Through a collaboration between an engineering to order company and one of their supplier the team behind Scandinavian Digital have implemented a web based solution. This maintain up-to-date information about suppliers and integrates directly with them by accessing the suppliers configuration program from the companies configuration platform. In short two configurators in different companies finding the best solution.
Complete, accurate and well-maintained supplier records are crucial for the smooth running of engineering company business operations. It helps in improving efficiency, productivity and significant reduced lead time.
The company configurator is implemented with a supplier’s configurator which means the two configurators will “negotiate” the most optimum solution during sizing and pricing of the equipment.
The configurators platform is a highly modularized web-based system with a web API that allows to create new interfaces for engineering software tools like SolidWorks, Inventor, SmartPlant, MathCAD, STAAD.Pro, Excel to be used a cloud-based services. This technology enables the end-users to have easy knowledge of the engineering tools they use via the configurator platform.
The configurator fulfills the industry 4.0 standard and can work directly with suppliers for calculating correct prices and retrieving the correct customized product documentation based on the specification created by users.
Scandinavian Digital has helped companies reduce engineering lead-times and elevate quality standards for a wide range of complex products within the heavy engineering industry. All through a user-friendly interface which appeals to individuals from both technical and non-technical backgrounds.
The configuration tool supports and optimises the daily workflow for sales, proposals, orders and spare parts. The system automatically generates various types of output needed to support the proposal and order execution process, including proposal documents, parts lists, instruction manuals, technical data sheets as well as full 2D and 3D documentation and more.
The proprietary Scandinavian Digital configurator currently interfaces to MathCad, STAAD, Dassault SolidWorks and Enovia, Autodesk Inventor, SmartPlant, MS Office and PDMWorks. This supports the configuration process through a one-point-of-truth concept in order to link into complex calculations, engineering data, design rules, technical specifications and product lifecycle information that are to be managed outside of the configurator.
The models used within the configurator are described in an efficient programming language which makes it easy to build the product structure, attributes and other product/business rules, and speeds up response times seen from an end-user perspective.
A configuration platform for any engineering company would contain a wide range of products. Below is a single example of the several hundreds of products that the Scandinavian Digital team has developed with some of its key features.
Should the duct turn up/down/right/left ? Should the fan be radially or axially oriented ? Which of possibly 360 degrees should be chosen for mounting (with impact on load calculations) ? Which of 3 different materials should be used for fan blades ? Should the motor voltage cater for the EU or US market and which of 3 efficiency ratings and 23 possible power outputs should be chosen from the 3 different available suppliers?
The preceding initial questions would give close to 3.6 million possible combinations and would not even take into consideration the internal combinations of the mechanical design itself.
Ending up with more than 100 billion possible combinations for this – at first glance – simple product, the time it took to finalise the engineering work during order execution was inacceptable for the customers and it was estimated that a considerable amount of the market was lost due to long lead times in order execution.
Prior to the arrival of Scandinavian Digital, previous engineering was overly manual and based on a principle of reusing earlier orders and adjusting stored template designs – the few existing rules were found scattered around in documents, worksheets and bespoke calculation programs.
Further, the existing engineering process was deemed too costly and error-prone by management and the risk of introducing even minor errors in the design due to simple human oversight was sought eliminated.
Now it is possible to keep track of all variants with a configurator-based design. Selecting and sizing the correct fan variant was very important for the company for which an optimisation of the entire E2E flow ended up being the target.
During the initial discussions with Scandinavian Digital, it became apparent that not only the engineering work should be in scope but rather the full customer flow; from the initial creation of a quotation over the manufacturing at the production workshop, to the final delivery, installation and commissioning at the customer site.
The fan configuration model is now capable of generating automated documentation in both 3D and 2D as well as complete parts lists including the Bill Of Materials (BOM).