Working for a company who produces a range of conveyors and recycling equipment, KJC Design Solutions was asked to create an assembly of a recycling plant that featured over 90 conveyors and other pieces of bespoke equipment.

The design of the recycling plant had been drawn in detailed in 2D and the customer wanted the project converted into its newly purchased SolidWorks system, so that an animation could be created for marketing their products, and could create a base assembly for future projects.

The challenge on this project was to use the existing 2D data and other documentation to generate an accurate representation / large assembly of the recycling plant.

Working from the architectural plans and the existing data we needed to create the assembly without generating an unusable 3D data set, as the file size of the project could cause opening & time issues on many computers.

As the overall recycling plant featured over 90 conveyors and other bespoke equipment, a decision was made on how much of the detail / feature geometry of the equipment would be sufficient to be brought into the 3D CAD models. i.e. cost & time detail modelling vs overall assembly detail. It was therefore agreed that at a later date more detailed models / assemblies could be created and replaced with the basic models.

Using sketches of the plan side and front views of the conveyors and equipment, basic 3D models were able to be generated, sufficient enough to represent the equipment. This process was also used for creating much of the weldments used in the steelwork and walkway assemblies.

The final model / assembly was also to include the external design of the plant building, with the overall dimensions of the plant spanning 120m x 70m.

Animating the assembly, as originally highlighted, proved to be the big challenge at the time of producing the presentation video. In 2005 both the hardware and SolidWorks / Photo Works presented some challenges in creating presentation videos.

The animation, renders and video was created to a great standard at that time. However 10 years on (in 2015) from completing this project we now can do so much more with computers, and with SolidWorks capability of working with large assemblies many of those early day challenges have been resolved with the later versions of the software.