UAS manufacturer uses PTC software to cut development time

By Patrick C. Miller | October 09, 2014

FourthWing, a designer and manufacturer of small unmanned aerial systems, credits PTC's Creo software with significantly reducing development time for its new designs.

Based in Needham, Massachusetts, PTC provides software to help create, analyze, view and leverage product designs using 2D and 3D CAD (computer-aided design), parametric modeling and direct modeling.

FourthWing, located in Mankato, Minnesota, used PTC’s Creo to incorporate new aircraft designs—along with thousands of legacy parts—in time for the 2014 growing season.

“We were able to deliver our new precision agriculture aircraft system in four months, half the time usually needed,” said Todd Colten, FourthWing’s lead aerospace engineer.

FourthWing designs and manufactures sensor payloads and fully integrated small UAS for agriculture, infrastructure monitoring and public-use markets. With electrical engineering, software, mechanical CAD and design divisions, the company needed a CAD solution that would allow for easy communication, sharing and modification.

“We have always turned to PTC for our CAD solutions,” Colten said. “Now with the improved productivity elements incorporated into PTC Creo, I can do tasks such as cross-sectioning in one-fourth the time—including the critical component of sharing it for review.”

As with other in the rapidly growing model-centric manufacturers, FourthWing needed the ability to easily convert CAD files into a 3D printed part. PTC Creo models are leveraged in both computer numerical control and 3D printing technologies.

“With PTC Creo, we made a commitment to giving our customers the flexibility and control they need to develop higher quality, better designed products,” said Brian Thompson, PTC vice president of CAD product management. “We are thrilled that FourthWing is capitalizing on that flexibility to not only communicate with internal divisions, but to fully engage with the new path that manufacturing is taking.”