Working in the world of 3D-CAD is great because it’s used to design such a wide variety of products. At SolidBox, we have worked with people designing everything from electric heating elements to mountain bikes, pizza ovens, and even monster trucks. Repeat SolidBox customer Indmar designs some of the best marine engines available for high performance towboats (used for wakeboarding and waterskiing) and jetboats (used for going up and down whitewater rivers). They do this by taking an automobile engine and marinizing it. The demands placed on a boat engine are obviously very different from those placed on a car engine, so marinization is an involved process. It entails redesigning everything but the basic engine block to meet the performance requirements of the boat it’s going in and the regulatory requirements set by the US Coast Guard.
Indmar was founded in 1971 by Marine Corps veteran Dick Rowe in Millington, Tennessee. To this day, it remains family-owned with Dick’s son Chuck Rowe currently at the helm. In the 47 years since the company’s inception, they have made numerous innovations and have become the largest privately-held manufacturer of gasoline-powered inboard marine engines. They were the first to provide private label inboard engines built to OEM boat specifications for power and appearance in 1985. They introduced fuel injection to the marine engine industry in 1992 and in 1994 they became the first company to deliver custom calibrated engine control modules (ECM) to match specific hull designs and applications. Indmar has also been the first to marinize a variety of automobile engines including Cadillac’s NorthStar engine and Chevrolet’s LS-1 Corvette engine. Today their product line is composed of variations of the Ford 6.2L 16-valve V8 that powers the F-250 Super Duty truck. Each engine is tailored to a specific boat model and they vary in horsepower from the 350-horsepower Raptor 400 to the supercharged 510-horsepower Raptor 575.
For the first two decades of the business, all drafting was done manually. Indmar began using CAD in the early 1990’s with AutoCAD and then later Pro/ENGINEER and Inventor. They made the switch to SOLIDWORKS in 2014. The factors that drove them to SOLIDWORKS were ease of use, cost, and the fact that it makes it easier to interface with customers, according to Jason Stimmel, VP of Engineering at Indmar. Their customers are boat manufacturers that need to be able to collaborate with them on engine design. “Almost all our customers have some version of SOLIDWORKS and a lot of our vendors do, too,” said Jason.
Indmar has gone all in with SOLIDWORKS. They have five CAD users in their company and each is either a Certified SOLIDWORKS Professional (CSWP) or Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert (CSWE). They’ve bought six SolidBoxes since May of 2015 including their server. “Since we began using SolidBoxes we don’t have nearly as many hardware issues as we did before,” said Jason. They never have to worry about whether the components are compatible with SOLIDWORKS and they have seen an increase in productivity due to faster load times and much greater stability. “Our engines are really complex, so a crash even if you’re saving every five minutes can be catastrophic.”
We also assisted Indmar with a PDM migration after they purchased a server from us. This assistance came in the form of service blocks. Our service blocks consist of technical support and project-based training that can be used anytime in 15-minute increments. “It was the flexibility that I really liked…the ability to use it when I need it,” said Indmar’s Information Technology Manager Stephen Tindall. He was the System Administrator at the time and oversaw the project. Oun Chau is the engineer who handled the migration and Stephen was very pleased his work. “He did everything for us. It was a white-glove handover. I haven’t had a problem out of that server since the day we got it from you guys,” said Stephen.
Indmar has received more customer satisfaction awards than any other inboard marine engine manufacturer and is known for introducing industry-first technology, advanced performance, and season-after-season reliability. They were, after all, the first to provide a 5-year factory warranty. So, it’s no surprise that they would appreciate that same kind of reliability out of their CAD workstations and server. They have been a great customer of ours and we are proud that they use SolidBox workstations for everything from the early stages of design to the production of renderings and technical documentation. Boats with Indmar engines should be at the top of your list if you value performance and reliability. If you’re looking for those same qualities in a CAD workstation…well you know who to talk to.