DDB knew they had a great product. Since 1996 they’ve been making NEMA enclosures (made for protecting electronic and telecommunications equipment from the elements) that are backed by a 15-year warranty in an industry where 90-days to a year is the norm. You can’t stay afloat with that kind of warranty with anything less than an excellent product.
DDB needed help quantifying how great their product was, so they asked Converge for some help. In other words, how much can each cabinet hold while being lifted overhead? How much can a cabinet hold while withstanding the forces of an earthquake? “They had done real-world tests, so they knew their enclosures were strong and wouldn’t fall apart. They needed a professional engineer to stamp their designs, so they could advertise that to the world,” said Converge engineer Brad Hassell. One major client of theirs wanted those qualifications, so DDB reached out to Converge. “We’ve been doing business with [Converge co-founder] Chris Castle for ten years now and have a great relationship with him,” said DDB’s Corporate General Manager Mike Mahorney. Looking to Converge’s expertise with SOLIDWORKS imulation was a natural choice.
Testing for Overhead Lifting
Converge engineers Brad Hassell and Matt Perez headed the project with the assistance of Chris Hoolihan and Eric Spendlove and final review by Chris Castle, P.E. The first step was to make sure that each cabinet could be safely lifted overhead (e.g. by a crane) per OSHA standards. For most enclosures, this meant the cabinet must be able to hold 2,000 lbs. even it one of the hooks were to fail.
A failure in this test would have made the rest moot, so that’s why this SOLIDWORKS simulation was done first. Each cabinet passed and the Converge engineers were able to provide new specifications on the angles at which the chains should be rigged for overhead lifting of the cabinets. Converge reached these specifications by running through numerous simulations to determine the worst and best cases for rigging (always with the stipulation that a professional rigger must be used, of course).
Determining Earthquake Vulnerability
Once the overhead lifting SOLIDWORKS simulations were finished, the next step was to determine earthquake vulnerability in Seismic Zone 4 (the most vulnerable zone with lateral forces up to 1 g during an earthquake). DDB wanted to ensure that their enclosures meet the Telcordia GR 63 standard which states, “Under seismic loading the enclosure should not deform more than 3 inches must return to within 0.24” of its original position” when bolted to the ground. Finding a sufficiently powerful earthquake with which to test the sixty variants was out of the question, so Converge came to the rescue again with simulation. Just like we did with the overhead lifting test, Converge was able to confirm that DDB already had a very strong product. None of the cabinets deformed more than 0.24” temporarily and so, of course, all met the standard of less than 3” of permanent deformation. The simulations didn’t just confirm that the cabinets were strong enough in an earthquake. “Ultimately, we made recommendations about the placement of the load for optimal performance,” said Matt Perez. In other words, Converge was able to specify what percentage of the load should be placed below the midline of each enclosure.
Return on Investment
DDB has been very happy with the results of Converge’s study. Sure, it helped them satisfy their client that was requesting the study, but they are already seeing larger benefits. “We’ve seen increased sales due to not having that question mark at the end of the conversation,” said Mahorney. This just goes to show that there is still a significant return on investment to be had with SOLIDWORKS simulation, even if it does not lead to design or production changes. Do you have a product you believe in and want to put numbers to? Contact us and we can help you take the question mark out of the conversation you have with clients.