Triax Turbine – Concurrent Engineering

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The workhorse of any modern turbine engine, high pressure turbine blades and buckets operate in temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees °F spinning in excess of 10,000 RPM, conditions that would melt ordinary metal.

Triax Turbine, a vertically integrated manufacturer of high pressure turbine components uses decades of experience to develop single crystalline investment castings and use precision machining techniques including grinding and EDM to produced finished turbine blades, buckets and vanes which are then used in aerospace and industrial gas turbines.   Spread across two locations in the US, a 34,000 sq foot investment casting foundry in Chandler, Arizona and the engineering and machining operation in Atlanta, GA. Triax is able to synchronize operations to control the entire supply chain and  ensure quality and on-time delivery with reduced overall lead times. As a high value, high performance producer of turbine components, Triax is kept busy with new and repeat customers

Concurrent Engineering in Manufacturing Process

Running multiple projects at any given time means there is a regular flow of information and files between the Arizona foundry, Georgia’s machining facility, and Triax’s international customers.  For most projects, customers provide a set of requirements and photos to start the project, and by the end of a project there will be multiple iterations and versions of design, reverse engineering models, quality files and reports which are normal for projects at Triax.

Since we control the entire manufacturing process we are able apply concurrent engineering and in turn we are able to identify and correct any bottlenecks in the development of our products,” says Sam Shock, Engineering Manager at the Triax Turbine in Georgia.

TeamPlatform Solves International Collaboration

A major bottleneck occurred with a new international customer who was trying to share data through Traix’s internal FTP.  The customer needed to share CAD, photos, drawings, and documents, but the FTP repeatedly timed out.  Searching for a better way, Triax created a TeamPlatform account, created a workspace, and the customer was able to share each and every file without issue on their very first attempt.

“We immediately knew we had a better solution for sharing files.  TeamPlatform performed much faster than FTP and we felt there was much more control and security over the data.  With TeamPlatform, only the people invited to the workspace had access to the data, whereas with FTP it was not possible to track who had been given access to files, and no way to know if a new file had been uploaded other than logging back into the FTP server which was not ideal.”

Two Sites, One Platform

Workspaces quickly became the central place to manage shared files for new projects.  Automatic file tracking and file versioning in TeamPlatform clearly indicated create date, version, and file owner which ensured that the separated teams were always collaborating on the most up-to-date files which reduced confusion and mistakes.  Customers were also invited into project workspaces and they could stay involved regardless of the type of CAD or internal network they used, which was also an attribute that Triax’s two sites could appreciate.

“The foundry uses Siemens NX for CAD and while the machining operations primarily uses SolidWorks, and each of the operations had their own internal network for keeping files on the site.  TeamPlatform provides the perfect balance between our two networks and our two different CAD platforms.”

Design Reviews, and Conference Calls made Easy

With the benefit of file sharing and file collaboration established, Triax quickly found other benefits of TeamPlatform, namely its ability to visualize 3D Scan and 3D CAD files within the web browser.  On demand 3D visualization proved useful for individuals on the project team, and not surprisingly also in the conference room.

Prior to TeamPlatform, discussing CAD during a conference meant bringing a CAD license or translator along with a workstation into the conference room, and most of the time it didn’t happen.  With TeamPlatform, Triax was able to use the integrated 3D viewer to view everything from CATIA files to 3D Scan Data with only a web-browser which helped bring 3D into conferences and project meetings.

Engaging Entire Team Generates Faster and More Accurate Quotes

Another benefit of TeamPlatform was an improvement in Triax’s quoting, proposal and sales process.  When salespeople are more in tune with engineering details and technical sales considerations for a new client project, it becomes easier and faster to develop an accurate quote or proposal, and a key part of that is being able to view 3D data.

While it is entirely possible to configure a salesperson with a laptop loaded with software to view any types of 3D files, it is also unrealistic, and prior to TeamPlatform, Traix’s salespeople were left out of the loop in viewing 3D files during the sales process.  With TeamPlatform, salespeople are more engaged and involved in the technical sales process by virtue of on-demand access to project data and 3D viewing within the web-browser, which has helped Triax salespeople work more closely with engineers to develop faster and more accurate quote and proposals for their customers.

Future Vision

Into the future, Triax expects to continue using TeamPlatform for its file sharing, file collaboration and visualization features for all client projects, while exploring more of the collaboration tools such as project tasks, commenting and annotation tools, and workspace templates.