A mammoth vehicle designed to detect and remove mines moonlights as the evil Decepticon Bonecrusher in the recently released Transformers movie. The 23-ton Buffalo MPCV (Mine Protected Clearance Vehicle) measures 27 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 13 feet tall. A long hydraulic arm is equipped with a rake attachment to scoop up roadside explosives.
Force Protection (Charleston, SC) designed the Buffalo MPCV with SolidWorks and COSMOSWorks software. “It’s pretty cool to have a character in a movie based upon one of our company’s designs,” said Derek Parker, engineering section manager of the Capsule Group at Force Protection. “But as menacing as the transformer looks on film, the Buffalo’s real-life mission means that it must be even more rugged than what is portrayed in the film. SolidWorks and COSMOSWorks allowed us to explore myriad design options to make sure it is tough enough to withstand the extreme conditions that it operates in.”
Concept art from the Transformers movie shows the Buffalo MPCV and its Bonecrusher transformation.
The company uses 94 licenses of SolidWorks to design a range of vehicles used in military applications. The company conducts much of its vehicle prototyping on computers.
“We’re now able to see if components such as engine mounts or the drive train will line up within required tolerances to ensure a safe and reliable vehicle. The software allows us to save time so we can focus on evaluating the best design approach and constantly improve our designs while reducing the number of prototypes we build. Ultimately, we begin final production sooner, and minimize otherwise huge expenses,” said Parker.
Parker cited other SolidWorks benefits, including the intuitive user interface, associativity to automate changes throughout the design, and easily understandable 3D models that politicians, military commanders, and non-engineers can interpret.
Force Protection is a blast and ballistics research and manufacturing enterprise. It specializes in development and production of vehicles designed to shield troops from the deadly effects of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) such as roadside bombs.
A SolidWorks podcast features details on the vehicle’s real-life work as well as how it came to “act” in the Transformers movie. Bonecrusher's big-screen fame will likely be short lived. During the movie's highway chase scene, he attacks Optimus Prime, the commander of the Autobots, who beheads him with his retractable blade.