Case study

Nupress: keeping an eye on the future

50 years on and leading the industry

Nupress Tools first opened their doors in 1971, but unlike many such long-standing companies, they’ve worked hard to keep their attention on the future. As technology moved on, so too did Nupress. They’ve gone from producing tools with winding handles to parts for CNC machines with robot interfaces, which managing director Murray Clair sees as a shift towards Industry 4.0. They work in the defence industry, manufacture parts for power generation across APAC and for the mining industry. They’ve also carved a niche creating tools for the medical industry. 60% of their work involves creating facades for the North American architectural industry – a big part of why, in 2005, they went looking for another, more interoperable design platform.

“All the engineering used to be done on drawing boards with slide rules. Now it’s all done with design. We needed to stay at the pointy end of technology,” says Murray. “And Cadpro came to the forefront to help us.”

Project Location:
New South Wales

Software Used:

Interior of the Nupress workshop with man walking and CNC machines

The challenge

While Nupress had been using computers in their design process for decades, the previous platforms had limitations and their previous software didn’t interface well with other platforms – particularly those used by their architecture clients.

“It was a break in the digital chain, and not very Industry 4.0. To create the code for the machines we’d have to reproduce information that was already there. We’d need to do 500 clicks to create one part, and then repeat it for every part.”

The previous platform also wasn’t subscription & cloud-hosted, which made things costly.

“We had to buy full perpetual licenses, so we were reluctant to grow our business – it’d cost too much money for 6 extra licenses that we only needed for the next 12 months. This meant it was hard to scale up on a project basis,” says Murray. “It’d take a $12K supercomputer to run it, and that’d be outdated in six months.”

“All the engineering used to be done on drawing boards with slide rules. Now it’s all done with computer-aided designs. We needed to stay at the pointy end of technology,” says Murray. “And Cadpro came to the forefront to help us.”

The solution

The Autodesk suite of products delivered exactly what Nupress was looking for. Their architect clients widely use Autodesk’s Revit BIM software, so switching to Autodesk Inventor and Inventor CAM made sense.

“It gave us the interoperability with other platforms that architects were using,” says Murray. “It gives us adaptability through the digital chain, from sketches to the physical part to the installer in a construction project. Having it all in the Autodesk family means the line’s not broken.”

The company uses Inventor to design all mechanical parts and assemblies and leverage the smart capabilities in the software. This lets them automate various functions and build the CNC code from modelling information, rather than starting from scratch with a paper drawing.

“You can import one-off parts, then use Inventor’s Direct Edit CAD tools to make modifications where needed to prep the model for CAM programming. Or, you can use iLogic to build part families, fully toolpath them in CAM, then automate the creation of thousands of unique parts all from a single intelligent 3D model. Inventor effectively allows us to apply a production mentality to highly customisable part families. Whereas, a lot of other systems, you bring the dumb model in, then manually create the code for the machine, making small model changes difficult and part families impossible.”

Having the hosting in the cloud and billed as a subscription relieves Nupress of significant upfront costs.

”The heavy lifting and computing are done in the cloud, so I can just have it loaded onto a relatively inexpensive computer,” explains Murray. “Also, it’s more scalable – if I need extra licenses, I can just subscribe for the time I need them.”

It was Cadpro’s in-house expertise – particularly from MFG and CAM technical specialist Scott Moyse.

“They’re highly technical. They’re very knowledgeable about how to work smarter, how to use automation to get more out of the software. Scott even lectures at Autodesk University, giving other resellers and trainers tips on how to do things,” says Murray. “The tech support you get from Cadpro is great – they’re good people.”

The result

With the Autodesk suite integrated with his clients’ systems, the Nupress design system is streamlined. The team simply imports the files, and the process happens automatically, reducing time spent and the potential for errors or oversight.

“There’s no substitute for working smarter – it’s a competitive edge,” says Murray.

He sees tools like Autodesk Product Design & Manufacturing Collection as an essential part of moving the Australian manufacturing industry forward.

“Software is the tool this industry needs to be on the edge. It’s about digital transformation, not writing code by hand to create parts from 2D drawings.”

Learn more about Nupress
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