In spring 2013, the South African cargo company Transnet ordered 232 new diesel locomotives from CNR Dalian Locomotive. These trains needed to be designed and equipped with enough power to haul freight, with dimensions suitable to operate alongside South Africa’s electric locomotives.

CNR Dalian had just delivered 11 electric freight locomotives to Uzbekistan that were customized for the country’s frigid winter temperatures. The machines were designed to run on Russian gauge 1520 mm rails and could reach speeds of up to 120 km/h.


CNR Dalian handles specialized orders like these regularly. The company is one of China’s largest rolling stock design and manufacturing companies, with a staff of 8,600 (including 1,000 engineers). These two orders account for just half of what the company can produce in a year.

Each customer has different specifications, depending on where and how the machines will be deployed. And, with such large orders, mistakes and errors can be extremely expensive and cost valuable time. Even with such a large talent pool, the company needs efficient and intuitive design tools to keep themselves on schedule and under budget.

PTC Creo and PTC Windchill are CNR Dalian’s product development tools of choice. The company has added a number of PTC Creo extensions, including PTC Creo Simulate, PTC Creo Flexible Modeling Extension, and PTC Creo Layout, to create a fully digital product design and analysis environment.

PTC Creo Advanced Assembly Extension (AAX) is perhaps the most vital add-on that the company uses. This extension allows their engineering team to work with large assemblies collaboratively. It simplifies assemblies and creates envelope parts to

substitute for detailed design assemblies, thereby improving performance as designers work on their models.

PTC Creo AAX’s top top-down design capabilities are also an important feature at the company. Engineers can use skeleton models and data-sharing features to plan the framework for a locomotive. Then, they can publish and control design interfaces between sub-assemblies and components. This lets designers work on individual areas of the design simultaneously, without worrying about overwriting one another’s work.

PTC Creo AAX also sets up one-way associative models, or models that can inherent any changes made to a parent model.

With PTC Windchill as their product lifecycle management tool, CNR Dalian can vault designs and associated data effectively. This lets them find and reuse work more easily, which speeds up their development cycles.

These PTC tools have enabled the company to create a complete 3D digital product development environment for its locomotive, urban rail, and diesel engine segments.

Interested in learning more about Creo and its 3D CAD capabilities? Read more about it here. Or why not contact us?