Teamcenter Easy Plan does what it says

Product: Teamcenter
Industry: Home appliances

Teamcenter Easy Plan at BSH Home Appliances

We love to hear how Teamcenter and Siemens Xcelerator tools help our customers succeed. This story looks at the global roll-out of Teamcenter Easy Plan at BSH Home Appliances. We were lucky enough to go straight to the heart of Germany to the BSH plant in Giengen to see the results firsthand.

I don’t know how many of you have been shopping for a new refrigerator lately, but the selection seems mind-bogglingly endless compared to what I remember from my first fridge purchase in the 1990s. It used to be that you just measured your space, tallied up your budget, and, presto, out you went to your local (Siemens) dealer to buy a classic white stand-up model with a little freezer unit on top.

Today, all this has changed. Or at least most of it. You’ll probably hit the Internet for reviews and ideas, maybe google for the best price and performance, and then the tough decisions start: which fridge do you choose?

Brands, model variations and more

First, do you want a freestanding or a built-in? Then what size exactly? What about finishings: inox, black glass, a color, or plain old white? Glossy, matte or in-between? Fridge on top and freezer on the bottom? Or vice-versa? American side-by-side doors? French doors? Mid-storage drawers? Door-in-door technology? Craft icemaker? And water dispensers of all shapes and sizes…Not only how do you select one? How do you manufacture all this choice? Earlier this year, we were lucky enough to visit BSH Home Appliances in Giengen, Germany to hear how Teamcenter Easy Plan helps.

BSH Home Appliances is one of the largest manufacturers of its kind in the world and is number one in Europe. BSH manufactures refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, induction cooktops, cordless vacuum cleaners, espresso machines and much more for well-known and respected brands like Bosch, Siemens, NEFF and Gaggenau.

With 62,000 employees and 41 plants worldwide (at time of publishing this blog), BSH manages a huge portfolio with hundreds of product variants on a global scale. Production can vary from plants that make only washing machines to plants like the one in Giengen, which makes only built-in refrigerators and freezers. Other BSH sites focus on small innovative appliances like espresso machines and cordless vacuum cleaners. In most cases, each of the 41 BSH sites manufacture product variants for more than one brand.

“Imagine a production line with over several hundred products,” says Philipp Winter, an IT business consultant in the Global Digital Services Department of BSH Digital Factory. “Our production lines have to adapt constantly, as well as line operators and the planners.”.

Manufacturing planning complexity

Depending on the plant, operators might build twenty-five Siemens built-in refrigerator models followed by 25 Bosch models with different tray designs and then still other different models for other brands – all on the same line. Other plants might have robotic lines that makes slightly different home appliance models for every type of consumer in the portfolio.

It is hard to imagine how one starts to organize such a complex production process on a global scale. But Philipp Winter, an IT business consultant in the Global Digital Services Department of BSH Digital Factory, and his colleague, Sacha Weckend, an industrial engineer responsible for the Teamcenter Easy Plan implementation at the Giengen, Germany plant were happy to explain how they count on Siemens tools for manufacturing planning.

As you see, BSH uses Teamcenter® software to runs its entire product development database. In 2015, BSH extended this to all manufacturing and planning data, integrating Teamcenter and the Tecnomatix® portfolio, which are part of the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio, the comprehensive and integrated portfolio of software, hardware and services, into its digital factory ecosystem.

At most of the BSH locations, local industrial engineers and planners have access to tools including Easy Plan, which is built on top of Teamcenter, Process Simulate in the Tecnomatix portfolio and Line Designer. These tools allow BSH to organize and optimize production lines for maximum performance for globally distributed plants, complex product variation schemes, line balancing, productivity and production efficiency, human health and safety issues, robotics and even collaborative robots (cobotics).

Teamcenter Easy Plan is just very easy to use

“You reach a limit at some point where you need special software to face and challenge this complexity in manufacturing,” says Winter. “We have leveraged digital manufacturing solutions from the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio for many years. This has resulted in an accurate digital twin of our factory ecosystem. Now we have added Easy Plan, which is our latest planning software, to do our line balancing and all our time management on the production lines.”

“We have specific cycle times for our assembly lines,” says Sasha Weckend. “For each workstation we try to find the perfect amount of work content. You can learn Easy Plan quite fast. It is easy for me to train new colleagues, trainees and students. The user interface is quite intuitive. If you have worked with an internet browser then you know where you have to click with Easy Plan. Easy Plan is just very easy to use. I think this is why the implementation is quite seamless.”

So, thanks to some pretty special Siemens software, an accurate digital twin of the BSH factory ecosystem, and the ease-of-use of Teamcenter Easy Plan, it looks like BSH Home Appliances is well on its way to successfully tackling modern-day process and product complexity to make the fridges (and home appliances) we will want to buy in the future.

Sending it with Siemens NX

Product: NX Design
Industry: Bikes

How a mountain bike enthusiast designed and manufactured his custom carbon fiber bike from scratch with Siemens NX

Siemens is not only offering products to big companies, but also small and medium businesses and even private persons can subscribe and benefit from the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio of software and services. This is what this case demonstrates:

We recently found out about the project completed by a German mountain bike enthusiast, who calls himself Uncle Bob, and his journey that started with an empty screen and ended with custom self-built carbon fiber mountain bike.

Uncle Bob’s journey

Due to an injury from biking, Uncle Bob needed a new project to keep himself entertained. He is the founder of an engineering consultancy, which is why he owned the Siemens NX CAD software and has experience with it. So, in his free time he just started directly scribbling in Siemens NX with a try and error approach and with the following weeks, his ideas became a solid concept. 

Bob was especially delighted with the plentiful and individual 3D visualization options NX had to offer, they enabled him to work creatively and to see the realistic result of his design before building. 

Considering the design, Uncle Bob has gone for a form follows function approach: “If something already looks like something that will not last, it surely will not last during tests.” 

mountain bike in forest

Why NX?

Apart from the design aspect, he really appreciates NX for the ability to test and verify his CAD design data into finite element analysis (FEA) simulation tools, which he uses in his daily professional life as well as with this bike. “I have not regretted the investment for Siemens NX, it was worth it and definitely helped me to ease up processes. Before NX, I had to copy data manually from program to program. The implementation of NX at Daimler got me starting to look out for better solutions.” 

bike model inside of nx

So, an FEA study was done to stress test the frame and structure. After all, mountain bikes like these need to withstand high physical forces due to big jumps, loose ground and high speeds. And his bike did!

For example, his calculations resulted that the frame around the bottom bracket can withstand jumps or falls with more than 6,000N. For the areas that failed his tests, the layup of the composite material was modified in Siemens NX and additional plies were added to strengthen these areas.

Getting started and getting building with NX

bike model mold

With a flaw free concept ready, he designed an injection mold in Siemens NX that he could use for producing the carbon-fiber parts. Due to the extensive 3D features in Siemens NX, he could make the mold as material efficient and small as possible.  Then he started working in his garage: A wax core was casted that represents the inner geometry of the carbon frame. Then, he wrapped the carbon fiber around it and closed the mold airtight. Using vacuum and high pressure a hardening resign was injected into the mold. After a few hours of tempering the resign was hardened and with higher temperature the wax core melted and flowed out. Now the frame was made. He didn’t clearcoat the frame because Uncle Joe was confident enough that his construction and his materials used were sufficiently durable anyway.

After that, the frame was made and he started to assemble all the custom frame parts and bought standard parts together. A few weeks later it was all done, a extreme mountain fat bike, that all-in-all only weighted 17kg, with the NX constructed custom carbon forged frame only taking 3kg part of that. After his first test ride, Bob was beyond impressed:

“Insane! Sore muscles in the face because of the permanent grin. I can only say: Dreamy. The bike fits me like a glove.”

The strength of Siemens NX

This business case shows the accessibility, exactness and prediction powers of Siemens NX. Building something from carbon-fiber was a task that only large manufacturers would consider just ten years ago. With Siemens’ NX, now even talented designers can plan and design flaw free carbon structures from scratch at home. 

Leveraging product variability to streamline wind turbine development

Product: Teamcenter
Industry: Wind

The Teamcenter Product Configurator is an important part of our global PLM strategy. By leveraging a single source of truth for multi-disciplinary product configuration data across the entire product lifecycle, ENERCON is positioned to remain at the forefront of technological advancements in the wind energy industry.

Sebastian Heinzel , Product Owner, Senior Consultant PLM
ENERCON

Adapting to the dynamic changes in the wind industry

The wind industry is characterized by its unique challenges including dynamic market conditions, technological advancements and increasing customer demands for customization. ENERCON has been in the wind industry for over 35 years developing, producing, installing and maintaining wind turbines. To further streamline its operations and enhance variability management, ENERCON partnered with Siemens Digital Industries Software to adopt Teamcenter® software and specifically Teamcenter Product Configurator. Teamcenter is part of the Siemens Xcelerator business platform of software, hardware, and services.

ENERCON was looking to streamline manufacturing operations and enhance wind turbine development. The company faced numerous challenges in a highly complex and ever-changing industry, including needing customization, shortening lead times, ensuring up-to-date product configurations, and integrating computer-aided design (CAD) systems. By implementing Siemens’ solutions, the company achieves significant improvements in process efficiency, collaboration, and time-to-market, while also aligning its bill-of-materials (BOM) management and expanding its capabilities for future growth.

A new approach for managing product complexity

ENERCON faced several business challenges over the years including managing a highly complex product line, meeting customer demands for customization, reducing lead times from order to quotation, ensuring stakeholders work with valid and up-to-date product configurations and addressing limitations with their current SAP systems that don’t allow them to validate the digital twin.

ENERCON realized it needed to modernize its approach to product variability management. In 2018, it embarked on a search for a solution that would integrate a common product configuration definition across its design BOM (DBOM), engineering BOM (EBOM) and manufacturing BOM (MBOM), serving as a reliable source of truth for its entire value chain. Implementing Teamcenter Product Configurator allowed ENERCON to bring together variability data from their BOMs and consider the holistic value chain perspective. This effort coincides with ENERCON’s latest project, which is developing the E-175 EP5 wind turbine. This turbine has one of the largest rotor diameters for onshore turbines right now. ENERCON plans to continue applying this variability management approach in the development of the new evolution of their turbine, the E-175 EP5 E2.

Leveraging Teamcenter Product Configurator provided ENERCON with valid and buildable product configurations. ENERCON leveraged these capabilities to configure its products early in the development process, eliminating the need for downstream configuration changes in its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. With access to valuable data within Teamcenter, ENERCON’s engineers can easily validate the feasibility of different configurations, ensuring that all combinations were valid and buildable.

Configuration management will be integral to improving the company’s engineering change management processes. ENERCON plans to convert their operating model from a made-to-stock and engineer-to-order approach to a CTO+E approach. This model incorporates more repeatability and reuse into the business model while still supporting client customization. This will allow ENERCON to better control fast-track changes such as health and safety execution (HSE) topics, supplier discontinuity, part obsolescence and missing part topics. By implementing a CTO+E approach, changes would be able to be applied to any product variant at any time between revision packages. Using this engineering change management process with a common variability backbone, ENERCON will have the ability to adapt their BOMs and manufacturing processes quickly without jeopardizing the supply chain management processes in their plants.

“Using Teamcenter Product Configurator will help us implement a CTO+E approach, advancing ENERCON’s transformation to a project-driven company,” says Martin Gorges, head of PLM governance for ENERCON.

Using Teamcenter to improve collaboration and communication

ENERCON used Teamcenter Product Configurator as a digital configurator, enabling improved communication and collaboration among stakeholders across the development lifecycle. By working off a common source of variability information, everyone involved had access to the latest and most accurate data, eliminating confusion and discrepancies. This streamlined collaboration, enhanced efficiency, and reduced the risk of errors caused by out- dated or incorrect configuration data.

Implementing Teamcenter Product Configurator yielded significant results for ENERCON, enabling them to streamline internal processes. ENERCON successfully used a common configurator across disciplines, eliminating silos and improving process efficiency.

ENERCON is using Teamcenter Product Configurator to provide a digital configurator that serves as a common source of variability information. This facilitates seamless communication and collaboration among stakeholders.

“By understanding the product parameters that need to be accommodated, ENERCON will be able to respond to customer orders more quickly, shortening lead times and enhancing customer satisfaction,” says Sebastian Heinzel, senior consultant PLM for ENERCON.

Using the predefined rules and constraints within Teamcenter Product Configurator allowed ENERCON to deploy new features and implement changes in a more efficient and timely manner. Although ENERCON is still working to develop the E-175 EP5 wind turbine, the company has already experienced a significant reduction in development time. Additionally, consolidating variability management has simplified the value chain and ensured consistency in the product data.

Continuing to improve the manufacturing process

Looking ahead, ENERCON plans to further leverage Siemens solutions for MBOM, SBOM and digital manufacturing. By expanding its use of Siemens solutions, ENERCON is aiming to enhance its manufacturing processes, improve serviceability, and stay at the forefront of technological advancements in the wind energy industry. “We are training very hard to get to know everything about Teamcenter Product Configurator so we can utilize all of its capabilities,” says Sebastian Heinzel, senior consultant PLM for ENERCON.

ENERCON is in the concept phase of a PLM program that will bring both Engineering BOM and Manufacturing BOM configuration management into Teamcenter. This will enable them to deploy highly sophisticated discrete manufacturing processes best known within the automotive and aerospace industries. With the help of Teamcenter, ENERCON’s goal is to perform pre-planning up to 36 months in advance of manufacturing and work with schedul- ing agreements showing early demands to the suppliers. This will allow them to make changes to product variants holistically across all platforms, plants, systems and processes, including pre-planning. An integrated PLM configuration management solution also helps ensure stable high-volume production without line stops while avoiding the use of obsolete materials or high numbers of part stocks.

Implementing Teamcenter Product Configurator will be transformative for ENERCON’s wind turbine development processes and manufacturing operations. They have consolidated a diversified portfolio into a single platform, which allows them to handle more complex variability. Using Teamcenter Product Configurator has helped ENERCON get one step closer to going from a design-centric approach to a part-centric approach.

These results have positioned ENERCON for continued success in a rapidly evolving industry while continuing to take on new projects. ENERCON is looking forward to continuing to leverage Teamcenter to develop the E-175 EP5 E2 wind turbine that will be available in 2026 as well as other future next generation products.

Using Teamcenter Product Configurator will help us implement a CTO+E approach, advancing ENERCON’s transformation to a project-driven company.

Martin Gorges , Head of PLM Governance
ENERCON

Using Opcenter to more than double the amount of scheduling with the same size team

Product: Opcenter
Industry: Bicycle

It all started in the red barn

The Trek Bicycle Corporation was started in a small red barn in rural Waterloo, Wisconsin in 1976. There were five welders on staff the first year, who produced just over 900 steel touring frames for the firm’s first customers. Since then, the company has grown to thousands of employees in Trek stores, testing facilities and offices around the world. A lot has changed since those early days, except for Trek’s commitment to its founding principles to build great products and make the world a better place to live and ride.

Now Trek resides in a world-class research and development (R&D) facility a mile up the road from the red barn. From there it engineers and builds bikes and gear for riders around the world, from first-time riders to the professionals on the teams Trek owns that race in the world’s biggest events such as the Tour de France.

Project One

Trek’s Project One is a program that gives customers control over designing the road, mountain or electric bike of their dreams. If a customer can imagine it, Trek can make it a reality in its Project One paint shop. Project One customers have the option to choose from a pre-set combination of custom colors, paint schemes and components, or dream up a wild idea for a unique bike.

The manufacturing, painting and building of Project One bikes is performed at the Waterloo headquarters and the facility in Hartmannsdorf, Germany. Trek also manufactures the high-end carbon wheels for the custom bikes in Waterloo.

Trek has made the custom bike process streamlined, fast and easy for customers, taking every action they can to minimize lead times. That has been a challenge when there are parts shortages, but Opcenter™ software, which is part of the Siemens Xcelerator business platform of software, hardware and services, has enabled Trek to see the full picture, prioritize components for customer bikes and allocate parts to build in the most efficient way possible.

“Thanks to Opcenter Advanced Planning & Scheduling, we are able see in advance that we are going to have the parts available to build twice as much as was previously possible,” says Eric Schultz, master scheduling manager at Trek.

Digital transformation supports build-to-order

The Trek Project One program is a high-mix, low-volume, build-to-order business. Its increasing reliance on digital tools provides the best experience for its customers and partners. When a customer places an order, a production date is generated based on the availability of parts and capacity at the time of the order. Trek forecasts the components they need to buy based on what they think the customer preferences will be, rather than purchasing components for a fixed amount of production by model.

Trek’s digital transformation enables the customer to design their dream bike on a screen, place their order through their local bike shop, get an estimate on a lead time, obtain email/photo notifications during the paint and build process, and ultimately realize their concept in physical form.

“Previously, we used SQL reports and standard features in our ERP system that worked just fine on a smaller scale, but on a larger scale it just wasn’t tenable,” says Mike Lodl, director of global manufacturing. “We knew with continued business growth the current process wouldn’t be sustainable without adding more and more schedulers.”

The limitations of the existing way of working meant Trek could not test any new scenarios, do any longer term capacity analysis as supply chain issues arose, and move work order dates and sales order dates, which was a time-consuming manual process that limited growth.

Optimizing lead times

For Project One, using Opcenter enables Trek to get real-time information, marry it with part and capacity availability and deliver a top-notch bike to their customers and dealers in the shortest possible time while being as transparent and helpful as possible along the way.

“The dynamic calendar in Opcenter really helps us optimize our lead times for our customers based on how we are working and operating in each of our departments,” says Schultz.

Prior to the pandemic, Trek faced normal supply chain and inventory issues such as delays, nonconforming materials, natural disasters impacting delivery or a variety of other logistics issues. When a key component was delayed, Trek had to manually move hundreds or thousands of work order and sale order dates, then they had to find work to fill the schedule back up to keep the plant running.

“This was an incredibly time-consuming and manual process,” says Schultz. “Being a necessary, but nonvalue-added process, we knew we should try to automate or speed the process up with some type of software solution.

“There wasn’t an efficient way to expedite work or plan production if our supply chain and logistics team were able to get components in earlier.

“There were days I was spending hours manually entering dates, but now thanks to Opcenter I can use my time to do analysis or find other ways to optimize our business. Opcenter frees up hours of my time for higher added-value tasks.”

Seeking sustainability

One option was a mass data upload process, but that wouldn’t provide the analysis or intelligence Trek needed. The company reviewed several software solutions, but in the final analysis determined Opcenter was the right choice.

“Ultimately, we knew that Opcenter Advanced Planning and Schedule software was going to be the solution,” says Schultz.

“When we stated what the scope of the work was going to be, or what we wanted the software to do for us, Siemens preferred partner SNic was the only company out of three that told us, ’Yes, we’ve done that with Opcenter for other customers.’ We even spoke with other users who confirmed that they were using Opcenter in the same way we wanted to for our business.

“The combination of the software and the SNic’s expertise was unique. The team understood our challenges and were partners in developing the custom logic solution specific to our business, and Opcenter stood out for its out-of-the-box options and functionality. We also liked the fact that Opcenter had been used more widely in the industry than the other products we evaluated.”

The Opcenter advantage

According to Schultz, “Opcenter automated a lot of work. Our scheduling team would spend hours updating thousands and thousands of work order and sales order dates each time we discovered a supply issue that we couldn’t resolve. Opcenter freed up the scheduling team to do more analysis instead of spending time changing thousands of dates.

“Opcenter can help us understand what we will have components for to build in each department over time. This helps us understand where we may need to train or hire employees.

“We can manage more than twice the amount of work we used to with the same size team and we’ve avoided countless production shutdowns to ensure employees remained gainfully employed in production.”

Lodl states, “For Trek customers to be able to have the experience of getting their dream bike months ahead of time has made their buying experience outstanding.”

Egicon uses Valor and Opcenter to reduce repair rates by 80 percent while eliminating scrap

Product: Opcenter
Industry: Electronics Manufacturing

Now I can get instantaneous updates on all our manufacturing processes, without leaving my desk. I know that the systems are checking that everything is okay, instead of me – so I can spend my time on innovation and improvements.

  • Michele Magri, Production Manager
    Egicon

High-quality electronics manufacturing

Egicon is an emerging, state-of-the-art European electronics design and production house. Based in the Modena region of Italy, the company provides high-quality manufacturing services for industrial sectors including automotive, agriculture, biomedical and aerospace.

Founded in 2009, the company’s production wing was established to produce electronic control units (ECUs) for motorcycles, racing cars and luxury automobiles, in accordance with IATF 16949 quality standards. Over time the company began to manufacture additional products including medical devices, in compliance with ISO 13485 quality requirements.

In 2015, the need to provide customers with warranty support and traceability data started the company on a digitalization journey that eventually led to full automation of its manufacturing processes.

“Our search for the most suitable manufacturing execution system led us to Mentor Graphics and Cadlog, its Italian representative,” says Michele Magri, production manager at Egicon. “Valor’s point solutions and traceability solutions were a perfect fit.”

The digitalization journey

“The automation process began with a simple data collection system and accelerated from there,” says Magri. “We invested heavily in ECAD and MCAD systems and deployed the Valor® Process Preparation software in order to achieve a single, unified flow of information between our design and production departments. This was especially beneficial in NPI execution.”

“Initially, the Valor point solutions package was used to connect our machines, warehouse and assembly and testing processes to our central database, in order to achieve traceability of materials,” Magri explains. “Soon after, we realized that the solution was completely suitable for the monitoring of productivity and overall equipment effectiveness. By 2017, all Egicon processes were connected to the Valor system, replacing all manual data collection systems and tracking KPIs in real time. In 2019, we installed the Opcenter Execution Electronics IoT software to improve data collection and gain the benefits of the greater flow of data, which allowed us to benefit from the Opcenter Intelligence Electronics analytics software. We’ve turned the paperless factory into a reality.”

How it works today
With a staff of 60 and yearly revenues of €10 million, Egicon is considered one of the most interesting emerging companies in the field of technology development and production.
Opcenter™ Execution Electronics IoT software is fully integrated into Egicon’s production and quality systems, allowing continuous monitoring via the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) dashboard, enabling managers to see the state of work-in-progress, in real time. The quality department is instantly notified regarding quality events, leading to a significant reduction in waste-related costs.

The Valor and Opcenter solutions at the core of Egicon’s production systems are part of Siemens Xcelerator business platform of software, hardware and services. Egicon releases at least 200 new product introductions (NPIs) or updates for review each year, and the Valor Process Preparation suite manages all product changes and releases.
Valor Material Verification verifies that all materials and tools are set up before assembly, improving efficiency and quality. The software also provides maximal flexibility by supporting functions such as alternate parts, an approved vendor list (AVL), free feeder positioning, dynamic alternate positions, blocked material and safe splicing.

Opcenter Execution Electronics IoT and Opcenter Intelligence Electronics provide comprehensive, Industry 4.0-ready shop floor data collection and analytics, which connect to all the processes and machines for data collection and full traceability. Customers are assured of the highest levels of traceability (IPC1782 levels three and four) at no additional cost. Egicon, which previously had a one-month lead time for quality and production reporting, now offers these services in real time. “Now I can get instantaneous updates on all our manufacturing processes, without leaving my desk.” says Magri. “I know that the systems are checking that everything is okay, instead of me – so I can spend my time on innovation and improvements.”

“Using the tools provided by Mentor Graphics and Cadlog, we are able to reduce our repair rate from 30 ppm to six, and achieved a scrap rate of zero percent in 2019,” Magri explains. “Our customers appreciate the improved levels of service, and thanks to these innovative solutions, we can often anticipate their quality system requests. This has increased our customers’ level of confidence in us and helps us to attract new business. We are using Valor point solutions to avoid manual registration of quality events, and we are using the Valor foundation for monitoring the work in progress. Elimination of scrap product is related to real-time monitoring of quality events and is a result of continuous improvements ensured by the manufacturing analytics platform.”
Future plans
Moving forward in the Industry 4.0 vision, Egicon plans to leverage the ISA95 data connectivity layers to drive excellence using applications such as analytics and machine-to-machine (M2M) and other micro-solutions.
Using the tools provided by Mentor and Cadlog, we were able to reduce our repair rate from 30 ppm to six, and achieved a scrap rate of zero percent in 2019.
Michele Magri, Production Manager
Egicon

Faber, a leading brand of kitchen hoods, integrated its entire product development cycle, from CAD to ERP, using Teamcenter

Product: Figure 4
Industry: Consumer Products and Retail

Siemens Digital Industries Software representatives have always been proactive and practical; they became quickly familiar with the technical jargon of our organization and responded knowledgeably to the questions of our designers, who use Pro/Engineer. Integration between two different vendors obviously caused some doubts, but Siemens PLM Software’s experience in this kind of integration offered solid assurancesthat have turned out to be true.

Elisa Galassi, IS Manager
Faber SpA

Imagining, designing and manufacturing kitchen hoods

For fifty years, Faber SpA (Faber) has been imagining, designing and manufacturing hoods, becoming a leader in the global scene, not only in Italy, where one out of two hoods is made by Faber. Established in 1955, the company has been expanding constantly through acquisitions all over the world until 2005, when all of the organizations were acquired by Switzerland’s Franke Group, leaders in sinks. Today, the Faber brand is managed within Franke Group’s Hoods Product Line. As the “air specialist” within the group’s Kitchen Systems division, Faber is in charge of coordinating the activities of group companies across India, Turkey, Argentina, Sweden, France and Russia.

Fabriano, the historical headquarters of the company in the Marche region, is home to the major research and development (R&D) center of the group; other R&D centers are located in Sweden and in Pune, India, where a manufacturing plant is planned.Imagining, designing and manufacturing kitchen hoods

PLM starts in Fabriano

To handle the coordination of product development activities assigned by Franke Group to Faber after the acquisition, the Fabriano site managers immediately started looking for a suitable tool to improve coordination and synergy among all group companies. Samuel Riitano, R&D manager of the Hoods Product Line at Faber, explains: “For our product development and product lifecycle management (PLM) operations, we initially tried to centralize data searches using replicated databases; however, this approach was inadequate, mainly because we wanted to maximize re-use on one side, and to create an orderly R&D process on the other. When your organization is articulated and distributed, you need clear rules to manage projects within distributed teams having different cultures and languages. We were looking for a solution to keep everything together, defining accurate and clear working methods and procedures for all stakeholders.”

In early 2008, the company launched a scouting activity aimed at the analysis of platforms that might respond to Faber’s requirements. “Besides Windchill and SAP, which we were already using, we extended our evaluation to a third option, Teamcenter from Siemens Digital Industries Software,” says Marco Castellani, who is responsible for BI and SOA (business intelligence and service-oriented architecture) at Faber. “For all software candidates, we checked integration with our CAD (computer-aided design) package Pro/Engineer and held a number of meetings with our research and development group to consider possible developments in PLM. From the very start, a preference emerged for Teamcenter.”

After three years of analyzing the potential value and benefits of adopting a PLM solution that, starting from the hoods product line, could then be deployed across the entire organization, management re-activated the technology search in 2011. “At the end of this further analysis, everyone agreed that the PLM solution by Siemens Digital Industries Software was the right platform,” Castellani adds. “A pilot project was launched in Fabriano to prove the benefits offered by the introduction of PLM.”PLM starts in Fabriano

Quickly up and running

Only a few months after implementation, Teamcenter® software was in full productive use in Italy and Sweden, while other group companies in Argentina, India and Turkey primarily employed it for visualization. Everyone had direct, real-time access to all design information available in the database. “We have more than 30 people using Teamcenter,” says Elisa Galassi, IS (information systems) manager at Faber. “Besides utilizing vaulting functionality with drawing check-in and check-out, project data management, workflows and drawing approval cycles, we have completed the integration with SAP, the ERP (enterprise resource planning) software adopted by Franke Group across the entire organization, enabling data exchange with the database for component searches based on item codes transferred between Teamcenter and SAP.”

The Teamcenter implementation at Faber is significant for the Italian market, where PLM culture often boils down to CAD file vaulting and management. “We are completing the component classification process, for which we have created and populated most of the tree,” notes Galassi. “We are now defining the proper management of engineering change orders (ECOs) and finalizing the model for engineering bill of materials (EBOM) management with the introduction of configuration.” He adds, “It is very easy to work on the EBOM using Teamcenter.”

Riitano adds, “This will be the final step of the first phase; afterwards, we will move out of engineering to define requirements for sales and manufacturing operations. Potentially interesting developments include cost quantification and new product costing. We are considering the direct involvement of our supply chain, via a portal that collects information from Teamcenter and makes drawings, specifications and other information available to our suppliers. Each supplier will then have access to all necessary information to prepare a quotation and post it on the portal, with a fully traceable process. As for costing, we would like our designers to read the cost of existing modules directly from the ERP system to estimate the cost of a new product; then, purchasing and business administration will be in charge only for new components.”

Galassi notes, “We know that, using Teamcenter, you can open a view into SAP, to retrieve any information when you need it, without frequent updates and synchronization between the two systems.”Quickly up and running

Tangible benefits

Faber management essentially identified three benefits resulting from the first phase of the implementation. First, full integration with the corporate ERP software enables quicker and leaner information searches for all engineering department users, who can work through one single interface and one desktop. Second, the management of drawings and technical information is more accurate and reliable, and, after initial database population, much faster. Third, structured workflows guide users through subsequent project stages without using paper documents or email messages, thus improving the tracking of all activities.

Benefits expected in the second stage are equally important, starting with the SAP® software integration. Castellani explains, “As soon as we complete the integration of the engineering bill of materials with ERP, we will have one single document describing the product in Teamcenter and SAP, with an optimized information transfer between designers and item code creators; this transition is critical both for the typical issues related to data transfer, and for time. With Teamcenter, we are confident we will minimize both. It is worth noticing that the integration between Teamcenter and SAP integration is bidirectional, a unique situation in Italy.”

According to Riitano, once finalized, component classification will enable a better use and increased re-use of components, particularly useful in foreign sites even more than in Fabriano, where employees have proven experience and a deep knowledge of all components. He explains, “By collecting and classifying all components in a unified system accessible on a global scale, we will help all our users avoid useless duplications or re-create parts and objects that already exist somewhere.” The benefits of classification are apparent for a company like Faber that manages 400 to 500 codes across 100 product families, plus the entire Franke Group catalog and models for its OEM customers. “The current portfolio includes active codes for approximately 5,000 finished products and almost 300 models, and every year we generate more than one thousand new finished product codes,” say Riitano. “If we refer to components, we have 40 to 50,000 codes of raw materials and semifinished products.”Tangible benefits

Promising developments

“We are pleased with the service offered by Siemens Digital Industries Software, starting from the initial approach with a high-impact presentation and proposal,” says Galassi. “Siemens Digital Industries Software representatives have always been proactive and practical; they became quickly familiar with the technical jargon of our organization and responded knowledgeably to the questions of our designers, who use Pro/Engineer. Integration between two different vendors obviously caused some doubts, but Siemens Digital Industries Software’s experience in this kind of integration offered solid assurances that have turned out to be true.”

We are pleased with the service offered by Siemens Digital Industries Software, starting from the initial approach with a high-impact presentation and proposal.

Elisa Galassi, IS Manager
Faber SpA

High Density Stacking Capability Drives Productivity in End-Use 3D Part Production at Decathlon

Product: Figure 4
Industry: Consumer Products and Retail

Decathlon, the world’s largest sporting goods retailer, is using the high-speed Figure 4 platform and new stacking feature of 3D Systems’ 3D Sprint® software to enable direct production of 3D printed end-use parts. The stacking feature enables batch production of one or multiple parts through a combination of user-defined and automated tools, and removes significant time from the print preparation process.

“By stacking parts we are able to print in batches of 100, and have reduced the time it takes to prepare a build from 30-60 minutes to just 6-10 minutes. The combination of stacking and production-grade materials makes Figure 4 ready for production.”

– Gregoire Mercusot, Materials Engineer, ADDLAB, Decathlon

Decathlon eyeglass component designed to connect the lens to the frame

Decathlon used Figure 4 to solve an injection mold problem for a small component for shooting glasses that connects the frame to the lenses.

The Challenge

VALIDATE EFFICIENT PRODUCTION WITH ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING

When faced with a mold injection problem on a small component for shooting glasses that connects the frame to the lenses, Decathlon opted to test the new 3D stacking solution developed by 3D Systems to evaluate additive manufacturing for production. After conducting a feasibility study on the Figure 4 solution and stacking feature, Decathlon’s teams confirmed the productivity and economics of additive manufacturing and decided that this solution could be considered for batch-run production of the final product.

Figure 4 build plate full of stacked 3D printed parts

Figure 4 solution with 3D Sprint stacking feature enables batch-run production.

The Solution

01 Part Stacking Feature in 3D Sprint Software

Decathlon’s additive manufacturing lab (ADDLAB) uses 3D Systems’ Figure 4 3D printing solution across a range of applications (including mold master patterns), and is now considering using the new high density part stacking capability of 3D Systems’ 3D Sprint software to facilitate direct production. 3D Sprint is an advanced, all-in-one software that streamlines the file-to-pattern workflow with tools for print file preparation and optimization, including automatic support generation, and optimized part placement to maximize productivity. The new stacking feature helps users print high volume batches with an efficient file preparation workflow.

To use the stacking feature, users import a part and base file, define the stack in terms of orientation and part quantities, and use automated tools to replicate consecutive vertical stack layers and supports. According to Decathlon engineer Gregoire Mercusot, stacking has reduced print preparation time by as much as 80%. Builds that used to take 30 minutes to an hour to prepare can now be completed in six to 10 minutes.

Mercusot says the utility of this function goes well beyond production: “I use this feature several times a week whenever I need multiple parts. It’s incredible for production, but it’s also very useful for prototyping,” he says.

Screenshot from 3D Sprint software demonstrating strut feature for stacked manufacturing

The stacking feature of 3D Sprint helps users print high volume batches with an efficient file preparation workflow.

02 Production-Grade Materials

Decathlon is using the Figure 4® PRO-BLK 10 material for this functional eyeglass component, citing the material’s strong rigid properties and fast print speeds (62 mm/hr) as key benefits. This high precision material produces parts with smooth surface finish and sidewall quality, and has excellent long-term mechanical properties and environmental stability, bringing a new level of assurance to 3D production. From its production feasibility study, Decathlon confirmed reproducibility across print batches and full functionality of the part.

End-use part produced at Decathlon using Figure 4 stacked manufacturing

The stacking capability of Figure 4 brings efficiencies of scale to post-processing as well as part building.

03 Print Speed

Figure 4 is a projection-based additive manufacturing technology that uses a non-contact membrane to combine accuracy and amazing detail fidelity with ultra-fast print speeds. Decathlon uses the Figure 4 Modular system to print stacks of 100 parts in 85 minutes, which is equivalent to just 42 seconds per part. The Figure 4 Modular is a scalable, semi-automated 3D production solution comprised of a central controller that can be paired with a single printer-module up to 24 printer modules, making it a flexible option that poises businesses for growth.

04 Post-Processing

The high-density stacking capability of Figure 4 brings efficiencies of scale to post-processing as well as part building, allowing Decathlon to treat a batch of parts the same as a single part. This means that the time it would take for Decathlon to clean, cure, and remove the supports from a single part remains the same, even for a batch of 100 parts. For Decathlon’s safety glass application, it takes six minutes to clean all 100 parts, 90 minutes of hands-free time to cure them, and ten minutes to remove supports from the entire batch

SAMPLING AND PART APPROVALS OF EPP MOLDED PARTS

Product: HandySCAN
Industry: Consumer Products and Retail

Black EPP part on a table being scanned with a HandySCAN BLACK 3D scanner

Flatz GmbH from Lauterach, Austria, is the market leader for system solutions in the packaging sector and produces corrugated board, insulating solutions, EPP moldings, and pull containers.

For its quality control workflows, Flatz faced the challenge of having to accurately measure increasingly complex contours of technical components, particle foams, and tools. The surfaces can be matte to glossy, with part sizes ranging from 100 mm to 2500 mm. Therefore, the company decided to acquire modern measurement technology to meet a complete range of quality control requirements.

The HandySCAN BLACK Elite from Creaform was the perfect solution. This portable 3D scanner can be used flexibly with an accuracy of 0.025 mm. It can also quickly and accurately measure components of any size, with matte to glossy surfaces in real time. Prior to acquiring Creaform’s new measurement system, Flatz used tape measures, calipers, U-bolts, and similar tools to take measurements.

Bernhard Guldenschuh from Quality Management remarked: “We received excellent training from Creaform, which directly addressed our measurement requirements. We were able to quickly put together a team that can now take measurements on a wide variety of components at any time, if required. Product approvals can now be carried out without any problems.

EEP part approval

Black EPP part on a table

Flatz GmbH had received an order to produce an expanded polypropylene (EPP) part with a size of approximately 250×300 mm for a new customer. It was to be installed on an injection-molded part. EPP is a thermoplastic material that is particularly environmentally friendly and easy to recycle.

The finished EPP part was mounted on an injection-molded part, which was then to be built into a complex device. The EPP part was designed to protect the interior of the injection-molded component. After sampling, however, there were problems with the fitting accuracy of the part. The customer was unable to install the part. The EPP part produced was scanned with the HandySCAN 3D and compared against CAD data in PolyWorks. It quickly became clear that the injection molded part had the wrong dimensions. It was subsequently adjusted and the EPP part could be installed.

Areas of application for the HandySCAN BLACK at Flatz

2 workers of Flatz checking a a part

The HandySCAN 3D has become an integral part of the sampling and approval process of components at Flatz. It is used for technical component assessments, inspection of complex tooling, and checking dimensional accuracy. It can be used to quickly verify that a part fits, and provide results on part accuracy.

How Sherrill Furniture supercharges their CGI workflow with Artec Leo

Product: ArtecLeo
Industry: Consumer Products and Retail

In the world of custom luxury furniture, clients expect to see what they’re about to order, especially when a virtually unlimited number of combinations of fabrics, leathers, finishes, colors, hardware, and accessories can dramatically change the look and feel of any upholstery or casegoods furniture piece. If not in person, then at least in a printed catalog or online.

But with the traditional method of using photography to create images for product listings, this is no easy feat.Sherrill Furniture

Pairing 3D-scanned custom furniture in a CGI-rendered room scene. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

Each individually customized piece must first be manufactured and then captured from multiple angles in a dedicated photo shoot, otherwise the client is simply told to “imagine” what their new furniture will look like when it gets delivered. And from a customer’s point of view, it’s a risky thing to be such a pioneer.

Only the best

For Sherrill Furniture of Hickory, North Carolina, this wasn’t good enough. Ever since opening their doors in 1945, their goal has been maximum customer satisfaction, not just in terms of the highest-quality materials and craftsmanship, but also meeting and exceeding their clients’ expectations every step of the way.Sherrill Furniture

3D-scanned Sherrill Furniture custom chair in a CGI-rendered living room scene. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

As such, they searched for a way to show their clients worldwide exactly what the furniture of their dreams was going to look like, even before it’s ever made. And with thousands of unique pieces available, plus dozens of custom furniture programs from across the company’s nine brands, whatever solution they adopted would also need to be fast and flexible.

Sherrill Furniture VP of Marketing Dax Allen and his team’s research led them to 3D scanning as part of a dedicated scan-to-CGI imaging pipeline, one that would allow them to create dozens of fully customizable 3D models for product listings week after week, year in, year out.Sherrill Furniture

3D-scanned Sherrill Furniture custom chairs in a CGI-rendered room scene. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

At the same time, this would also streamline their content creation workflow, removing any existing bottlenecks while preventing new ones from ever arising.

With these requirements in mind, they contacted the 3D scanning experts at Artec Ambassador Digitize Designs and spoke with Sales Engineer Bo Helmrich, who immediately recommended the Artec Leo to them.

A fully portable, handheld 3D scanner with a built-in touchscreen and computer, which delivers submillimeter-precise color 3D scans, the Artec Leo excels at capturing medium-sized objects, particularly in places where maneuverability is a must, such as the crowded showrooms where Sherrill Furniture’s design team needs to scan.

“Once I realized how quickly Leo captures data, I started moving faster, and Leo has no problem keeping up with me.”

Handheld, hi-tech solutions

After purchasing their Leo, Allen and his team worked closely with Helmrich in coming up with an efficient workflow for capturing furniture pieces and processing the scans in Artec Studio software.Sherrill Furniture

Sherrill Furniture’s Noah Carney scanning a chair with Artec Leo. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

In the words of Design Engineer Tanner Pittmon, “Bo helped me work out the best way to scan whatever kinds of pieces I need to capture, from small chairs all the way up to full-sized sectionals, which means working from left to right, while capturing some of the upper and lower parts of the piece along the way.”

He continued, “With Leo, we don’t need to use any targets or markers at all, and the only problem I had initially was that I was scanning too slowly and too much data was building up. Once I realized how quickly Leo captures data, I started moving faster, and Leo has no problem keeping up with me.”Sherrill Furniture

Original Sherrill Furniture wood-frame chairs awaiting 3D scanning with Artec Leo. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

If there’s ever some aspect or detail that wasn’t captured in its entirety, “I can confirm this right away on Leo’s touchscreen while I’m scanning,” Pittmon said, adding, “And then with one wave of the scanner, that’s it, I have everything.”

“Having Leo means never having to return to the showroom for a repeat scan.”

Leo’s ability to make gap-free scans of even complex, naturally shaped furniture is crucial to the workflow. If there were any gaps in the scans when the CGI team receives them, they wouldn’t be able to realistically wrap the virtual upholstery to the model, and the quality would suffer.

That’s one reason why each individual component is scanned separately, and then brought together in Artec Studio later on before sending them to the CGI team. This means every cushion and pillow and other element is scanned by itself, thus ensuring full 360-degree coverage from top to bottom.

Marketing Coordinator Noah Carney said, “With Leo, we don’t have to wait until we’re starting to process the scans to understand whether we missed some detail that’s important for the CGI team to do their work.”Sherrill Furniture

Artec Studio screenshot of the wood-frame chair scan. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

Carney explained, “When we visit our showroom, we’ll be capturing 20 pieces or more in one afternoon, and then we’ll head back to the office for processing the scans. Having Leo means never having to return to the showroom for a repeat scan.”Sherrill Furniture

CGI render of the wood-frame chair with customized visualization. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

A customized craft

Once the scans are uploaded in Artec Studio software, they’re processed and turned into 3D models, which takes just a few minutes of aligning the various scans for each piece, and cleaning up any non-essential data present.Sherrill Furniture

Processing Leo scans of a chair in Artec Studio software. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

Following this, the 3D models are sent over to the CGI team, who import them into ZBrush. There, they focus on refining the geometry in preparation for the next step, which takes place in 3D Studio Max. That’s the stage where they add in seams and UV and other model changes not done in ZBrush.Sherrill Furniture

CGI render of Sherrill Furniture’s Dundee Natural chair, from Artec Leo scans. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

The final results of their work are vividly lifelike 3D models of each piece, which can be zoomed in on, inspected up close, and modified at the click of the mouse to change the upholstery from Acapella Red to Zussman Seafoam green, or anything in between.Sherrill Furniture

CGI render of Sherrill Furniture’s Sauvage Saddle chair, from Artec Leo scans. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

And various finishes, color schemes, and accessories can be instantly selected and visualized, showing the client exactly what the company’s master craftsmen will be bringing to life and shipping out in the days ahead.Sherrill Furniture

CGI render of Sherrill Furniture custom sofa, from Artec Leo scans. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

Pittmon said, “One little trick that we do with Leo for keeping the realism high is when we’re scanning a sofa, for example, we’ll scan both the right and left sides. Many companies out there will take a shortcut and just mirror one side to the other, but we never do that.”Sherrill Furniture

Artec Studio screenshot showing Leo scans of Sherrill Furniture custom sofa set. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

He continued, “Because in bench made furniture there are tiny, unique differences between the two sides that will register when you look closely: wrinkles, folds, even the way the light plays upon the surface of the fabric, and without this realism, the model will just look fake.”Sherrill Furniture

CGI render of the same custom sofa set, visualized with different upholstery and style. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

Pittmon has also used Leo in a scan-to-CAD capacity with SOLIDWORKS, to reverse engineer furniture. One such project involved a classic chair that had no design drawings to accompany it. Less than a day later, and the Sherrill Furniture manufacturing team can now reproduce it anytime in a range of variations, on demand.Sherrill Furniture

Reverse engineering with Artec Leo: CGI renders of the original classic chair (L) and the final customized version (R). (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

Explaining this project, Pittmon said, “If you take a look at these two chairs, the one on the right doesn’t even exist. From the Leo scans, the CGI team created a 3D model, extending the back higher. They can also stretch out the width of the chair into a love seat or even a complete sofa.”Sherrill Furniture

Artec Leo scan of the original classic chair, in Artec Studio software. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

He continued, “These customized versions of the chair don’t need to be physically created right now. We’re building them virtually. And then, later on, manufacturing can respond to that need.”

Whenever design drawings don’t exist for a piece, Pittmon can quickly construct a CAD model of the virtual chair or sofa using SOLIDWORKS and send it on directly to the product development team at the furniture factory.Sherrill Furniture

Design drawings for the customized version of the chair, created by the Sherrill Furniture CGI team. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

Finding new solutions

Allen spoke about the contrast between old and new: “Early on, we conducted a side-by-side comparison of traditional photography vs our new 3D CGI pipeline with Leo,” he said. While the 3D approach does initially cost more and take longer to complete overall, it does allow them to leverage the 3D model with multiple fabrics, finishes, and more.

“[Using 3D scanning] is at least 30X more efficient on a cost-per-visual-asset basis than traditional photography. And, we’ve actually improved the visual quality vs photography,” he continued. “It’s an amazing result.”Sherrill Furniture

CGI-rendered 3D models of the original classic chair (L) and the customized version with extended back (R), from Artec Leo scans. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

He added, “An example of this came up during the testing, when our team realized that a sofa hadn’t been photographed. The photography team had to cancel the shoot and make plans to re-shoot in 4 weeks when the sofa would be ready.”

“In contrast, the CGI team took the 3D model of the chair that was made from Leo scans, matched the sofa frame to it, and used that to digitally create 100% accurate visuals for the sofa in a 2-hour window from start to finish.”

Allen and his team continue to refine their workflow as they look for any edge that will further accelerate the pipeline while never sacrificing even a millimeter on quality.

Finnish Jeweler Gains Productivity and Flexibility with 3D Systems Wax 3D Printing Solution

Product: MJP
Industry: Consumer Products and Retail

Narsakka, a traditional Finnish goldsmith company, has adopted 3D Systems’ solution for 3D printing wax patterns for direct jewelry casting. Developed to produce jewelry casting patterns that fit into standard lost wax casting processes, the addition of this 3D printing solution has helped Narsakka increase productivity with consistent quality outcomes and maintain better design and production flexibility to answer evolving customer demands.

“With the quality of the wax material we print with, we get a 100% success rate – every part comes out perfect.”

– Thomas Narsakka, Manager at Narsakka

3D printed jewelry casting patterns produced in pure wax on the ProJet MJP 2500W

CONSISTENT QUALITY AND PRODUCTIVITY IN JEWELRY MANUFACTURING

Lost wax casting is a trusted method of jewelry production that yields beautiful, high quality results. However, traditional methods of producing the sacrificial wax patterns are time consuming and labor intensive. Traditional processes have multiple stages that invite the possibility of error, increased costs, and delays. By transitioning to 3D Systems’ jewelry wax printing solution, one of Narsakka’s goals was to remove this variability to ensure better quality outcomes.

Changing consumer habits also motivated Narsakka to transition to a digital jewelry workflow. In response to the abundance of options the average consumer can find online, Narsakka’s retailer customers have changed their purchasing behavior, placing smaller orders in only a few sizes and making up the difference with on demand production as needed.

Owner of Narsakka OY with 3D printed wax casting patterns

Narsakka is taking advantage of 3D Systems’ jewelry manufacturing solutions.

01 EXPERT PARTNER CONSULTANCY

Narsakka was familiar with 3D technologies from having used 3D design software for more than 20 years. To tap into the prototyping and production side via 3D printing, Narsakka used 3D printing services to test the waters. Once the digital workflow had been proven, Narsakka partnered with PLM Group, part of 3D Systems’ authorized reseller network of experts, to implement its own in-house solution. PLM Group has 20 years’ experience helping its customers build capabilities to deliver high quality products faster, better, and more cost-effectively.

“We realized that there were 3D printers on the market that could match our demands for build size, printing speed, and quality,” said Narsakka. “As we had prior knowledge in 3D printing, it was an obvious choice for us, not least when we saw that we could produce hundreds of wax parts in a couple of hours.”

02 PURE WAX 3D PRINTING

Casting pattern quality is a key success factor in the quality of the final casting. 3D Systems’ ProJet® MJP 2500W 3D printer prints in 100% wax and was developed to produce jewelry casting patterns that fit into the standard lost wax casting process. Combined with the pure wax VisiJet® M2 CAST material, this digital workflow solution consistently delivers true-to-CAD fidelity and fine feature definition jewelry patterns with 100% ash burnout. The smooth surface and sidewall quality enable a faster pattern-to-finished piece workflow with less handwork, helping Narsakka reduce lead times from weeks to days for more efficient iteration and production.

“It’s […] easier for us to calculate lead times and production cost. 3D printing basically gives us more control of our business.”

– Thomas Narsakka, Manager at Narsakka

Final rings produced by Narsakka

The flexibility of 3D printing solution helps Narsakka tailor its offering to match customer demand.

03 STREAMLINED FILE-TO-PATTERN WORKFLOW

Narsakka is taking advantage of 3D Systems’ end-to-end jewelry workflow, which spans from software to printer to post-processing operations. 3D Sprint® software offers advanced capabilities to streamline the file-to-pattern workflow with tools for print file preparation and optimization, including automatic support generation, and optimized part placement to maximize the productivity of the build with high volume batches. 3D Systems’ jewelry solution uses dissolvable and meltable supports, enabling batch support removal for quick access to ready-to-cast patterns. In just four hours, Narsakka can produce 60-100 wax parts, which has shortened its lead times dramatically – from weeks to days.

04 FLEXIBLE PRODUCTION

In addition to using the ProJet MJP 2500W for high volume production batches, Narsakka is taking advantage of the ability to offer mass customized options and implement on-the-fly design changes. In this regard, the company has found its digital workflow to be perfect for shorter runs and more specialized production of bespoke jewelry. “Nowadays, customers want more specific items, and have more individual tastes,” said Narsakka. Because of the flexibility of its 3D printing solution, the jeweler is now able to tailor its offering to match customer demand, which has opened up new business opportunities along with unlimited design possibilities for the most creative styles.

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