New U.S. Navy munitions transport system designed with Autodesk software

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., 28 April 2011. Federal Equipment Company (FEC), winner of Autodesk April Inventor of the Month, used Autodesk Inc.’s software to design a new type of elevator system for the U.S. Navy. The advanced system relies on magnets rather than cables to power its elevators, enabling the Navy to more efficiently transport munitions on board new aircraft carriers.

Posted by Courtney E. Howard

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., 28 April 2011. Federal Equipment Company (FEC), winner of Autodesk April Inventor of the Month, used Autodesk Inc.’s software to design a new type of elevator system for the U.S. Navy. The advanced system relies on magnets rather than cables to power its elevators, enabling the Navy to more efficiently transport munitions on board new aircraft carriers.

FEC elevators for the Navy’s new system use aslinear synchronous motor technology, unlike most elevators, which rely on a cable-based pulley system. This same magnet-based technology powers many high-speed trains. The elevator can move 150 feet per minute and accelerate to full speed in two seconds--a significant performance improvement over the Navy’s legacy elevator systems.

FEC worked on the project with defense contractor and shipbuilder Northrop Grumman Newport News. FEC won the $55 million project as part of a larger assignment to build the CVN-21, a new class of aircraft carrier.

FEC staff relied on Autodesk Digital Prototyping software--provided by Advanced Solutions, an Autodesk Authorized Reseller and Gold Partner--to develop, simulate, and optimize its design.

FEC engineers used Autodesk Inventor Professional software to develop an accurate prototyping model of the elevator, Autodesk Simulation Multiphysics (formerly Algor Simulation) software to simulate its real-world performance, AutoCAD Electrical to design the electrical control system, and Autodesk Vault to manage the project’s data and share it with Northrop Grumman.

Autodesk software saved us an immeasurable amount of time,” says Scott Thompson, a mechanical engineer at FEC. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, a digital model is worth 10,000.”

“FEC illustrates the innovation that can be achieved by creating a single digital model to design, visualize, and simulate the product, paired together with enterprise product data management,” explains Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group, Autodesk. “Digital Prototyping enhanced FEC designers’ and engineers’ ability to think innovatively on an ambitious endeavor such as the Naval aircraft carrier project.

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