The most prominent challenge for stairway manufacturing companies is to meet the fast-changing expectations of the customer. The customers today, not only expect greater value and speed in delivery, but also expect more choices and customization. Expanding the built-to-order or engineered-to-order staircases is a necessity for manufacturers to offer customers extensive options in style and detail configuration. Such customer-centric manufacturing require manufacturers to bring transition in their design, manufacturing and sales processes through right technology tools, in order to maintain a valuable competitive edge rather than spiraling towards the doom.
Design tools like SolidWorks can enable engineering teams to quickly develop innovative, complex stairway design without having to redraw the components completely. Further the parametric, feature-based nature of SolidWorks software facilitates automating design of custom stairs using DriveWorks, freeing up the time for engineers to focus on what matters the most – new innovation. Let’s discuss the benefits of utilizing these tools in detail:
Increase innovation and quality of stairs
Unlike traditional 2D packages, SolidWorks offers a complete 3D modeling interface with easy to use built-in features that can help the design engineer to experiment different variations in the stair design. The 3D visualization further communicates the design intent clearly, leaving few roadblocks to innovation. 2D environment further makes it difficult for manufacturers to get accurate drawings for curved stairs, in order to maintain correct length when folded together.
The 3D CAD software like SolidWorks however provides the unfolding capability, which can be used to generate drawings for curved elements with accurate lengths. Apart from drawings, the software also has the capability to BOMs, cut lists and related manufacturing and installation documentation through easy-to-use tools within the 3D environment. 3D models further provide engineers the ability to test the designs through virtual simulation or use it for generating high-quality 3D renderings for marketing collaterals.
Automate ordering, configuring and design of prefabricated stairs
The major benefit of working with SolidWorks is the ability to automate repetitive tasks using DriveWorks automation tool. Installed free with every seat of SolidWorks, the DriveWorksXpress can actually bring down non-productive activities by automating the development of 3D models and drawings for each new configuration of prefabricated stairs.
The Solo and Pro version however open more possibilities to automate other business processes such as ordering and online configuring. Once the order is confirmed, the tool automatically generates SolidWorks models, Bill of Materials (BOMs) and CNC-ready data required to manufacture the custom stairs. Integrating automation in these business processes can enable manufacturer to close the order in hours and ship the stair assembly well within the deadlines. The time and cost saved with this integration can be invested in research and innovation.
Expand Market Reach
SolidWorks and DriveWorks together are the enablers for stairway manufacturers to reach out to new markets and expand existing ones. The tools provide greater flexibility and speed to develop complex stairway designs with minimal wastage and change orders.
With a strong design, production and sales capabilities, manufacturers can focus on developing high-end, luxury stair cases to tap opportunities in new market while remaining competitive in existing mass market stair designs.
Kashyap Vyas is an Engineer at Hitech CADD Services and holds a Master’s degree in Thermal Engineering with several research papers to his credit. He covers CAD and CAE topics for the engineering industry. His contributions are primarily focused on encouraging manufacturers and suppliers to adopt virtual product development tools to build efficient products with reduced time-to-market.