CAD Capabilities Bring Racking Solutions to Life

Production Plus uses AutoCAD from design to fabrication, streamlining production and ensuring maximum rack density.


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Computer-aided design software is nothing new. CAD drawings have been used in the manufacturing industry for the past 30 years as a way to virtually design and manipulate prototypes for parts. 

Production Plus Corp., maker of Magic Rack, applies its AutoCAD capabilities not only to model racking solutions for paint and powder coating lines, but also as a means of communication.

Since implementing AutoCAD in 2002, the company is using CAD renderings all the way from rack design to fabrication, simplifying the line of communication and ensuring maximum racking density for its customers. 

“Generally, the old school method was graph paper and sketches, but we felt the need to be able to better communicate our ideas to our customers, so we decided to start incorporating CAD capabilities into our design processes,” says Donovan Dixon, general manager and CAD design head at Production Plus.

“We started with simple 2D drawings, then started going to more full-scale modeling with 3D,” he says. “Now we do full-scale 3D modeling and can insert customers’ .step files of their parts directly into our drawings to see how it’ll work.”

The process starts with a list of questions; the company determines the application, part size, orientation, where the surface is masked, booth and oven dimensions and part window size. Then—whether the customer provides a CAD drawing of the part or not—Production Plus designs the rack with maximum rack density in mind. 

For example, a customer needed a special grounding contact, Dixon says, and didn’t know how many racks they could fit in their part window. “Using AutoCAD, we were able to find a compromise with exactly how many parts we could get on the rack as well as how and where to apply the grounding rod.”

The main benefit of the CAD design process, Dixon says, is maximum part density and faster project turn-around times. “We can arrange their part virtually on the rack and can determine exactly how the rack will work with their system before their project even begins.”

As a result, customers get a more simplified, customized experience. “It gives them options and saves them money because we don’t need to make full samples for approval,” he says, ultimately providing a better product with fewer rejects. 

From high- to low-volume projects, customers looking for a more complicated application can use the renderings step by step to streamline not only their production and coating line, but packaging and logistics as well. 

Starting with a simple concept, CAD renderings from Production Plus bring the finishing line to life, with the help of nearly 40 years of racking experience. “They tell us what they need and we take it from there,” Dixon says. 


For more information, visit productionpluscorp.com.

Originally published in the July 2017 issue.