Extensive experience in CAD design automation processes for manufacturers of ETO products.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

How DriveWorks Adds Value to your Electrical Enclosure Manufacturing Business

DriveWorks Adds Value to Your Electrical Enclosure Manufacturing Business

DriveWorks is commonly perceived to be only useful in the product design stages to automatically generate 3D models and drawings, but it can actually be applied across multiple stages to expect better productivity and value addition.

Despite wide application of enclosures meant to protect electrical equipment and machines, its manufacturers ideally have very few differentiating factors to compete in the market. There are international design standards that almost every enclosure manufacturer has to follow along with couple of other certifications for quality checking purposes.

The demand for electrical enclosures on the contrary is expected to rise, with rising demand in consumer goods, energy, food, clean water, construction materials and infrastructure. This is because each industry will need to employ electrical equipment and machines to meet the growing demands. And, with increasing number of these machines & equipments, there will be an equal requirement of enclosures for protecting the automation systems, electrical equipment and machines.

For a manufacturer then, the only competing factor remains the pricing that they offer to customers, and the ability to manufacture and deliver the enclosures on or before the committed deadlines.

Manufacturers, for differentiating themselves from competition in such situations need to adopt right technology & tools that assist in improving the design and business processes, and add value to the business for enhanced profitability.

One way to achieve this is through integrating automation in processes like quotation, design and sales using design automation tools like DriveWorks. This tool is commonly perceived to be only useful in the product design stages to automatically generate 3D models and drawings, but it can actually do much more than that.

DriveWorks can be actually applied across multiple stages to expect better productivity and value addition, which can further enhances the brand value of the business.
Let’s look at how automating different processes can add more value in your electrical enclosure manufacturing business.

Automate Quoting

One of the key advantages of implementing DriveWorks for enclosure manufacturing is the ability to come up with quick and accurate quotes. Capturing the knowledge on design and manufacturing cost for enclosures and implementing rules can enable your sales team to quickly configure the enclosure as per customer requirements through a simple form.
Rather than struggling to communicate with the manufacturing department, the quote is generated automatically depending on the selection made, allowing your sales teams to confidently place the bids or accurately quote the customers.

Automate Library Creation

DriveWorks can actually help you to generate SolidWorks product library comprising of different enclosure configurations, without actually developing each part or assembly individually. The SQL database architecture that DriveWorks utilizes can be utilized to generate SolidWorks parts automatically. A SQL database also helps in maintaining and reusing existing parts easily. It saves your engineers from using Design Tables that gets complex with addition of new variants in the library.

Automate Integration with Enterprise Business Systems

The design automation tool for SolidWorks has the capability to be utilized across your ERP and CRM systems as well. The BOM generated by DriveWorks after the product is specified, can be directly utilized for electronic upload in ERP systems such as MS Dynamics, SYSPRO and others. This eliminates the manual BOM entry in ERP systems and avoids possibilities of errors. The tool can work the other way around, to access information on pricing and product availability from the ERP systems to generate quote.

For CRM systems like Salesforce, DriveWorks can automatically generate information on account, opportunity, contact, price book entry, new product, quote and more. The data populates automatically in the drawings and quotations and can also be utilized for providing discount rates and during the calculation for exchange and shipping rates.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Implementing Design Automation to Improve Design Processes

Implementing Design Automation to Improve Design Processes
There’s a prominent trend of design automation within the manufacturing sector today; may it be furniture manufacturers or mechanical components manufacturers or manufacturers of industrial equipment.

But what does design automation actually mean when you say it?

A more general way to define design automation is that it is the ability to reduce repetitive design tasks in the design processes, so that design engineers have more time to innovate. These automated processes not only help in relieving the pressure from the design department but enables the data to be transferred with greater level of confidence to other business areas. With trustworthy data downstream, the work on the teams at the downstream end reduces significantly.

Consider an example where a design team develops a Bill of Material (BOM) and releases it to other departments of the company. There can be numerous concerns with the BOM, such as how well the data was checked for correctness, how is the data stored; and if any of the item has a drawing, is it updated? These questions are common, since data from various departments is imported to another system.

With conventional setup, the major problem occurs when few of the processes are bypassed due to usual reasons and excuses. With each process bypass, the confidence in the data is compromised. It is thus important to consider all the processes; not just for designs but also how the design interacts with rest of the company. Automation should then be implemented for each process individually to realize the impact or bottle necks in another. Thus automation in itself is an iterative process and ascertains greater benefits to the company right from the moment it is implemented.

Design Automation Benefits

The prominent benefit most companies find after implementing design automation is the significant reductions in paperwork across multiple departments.

Design automation also ensures that there remains a single source of truth that departments refer for any activity. This reduces chances of errors and rework and enhances the confidence in the data being utilized across all the departments. It becomes easier then to audit the design or process. Further, there is a dramatic reduction in cost and time to market the product, thereby improving the customer’s brand loyalty.

Collaborating with Hi-Tech CADD Services to implement design automation through DriveWorks enabled us to reduce the engineering lead time from 4-5 days to few hours. We can actually deliver the customized door to the customers on the same day of their order. With the new process in place, we have reduced material wastage, improved the design quality and gained better profit.” CEO, leading metal door & frame manufacturer, USA.

Where to start with Design Automation?

Implementation should obviously start with design department where the team can identify possibilities of standardizing the design and automating the output for downstream departments. But this is only possible with proper understanding on the organization’s current processes both business processes and design processes.

While business processes focus on end to end processes such as sales, design, manufacturing, maintenance and support, design process is more focused on the design inputs and outputs, methods and processes utilized to complete the projects. Reviewing both enables the company to develop a road-map that will be used in future to automate the processes for new projects in future.

About Author

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Kashyap Vyas is an Engineer at Hi-Tech and holds a Master’s degree in Thermal Engineering with several research papers to his credit. He covers CAD and CAE topics for the engineering industry. His contributions are primarily focused on encouraging manufacturers and suppliers to adopt virtual product development tools to build efficient products with reduced time-to-market.

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