A Look At How Callaway Cars Excels With Pro/ENGINEER
By Mike Mello
Fast. Precise. Cutting-edge performance. These qualities come to mind when describing the abilities of a renown sports car like the Callaway Corvette and can also be used when taking a look at the software used to develop the exclusive Callaway performance package.
During a recent visit to Callaway Cars in Connecticut, Callaway engineers showed how they used PTC’s Pro/ENGINEER 4.0 Wildfire program to help design, test, and develop their parts. On the outside, the carbon fiber hood is a stand-out visual clue that distinguishes a Callaway-prepared Corvette from others but it’s also the supercharger, suspension, exhaust and more that work together to deliver 580 bhp and 510 lb-ft torque. As Callaway Managing Director Michael Zoner and Chief Engineer Patrick Hodgins explained, since 1997, Callaway has been using Pro/ENGINEER to design and build exclusive vehicle systems that are powerful, emissions compliant, reliable, able to be reproduced and driven under real road conditions.
A tour of the Callaway facilities included viewing all the milling machines, lathes, flow benches and the dynamometer room. After walking amongst this collection of equipment, it’s fascinating to see how Pro/ENGINEER is used in such and environment. Callaway engineers can design and produce their performance-enhancing parts right there and Pro/ENGINEER lets them work out much of their design challenges in a virtual space before testing and fitting actual parts in the shop. For example, a Callaway engineer can obtain an original file from an OE for a part such as an air induction tube, then, Pro/ENGINEER lets one design from the top-down to work within the space where the re-engineered air tube must be installed.
Being able to go into the manufacturer’s original design file and work within certain end constraints is an important part of Pro/ENGINEER’s capabilities since it allows companies to bring their product to market faster. When you don’t have to start with a blank page, you can keep up with design changes and edit the part right in the assembly.
It’s important to note that even though many 3D design programs can import and export all kinds of files, Pro/ENGINEER has the ability to clean incoming and outgoing data so as to minimize or eliminate the loss of data in translation. Imagine opening a file for a vehicle’s exhaust manifold that you were going to re-engineer and being met with a drawing full of gaps and other geometric problems. At this point, Pro/ENGINEER’s Import DataDoctor can be called upon to save time and make the necessary repairs.
Callaway doesn’t just work on Corvettes; they have designed systems for Holden Special Vehicles, Land Rover, Mazda, and others. When Mazda decided to enhance the 2003 MazdaSpeed Protege’s turbo system, Callaway was hired to design, test, and manufacture 5,500 turbo systems. Pro/ENGINEER’s ability to test the durability of the turbo package was a necessary tool when it came to ensuring the proper level of MazdaSpeed performance. Other project points handled by Callaway included the development of installation instructions, installation training and related documents. Pro/ENGINEER helped speed up the process letting the engineers concentrate on component design since the program can track revisions as they are made and make sure that information is linked to the correct files.
A final key component to Callaway and Mazda’s success with this project was the fact that Pro/ENGINEER enabled engineers from both companies to communicate effectively. In under 10 months, Callaway completed its largest production run to date by manufacturing 5,500 turbo systems for the MazdaSpeed brand, all while sharing files with project engineers in Japan, California and Michigan.
Overall, when designers and engineers can spend more time prototyping, less time chasing a paper trail, and communicate easily, development time can be greatly reduced. Although there are dozens of other intricate features packed into the latest version of Pro/ENGINEER, this visit to Callaway proved that the software helps Callaway develop and install their highly-refined performance packages and please a healthy flow of customers. The line of Corvettes outside the shop awaiting their improvements can attest to that.
How Callaway got started with GM
In 1985, GM tested one of the Alfa Romeo Callaway Twin Turbo GTV-6 cars. This Alfa was Callaway’s first OEM project and GTV-6 proved to be quite impressive when tested against the Corvette. After seeing the Callaway name underneath the hood, GM contacted Callaway and work on the Callaway Corvette began. From 1987-1991, Chevrolet sold around 530 Callaway Corvettes, each featuring 403 hp and 565 lb-ft.
Interested in a Callaway Corvette?
Interested buyers can contact an approved Chevrolet dealer. The new Corvette is shipped to Callaway to receive its upgrades and returned to the Chevrolet dealer upon completion.
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