Established in 1996, Byrd Technology Group specializes in product design, industrial design, thermal and structural analysis, photorealistic rendering, packaging and rapid prototyping. Located in Bedford, New Hampshire, the company is managed by its President, Timothy Byrd, a mechanical engineer with 25 years of product design and analytical experience. Working with industries like aerospace, commercial, military, and oceanographic, Tim combines the power of FEA, CFD and CAD to develop products for his customers.
Working with CAPINC, Byrd Technology uses SolidWorks software and a Dimension 3D printer, allowing them to offer everything to their customers, from design, to analysis, to photorealistic rendering and rapid prototyping. While other design companies consider design and analysis separate phases of product development, Byrd Technology Group starts analysis at the beginning of the product design cycle. Their integrated approach to the design process eliminates the need for separate analysts and costly redesigns, saving their customers precious time and money. With SolidWorks Simulation, Byrd Technology is able to not only design products, but preform tests to see if the product is going to function as designed.
With Tim’s extensive background in analysis, he explained how SolidWorks Simulation has made testing product designs easier for his customers to understand.
“SolidWorks Simulation is really great for analysis … it’s not just the fact that it does a good job at it, it’s the post processing, it’s how you can create cutaways… and you can actually go in and look at everything above the yield, so say the yield is 36,000 KSI, you can say anything above 36 KSI, light that up, and it’ll actually give you a view of those specific areas rather than just a big color plot that most customers aren’t going to understand anyway. They’re going to say ‘Well, is it good or is it bad?’ That’s the nice thing about SolidWorks Simulation, it gives you tools that allow you to look at areas that are specific to what the customers looking for, the maximum stress or fatigue, that type of thing. That’s a great advantage to using SolidWorks Simulation.”
Tim also appreciates SolidWorks Simulations graphical interface. Instead of showing a fixed 2D image, he now uses Simulation to show how liquids or gases flow through a design with realistic 3D graphics.
“Now our thermal capabilities, we can do real-time animation so that people don’t just see a solid, static image. We can take that image, and we can take a cut away of any system, and just move it back and forth and you can see the air flow patterns, and the temperatures and the pressures, and all that. We can also do real-time animation, so you can see how the air is flowing through and changing color as it moves, for temperature, pressure, or velocity throughout a system. These two packages give us incredible capability to not just design products, but design products that are going to work and prove that they are going to work. We’re not just saying, hey we use great design principals, we do, but we prove it. We prove it with our structural analysis, our FEA, and our CFD.”
Along with design and analysis, Byrd Technology Group provides photorealistic renderings to their customers, which work well for customers who are searching for investors. For these investors to visually see a concept in the proposed designed environment is priceless. Contractor Stephen Byrd works heavily with SolidWorks and PhotoView 360 for the company’s renderings.
“SolidWorks is, generally speaking, extremely easy to use, which is what’s great about it. It’s very intuitive, but on top of that, the rendering capabilities of SolidWorks within the PhotoView program is pretty fantastic.”
Combining the power of PhotoView 360 with other graphic design software is simple for Stephen. He works directly from PhotoView to modo, a designer-friendly 3D software from Luxology that combines modeling, sculpting, painting, animation and rendering in a natural workflow. Modo provides freeform conceptual modeling tools based on the use of Subdivision Surfaces and provides state-of-the-art visualization using the same renderer as used in PhotoView 360. Stephen described how he uses the software with Modo for advanced rendering and visualization.
“One thing that SolidWorks is great with is compatibility with a lot of other stuff, but there’s direct compatibility with Modo so we can bring models with materials and everything right into Modo and everything is still there. Still right exactly how it was and then we can go from there and set up environments, lights, whatever and work a little bit more on the materials to make them more specific. PhotoVeiw gives you that initial ability and then you can kind of take it to the next level so that compatibility is fantastic.”
Even with how great SolidWorks is, it is still 3D virtual modeling. Combining that with their 3D Dimension Printer, Byrd Technology Group believes that it’s a priceless experience for customers to have a prototype to hold in their hands. Stephen explained the company’s initial interest in 3D printing and how the company has benefited from the investment.
“Originally when we got the Stratasys printer, it was more of something we could offer to our clients, as well as a testing capability for us. So we could make the parts in SolidWorks and actually see how they are going to go together, make sure that our design was good, and that everything was going to be seamless.”
Over time, Byrd Technology’s customers have started to see the value in 3D printing their designs during the design process. Stephen spoke about how the popularity of the Stratasys machine has grown, and continues to attract designers.
“There are a lot of people that really, really love having the ability to have their products printed and have a prototype in their hand. So it’s grown pretty quickly, and once people use it, every time they do something they want it printed just because once they see how real it actually is and that it’s so quick and really not that expensive, especially in comparison to injection molding a part, it’s a fraction of the cost, they just see the value there. It’s kind of just like the renders, after people do it once, they keep doing it because they really see that value. But it’s just initially helping the customer understand what that value is to them and how it’s going to help them long term. Initially I think it’s like, ‘I don’t need a prototype, I could just build it’, but to get something for a fraction of the price really quickly that you can test with and use.”
Byrd Technology’s prototyping capabilities and test equipment verify the function and integrity of products early in the design phase, saving their customers time and money. But they don’t just use their 3D printer for prototyping alone. Stephen explained how the Dimension printer enables small part production.
“Another thing about the Dimension printer is that if you’re doing low-volume printing, or low volume parts, sometimes you can just use it. It’s not just a prototype machine. For some of the parts that are really unique, instead of making a mold and paying thousands of dollars a lot of times, they can just print.”
By using tools like SolidWorks and their Dimension 3d printer, the team at Byrd Technology Group keep providing their customers with quality designs and products. Watch the entire interview with the Byrd Technology Group to learn more about the company, their solutions, and how they are using CAPINC solutions.