More confidence in 3D designs = less travel to lock down 3D designs during the pandemic

Aug. 12, 2020
What if you could visualize and collaborate in 3D and increase confidence before printing?

By John Heller, Vertex product marketer

An industrial HVAC manufacturer is working on an upgrade to one of their products. After the design’s completion, the design team—based in the east coast—sent the information to the 3D team—in the central Midwest—to print the components for assembly verification.

This feature is from our recent Special Report featuring use cases on excelling during times of crisis. Click the cover to get your copy.

Unfortunately, the designed component didn’t quite fit as expected. The 3D and design teams jumped on a call for a design review and to determine changes. 

After the design team completed the changes, they again sent the design to the 3D team. And again, the new design didn’t work as expected. Finally, the team agreed to meet at their suppliers’ offices—in the northern Midwest—for an extensive work session. The team locked themselves in a room for two days, reviewing hard-printed blueprint designs and sketching ideas on whiteboards until they finalized the design.

All in, this cost the organization:

  • Several weeks adjusting the design
  • Thousands of dollars in travel alone
  • Rushed production to meet the delayed timelines

This story isn’t unique. Manufacturers and suppliers struggle to collaborate every day, oftentimes traveling around the globe to ensure a design is just right. This lack of confidence in the designs ends up delaying timelines and rushing key steps of the product-development process.

The solution is keeping companies ahead of the competition by giving them complete confidence in:

  • Selecting the best design in ideation
  • Confirming the design in feasibility
  • Committing to launch timelines in development

How does it work?

Consider the product-development process. Once engineers begin to ideate, the rest of the extended enterprise becomes blind to ideas and designs. That’s because product information is locked within engineering tools and programs. This impacts collaboration during product design—but it also impacts the enterprise’s ability to commit to a final design. Decision-makers aren’t confident in their decisions, and engineers constantly travel to “lock down” the design in person.

We must bring collaborators into a common, scalable platform to review 3D designs. With our offerings, teams share models easily and build Stories to prepare for design reviews. Stories include @mentions and comments with questions, cross-sections, dimensions, and filtering components by metadata. Collaborators can comment back, propose revisions, capture new views, and upload geometry to propose changes. All this gives the extended enterprise high-quality information and a consistent place to collaborate.

Keeping pace with the speed of product

Today’s market expects fast response to their needs. Manufacturers are always looking for ways to accelerate product release, and seeking high-quality information they need to make decisions quickly and confidently.

With our approach, design teams are more agile and responsive to ideas and changes, alleviating the pain of slow decision-making. With real-time visibility and no costly travel or travel delays, the entire team benefits from early access to product information:

  • Manufacturing and service departments ask questions or bring concerns early
  • Marketing brings ideas and questions from the customers’ perspectives
  • Procurement suggests valuable supply chain innovations
  • Management and decision-makers review and approve designs and strategies

Accelerate decision-making

Consider again the story of the HVAC manufacturer. In that scenario, the 3D printing team could only test the design by physically printing the components.

What if, instead, they could visualize and collaborate in 3D and increase confidence before printing? What if the in-person meeting could happen virtually in the Vertex platform? How much time, material, and effort would be saved?