Performing In The Clutch
Dodson Motorsport uses Onshape to design and upgrade dual clutches for world record-setting race cars
We were expanding research and development here at Dodson Motorsport, and wanted to evaluate all our options besides SOLIDWORKS. We looked at PRO/E, Autodesk, Geomagic and a number of other CAD packages. Then we came across Onshape and it just did everything we wanted it to do. We were really impressed.
Stefan van Woerden, R&D Engineer, Dodson Motorsport
To call the Dodson Motorsport engineering and manufacturing team “clutch performers” is the ultimate understatement. The New Zealand company watches client after client set world drag racing records in the quarter mile. Here are some of the speed records broken in 2017 with teams who raced with Dodson’s dual clutch upgrades:
- Maximum PSI of New Jersey, broke the record for the BMW F8X twice with 9.87 seconds @145mph, and then 9.82 seconds @145mph.
- EKanoo Racing of Bahrain and Esmotor of Turkey, set the Porsche PDK record with 8.99 seconds @161 mph.
- Extreme Turbo Systems of Washington set the Nissan GT-R record twice with 6.91 seconds @195 mph then 6.88 seconds @222 mph.
- Iroz Motorsport and Anthony Taylor, of Nevada, set the MK7 VW Golf record with 9.5 seconds @145 mph.
Founded by celebrated race car driver Harry Dodson and automotive engineer Glenn Cupit in 2000, Dodson Motorsport now is a world leader in aftermarket dual clutch transmission components for high-end and performance vehicles with a global dealer network covering six continents. The company’s products include custom clutches and transmissions for race cars from Nissan, Mitsubishi, Porsche, VW, BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Lamborghini.
“It’s really a cool experience to watch our customers win races and realize that we designed the clutch and had those parts on our desk last month,” says R&D engineer Stefan van Woerden. “There’s definitely an excitement in our office knowing our work is sometimes even helping them set world records!”
Improving the Design and Manufacturing Workflow
To design and upgrade dual clutch transmissions for race cars, Dodson Motorsport chose Onshape, a modern 3D professional CAD system that unites modeling tools and design data management in a secure cloud workspace. One of the main reasons for switching CAD systems was that database-driven Onshape eliminates the confusion over multiple copies of part files – erasing engineer worries over which version of their work is really the latest version.
“When we were using SOLIDWORKS, we were having issues with managing revisions. Managing all the files associated with a particular version or update was very difficult, making it almost impossible to know which files a particular department or vendor were working with,” says van Woerden.
“We have many departments that have input into the research and development of our products. We’ve since set up all these departments with Onshape accounts so they have access the latest designs for manufacturing,” he adds. ”The workflow from R&D through to installing the new kit on a vehicle is greatly improved due to the great functionality and cross-platform nature of Onshape."
Automatic CAD Updates & Responsive Tech Support
As the Dodson team receives automatic CAD updates in the cloud every three weeks, they can remain confident that collaboration with their global partners won’t be blocked by software incompatibility issues. Every Onshape user is always on the same software version – the latest one.
Onshape updates – which require no installation – include new features, enhancements and bug fixes determined by customer priorities.
“We've submitted a range of requests and a number of them have already come to fruition,” van Woerden says. “The drawing portion of Onshape has really come a long way since we started – we’re very stoked about the new drawing features and how they help us make sure our manufacturing departments know exactly what we want.”
“Whenever we’ve had a question or issue, we’ve always gotten a response from tech support within six hours,” he adds, referring to Onshape’s built-in Feedback tool. “When we were using our old CAD system, sometimes I didn’t bother putting in requests because we just expected not to hear back. In general though, it usually takes suppliers weeks to get back to us on different subjects. We really appreciate Onshape’s open line of communication.”
“There’s also a number of Onshape employees who will answer you on the Forums and lots of pro users there who will share useful tips and suggestions. What I really like about the Forums is that we can hone our skills by reading how other engineers are using the new features.”
Full Speed Ahead – With Clutches & CAD
Dodson Motorsport also sponsors major racing events, such as the 2018 GTR Festival New Zealand at Hampton Downs. The adrenaline rush of racing is felt at the company year-round.
“It’s a huge part of our workplace culture,” van Woerden says. “A number of our employees are personally involved with racing in New Zealand. Our service manager has a car out on the track on weekends. We’re not just designing and manufacturing parts for race cars, we’re in the crews on the pitlane and in the audience, too.”
Meanwhile, as the Dodson design and manufacturing team helps make race cars faster, they credit their new CAD system for helping speed up their own work, too.
“We really value the ability for multiple designers and supervisors to be in the same Document at the same time,” van Woerden adds. “We have a number of different departments under one roof and being able to talk by speakerphone and follow the other person’s mouse in Onshape, is really useful. Onshape has improved how we move from design to prototyping and back to design again for testing. It’s made us a lot quicker.”