Glassblowing startup drives innovation and expansion with Solid Edge

Product: Solid Edge
Industry: SMEs

Mobile Glassblowing Studios, a small startup based in Americus, Georgia, is using our Solid Edge for Startups program to transform its business as well as the glass blowing industry altogether.

Phil Vinson and his partner Chuck Wells launched Mobile Glassblowing Studios LLC in 2015. The company offers a range of products related to everything related to glass blowing. In particular, the company has an emblematic range of mobile glass blowing furnaces for use in exhibitions and schools. The furnaces are ideal for anyone who needs a glass blowing solution that is mobile, flexible and low maintenance.

Although it is still very in the start-up phase, the company has experienced rapid growth since its founding. The company started in Chuck’s backyard in a 12×32-foot portable building with a group of extension cables running from home and has since expanded to accommodate 11 employees in a modern 7,000-square-foot factory space. In short, its infrastructure has evolved to keep pace with growth.

“Where we are right now, we manufacture an average of between 30 and 40 units per year. We just shipped our 100th furnace a month ago, and since then we’ve sent four or five more. And that’s just ovens,” Vinson said in an interview with engineering.com. “Many times, the furnaces will have accessories, so there will be a cooling oven, or a bench, or some other type of furniture that we build. Usually, our sales are more than just ovens.”

Solid Edge para startups

For Mobile Glassblowing Studios, the CAD software of choice is Solid Edge. Phil Vinson had worked with Solid Edge on a previous job, so it was a natural choice to return to the software he was most accustomed to. But there were other benefits, too.

“We are part of the Solid Edge for Startups program, and it’s an initiative they have where we can get a license at no cost. The reason the program exists is so that startups do not have to justify a piece of software in their expenses. Therefore, Siemens allowed us to have the software for a year or two, and we have been able to model all of our furnaces. I used to use a 2D program and, with the help of our design developer turned lead manufacturer, Charles Wells III, we moved everything to Solid Edge. Now we can model the team and we can analyze how we’re building things. We’ve been able to develop very nice work drawings for people on the factory floor, so they know what they’re supposed to do.”

Solid Edge también proporciona a Mobile Glassblowing Studios potentes capacidades 3D que cambian la naturaleza misma de su flujo de trabajo.

“El cambio a 3D ha hecho que sea mucho más fácil comunicarse con las personas con las que estoy trabajando. Con 2D, tienes que dibujar cada vista y asegurarte de que no te perdiste un pequeño detalle. Y luego, cuando ibas a hacer cambios, era muy difícil asegurarte de que todo estuviera actualizado. Fue sólo una pesadilla para tratar de actualizarlo. Por lo tanto, lo que teníamos con 2D era un montón de ideas sueltas de los parámetros de cómo se suponía que eran estas cosas, y una especie de historia oral de cómo construir realmente las cosas. Dependía mucho de que personas específicas estuvieran disponibles en puntos específicos. Si llegas a ese punto un lunes por la tarde y esa persona no está allí, entonces todo se detiene. Por lo tanto, el cambio a 3D significa que no tienes que imaginar nada, solo está ahí. En realidad has construido la cosa en 3D, que es una forma muy diferente de ver las cosas. Crees que sólo va a tener un poco de impacto, pero cuando realmente lo pones en su lugar, es bastante profundo”.

Solid Edge also provides Mobile Glassblowing Studios with powerful 3D capabilities that change the very nature of your workflow.

“Switching to 3D has made it much easier to communicate with the people I’m working with. With 2D, you have to draw each view and make sure you didn’t miss a little detail. And then, when you were going to make changes, it was very difficult to make sure everything was up to date. It was just a nightmare to try to update it. So, what we had with 2D was a lot of loose ideas of the parameters of how these things were supposed to be, and a kind of oral history of how to actually build things. It was very much dependent on specific people being available at specific points. If you get to that point on a Monday afternoon and that person isn’t there, then everything stops. So, switching to 3D means you don’t have to imagine anything, it’s just there. You’ve actually built the thing in 3D, which is a very different way of looking at things. You think it’s just going to have a little bit of an impact, but when you really put it in place, it’s pretty deep.”