When we last visited with Loxta Hardware – a UK-based manufacturer of premium door handles, hardware, and ironmongery – at the DEVELOP3D LIVE conference two years ago, mechanical engineer Shaun Singh shared a deep confession. In the course of a typical day, he can’t open doors without being fixated on the fixtures.
"It’s so geeky and nerdy," said Singh, Loxta’s founder. "To any other person, it’s just a mechanism of going through the door. To me, I’m thinking what is the finish like, is it the right product for the door? Could we do something better than that?”
At the time, early on in Onshape’s development, Loxta Hardware was using Onshape side by side with Solid Edge for product design. Since February, however, Onshape has become the company’s primary CAD tool.
Singh credits significant enhancements to Onshape Drawings for convincing him to make the full transition to full-cloud CAD. “To be honest, it's difficult to say exactly the single feature, but it's just more of the fact that there are more tools now available, even down to adding data points, adding notes, adding references, adding virtual edges,” he says. “It wasn’t just one thing. It was like Onshape evolved to a point where it feels – and it is – engineering ready."
In contrast to traditional CAD vendors’ annual updates, Onshape’s agile development team releases new features and enhancements every few weeks (which you can track with our “What’s New” blog posts). As our CEO Jon Hirschtick puts it, “If you haven’t seen Onshape lately, you haven’t seen Onshape!”
“We do everything solely in Onshape now,” says Singh. “We create the CAD in Onshape, we create the tooling in Onshape, we create the drawings and our 3D print models in Onshape, and so that's allowed us to park our other CAD system to one side.”
Speeding Up the Design & Manufacturing Process
Singh credits Onshape’s approach to modeling multiple parts and assemblies together in the same Document for cutting out unnecessary steps from his previous workflow in traditional CAD. He estimates that working in full-cloud CAD saves his company 25% of modeling time and another 50 to 60% of the time making revisions with his India-based manufacturing colleagues compared to the process with Solid Edge.
Loxta, which sells hardware under its own brand names and manufactures white-label products for other companies, develops over 100 new door handle styles each year with hundreds of variants (different materials, colors, finishes, sizes, etc.). Here’s an example of a recent product launch:
It used to take about four hours from idea to final delivery of a design, but Onshape has shaved one hour from every project, according to Singh.
Instead of sending CAD files back and forth with email or Dropbox, being able to instantly share the latest version of the design eliminates downtime and prevents confusion over which changes are the most recent ones. Singh says he notices the biggest difference in speed when sharing designs to an external partner for high-end image renders for marketing.
“We no longer have files everywhere and our manufacturer doesn't have to worry about revision management control on their side and store each version of the design. That’s because we have Onshape’s built-in version control on our side. So if we have to go back to an earlier revision, I can quickly go back to any stage of development,” he says.
As Loxta seeks to expand its marketing footprint in 2017, it is also exploring how it can leverage its Onshape models as a sales tool. “We can say to distributors, Hey, you can get a close-up 3D view of the product we’d like to sell you – well before our product launch. This allows us to build our pre-sales in a manner we were unable to do before. And the great thing is that we can share models with clients and then unshare them when they’re done reviewing them. As a company owner, I don’t want our intellectual property floating around the abyss,” Singh says.
“Onshape has completely revolutionized how we’re making and marketing our products,” he adds. “Until you start fully taking advantage of Onshape, it’s easy to vastly underestimate all the benefits.”
(Share Your Onshape Success Story: Let us know what products you’re creating in Onshape for possible mention here. Send us an email!)