Designing a caravan or motorhome is a great example of design ingenuity, taking a solution and improving on it. This autumn Cadtek customer Bailey of Bristol deliver their best ever coach-built motorhome, the 2017 Bailey Autograph range.
All new, all SolidWorks, 2017 Autograph
Baileys have been designing and manufacturing caravans and motorhomes for over 65 years. Continually innovating and pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved and their latest range, the 2017 Bailey Autograph, is no exception. Because of its scale, Bailey turned to SolidWorks 3D CAD, PDM and SolidWorks Composer solutions to manage the whole project. We take a closer look as Bailey prepare for the launch of two new models at the Motor-home and Caravan Show this October.
“The Autograph II project was the first Bailey project to design a complete van in SolidWorks, including all of the manufacturing drawings. All of this was done with EPDM. This included body mouldings, exterior panels, interior furniture, soft furnishings, carpet etc.” – Jason Cooper (CAD Manager)
Designing with the customer in mind
In a motor-home or caravan space is limited. The job of a designer is to maximise the value of an area whilst also creating a spacious feel. All of Baileys interiors are now designed in SolidWorks, including the Pegasus and Unicorn models. This has therefore allowed Bailey to review designs early and implement changes instantly. No more need for outsourcing design and a dramatic reduction in costly prototypes.
Designing completely in house has given Bailey the freedom to design without restrictions and with their customers in mind.
14,000 files, 1,500 bespoke components and over 3,000 drawings
Every part of the new Autograph has been designed and tested using SolidWorks 3D CAD and Simulation tools. This has therefore created a huge amount of CAD data.
Bailey’s design team have produced over 14,000 design files, 1,500 bespoke components and created over 3,000 drawings to complete the 7 vans of the new Autograph II range, all managed through SolidWorks PDM. The integrity of data with CAD models of this size is so important. That is why they chose and really benefited from the usability and security of SolidWorks PDM. (Product Data Management – Formally known as Enterprise)
“We have collaborated with over 30 SolidWorks users over 3 different sites. We would not have been able to manage this data reliably without Enterprise (PDM). All drawing checking and approving has been done electronically through Enterprise.” – Jason Cooper
Any project, large or small, will have prototypes and revisions. It is SolidWorks’ ability to reduce the need for prototypes and manage revisions that has helped make this project such a success.
It is important to communicate any new product clearly and early. If you can work on user guides and marketing visuals while still within the design stage, you can shorten the time between initial concept and product launch. With the official release of two new models to the Autograph range this October, Bailey have utilised SolidWorks Composer. They have been able to create easy to follow product demonstrations in both video and manual format, all automated from the existing CAD data. Creating great end user guides is no longer a painful exercise.
“We have used SolidWorks Composer to create product demonstration videos of how to configure beds. We have also created some line-side aids to help assemble furniture.” – Jason Cooper
We can even give a little sneak preview of the Autograph 79-4T lounge and bed configuration.
From Bristol to Byron Bay
Bailey are experiencing continued growth and not just here in the UK. The Bristol based company have recently opened up a manufacturing facility in Melbourne, Australia, who also benefit from SolidWorks 3D CAD. The floors, sides, ceilings and back-panels are manufactured here in the UK which are then shipped flat packed in containers. Shipping the exterior flat packed this way has saved a huge amount on transport costs and therefore helped to open up new international markets for this very British company.
The Alu-Tech body shell
Now a prerequisite of all Bailey’s caravan and motor-homes. Alu-Tech is a revolutionary body shell construction system that is the first of its kind in the UK caravan industry and shares many similarities with the monocoque production designs currently used in the automotive industry.
It incorporates a system whereby the individual body shell components all contribute to the overall strength of the structure rather than solely relying on the floor and chassis.
You can see the Autograph range and more of Bailey’s Motor-Homes and Caravans at this year’s Motor-home and Caravan Show, 11-16 October 2016, Birmingham NEC.