HydraForce has released the latest version of i-Design, its circuit design tool. Version 5 of i-Design supports the trends toward integrated hydraulic systems, expanded use of electro-hydraulics, and greater global application of hydraulic manifolds and cartridge valves.
i-Design is a manifold design software that allows users to create custom integrated manifold circuits, specify valve assembly layout, and generate a bill of material for their assembly. The user can build a circuit using “drag and drop” technology to specify the location of valves, ports, mounting holes and other manufacturers’ components on a manifold surface. i-Design can then generate a report and bill of materials which they can use to develop a price with an authorized HydraForce distributor.
i-Design software gives the designer the ability to select valves by graphic symbol or function as well as model number or description. The library includes more than 500 valves, including the latest multi-function, high pressure, load-sensing cartridge valves and electronic valve drivers. Common combinations of valves for hydraulic inlets, fan drives, flow and directional control systems are now available in the software. A new graphical user interface based on Microsoft Windows also helps to speed up the design process.
Version 5 of i-Design takes a large technological leap forward with the internal PRO add-on, a feature that can automate a manifold design and allows for click and drag plotting of cross-drills within a hydraulic manifold. This feature improves the speed of design and manufacturability and provides our engineering teams with a solid basis for a design which can then be modified to suit the needs of the customer.
“While nothing can completely replace the human touch, i-Design provides technology that takes into account thedesign considerations shared by our specialized group of more than 25 manifold designers throughout the world,” said David Price, Marketing Communications Manager. “Our approach to manifold design has always been to remove the concept of a one size fits all solution. The best manifold designs can and should be a collaborative process. With this release we are furthering our position of leadership. However, there’s simply no technological replacement for an applications engineer meeting with a customer to provide an optimized design,” he added.
“The technology integrated into i-Design 5 will also be used to augment and improve our hydraulic circuit design capabilities. It gives us the flexibility to automate aspects of our manifold design to improve throughput speed and fully facilitates our iterative approach to manifold design by allowing us to easily present alternatives to the customer so they can choose the best options for their machine. It also removes a lot of the documentation burden associated with engineered to order products by providing report exports for machining, bill of material, and dimensional prints.”
i-Design is PC-based rather than web-based, which allows it to take advantage of the inherent processing power of the PC to configure designs that best suit the needs of the customer. Web-based tools can’t easily support “drag and drop” functions or the ability to design in a 3D format.
“In the last five years, we’ve really focused on making i-Design the fastest way to do a hydraulic circuit design,” said Rick Clendening, Technical Services Manager. “To save time, we’ve prepackaged some of the most common combinations of valves in what we call the INTEGR8 circuits. Design engineers now have the option to start from scratch, or choose a time-saving INTEGR8 circuit then customize it for the specific needs of their application.” New INTEGR8 circuits include inlets and fan drives for fixed or variable displacement pumps in two flow ranges, 0-15 or 0-50 gpm. Inlet circuits can be selected. Circuits for directional control and flow control are also included in i-Design 5.
i-Design supports global applications with language options in English and Chinese. Designs can be created in English and auto-translated into Chinese, or created in Chinese and auto-translated into English.
i-Design 5 can also be integrated with Automation Studio created by Famic Technologies of Montreal, Quebec. By downloading the hydraulic valve library compatibility pack, users can create and modify prototype hydraulic schematics, and then model and function-test system performance specifications in Automation Studio before creating a prototype manifold.
“We’ve worked hard with Famic throughout the years to improve the capabilities of the i-Design tool and to improve the compatibility of i-Design schematics with the powerful Automation Studio simulation tool”, said Tony Casale, HydraForce Vice President, Business Development. “Thanks to our partnership with Famic, we can virtually test any i-Design circuit and fine tune our designs in Automation Studio before cutting any metal.”
Charbel Nasr, President of Famic Technologies said “Version 5 of i-Design integrates the results of several years of intensive R&D effort to develop algorithms to support the work of manifold design engineers. The software helps the engineers to dedicate more time on the most important part of a manifold project: quickly creating the solution that best fits customer’s requirements. The overall time spent on a project is significantly reduced because of the trade oriented interface that optimizes the project lifecycle.”
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