In Search of a Prius That Runs on Cooking Oil, or Product Documentation Contributes to the Smart Grid

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If you root around the CAD websites these days, everyone seems to be looking to add a check to the "green" box.  SOLIDWORKS, for example, recently rolled out "Sustainability Express" in all licenses of SolidWorks. This video highlights some functionality of the SOLIDWORKS Sustainability Suite.

As the child of a Beatnik (just a bit too old to be a hippy), I find it very satisfying to find companies that are trying to do the right thing for the environment.  I am proud to say that we recently took part in just such a project.

My customer produces complex equipment used to power our world.  They recently developed a product that was widely accepted by their customers as an essential component of the Smart Grid and, simply put, sold as soon as they could build them.  And therein, as the Bard would tell us, lies the rub…

This company had sufficient floor space and enough business to triple their manufacturing capacity.  However, this piece of machinery is extremely complex and can only be built by a small number of qualified individuals.  Our customer needs to train its users without sacrificing the time of these valuable, qualified shop floor individuals. 

Recently, this company chose to implement 3DVia as a solution to this issue.  The solution will allow CAD data to be used as a starting point for interactive assembly instructions. These instructions will be delivered to shop floor with a Bill of Material (BOM) and data that describes each part.  Moreover, these instructions will be automatically updated when the BOM/geometry/description changes to alleviate confusion.

The expected outcome of this project is to build more than three times as many units, and increase revenue by 3x on the chosen product line.  If successful, the solution can be scaled up to include any product that they have designed in 3D CAD.

Ken Kesey once said "You're either on the bus or off the bus."  Working together, we are simply building a bigger, more pimped out version of the bus that will house more workers, create lower emissions and decrease our carbon foot print.  And what a long, strange trip it's going to be…