Longstanding Innova Systems customer, Frangus Ltd, specialises in the design of materials handling equipment. With clients such as Network Rail, Balfour Beatty and others in the rail and construction industries it goes without saying that time to market is very high on their list of priorities – as it is for any design consultancy. Frangus have already spoken in length about how SOLIDWORKS software makes designing and developing their innovative products easy, but what if they could speed this process up by adding automation to the mix?
Step forward DriveWorks Solo
Frangus got in touch with us to discuss DriveWorks Solo, an automation tool and Certified Gold Partner Product for SOLIDWORKS. Following a product demonstration from the Innova Systems team, they were convinced that it was exactly the solution they were looking for. Not only would it save them huge amounts of time and effort, the icing on the cake was that it runs within the SOLIDWORKS user interface that they are used to, meaning integration would be easy.
Frangus have been using DriveWorks Solo for just over four months now and Managing Director, David Thomson, was pleased to tell us that they’ve already developed a number of configurators for standard parts, such as pin and hydraulic cylinder assemblies, as well as for whole products, including excavator adaptor heads and rail tracking devices.
Designing to order before DriveWorks Solo
As we’ve already said, Frangus use SOLIDWORKS for creating their CAD models, but, prior to DriveWorks Solo, creating new products or configurations would involve the use of a pack and go of a similar product. The process required every part and assembly to be renumbered and every sub-assembly, weldment and the general arrangement drawing would need to be adjusted, too. This is all simple enough to do in SOLIDWORKS, but with DriveWorks Solo, everything is automated inside SOLIDWORKS completing in a fraction of the time. It really has to be seen to be believed!
Don’t just take our word for it
Since implementing DriveWorks Solo, one of the key benefits Frangus have experienced is “a colossal time saving once the configurator is set up, which translates to more work done in less time. This directly impacts the bottom line”, said David. “but the most important thing is that DriveWorks Solo takes away a lot of the manual work within a new design, allowing us to concentrate on what we’re really selling, which is innovation.”
Using tables to drive the design
The ability to use tabular data to drive the design is one of the most important DriveWorks Solo features that Frangus are making use of. This allows them to create a model of a standard hydraulic cylinder, complete with the drawings and data required for procurement with part numbers tailored to the client’s systems, in under three minutes. David reliably informed us that this task would have previously taken Frangus over three hours to complete – that’s a 60X time saving!
When asked about the design limitations DriveWorks Solo has helped Frangus to overcome, David says that their “most precious resource is time” and that “DriveWorks Solo enables us to do more in the same amount of time, allowing us to punch above our weight.”
How Innova Systems helped with DriveWorks at Frangus
The support Frangus received from the team at Innova Systems during the first few weeks after installation was a major factor in the success of the product’s implementation, as David explains: “As with any software, a major factor in Driveworks’ success for Frangus Ltd is the support we have received from the Reseller. Innova Systems worked tirelessly with us through the early stages until we started to really see the benefits coming through. Having expert help on hand flattens and quickens the learning curve and also speeds up the return on investment”.