bringing their designs to life.