OPENING THE DOOR TO BETTER MANUFACTURING
United Kingdom’s Loxta Hardware Uses Onshape to Build New Household Brands
Loxta Hardware is a premium door handle and hardware manufacturer catering to hardware stores, online retailers and locksmiths. The company stocks more than 200 unique products with 1,400 variants under its own brands and also manufactures products for other brands.
Industry: Consumer Products
Industry: Consumer Products
I can work in hotel rooms, cafes, even at a customer’s office," he adds. "Onshape has opened up so many possibilities. It allows me to utilize my time so much better now.
Shaun Singh, Loxta Hardware
Mechanical engineer Shaun Singh doesn’t walk through doors the way most people do. Like a film editor going to the movies or a chef attending another restaurant, Singh closely scrutinizes every door knob, handle, and latch he encounters. It’s the family business, after all.
"It’s so geeky and nerdy," says Singh, founder of UK-based Loxta Hardware. "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? All these things race through my mind for every door I go through."
"You can’t avoid doors, so this happens multiple times a day," he adds. "The only time I don’t do it is when I know it’s a Loxta product!"
Singh practically grew up on the factory floor, joining his parents as they shuttled between their home in England and their manufacturing facilities in India. For years, the family factories made door and window fixtures and furniture for other brands. Now, they are creating their own family of brands, including the ones below:
"We’ve got the know-how for manufacturing and we are innovative in how we manufacture and deploy new technologies. Right now, everyone is competing on who can deliver something for the cheapest price. We see this as an opportunity. Cost is always an issue, but people always take pride in their homes. It’s important that we deliver the best value," says Singh.
"While everyone’s talking about the ‘Internet of Things’ and locks being opened with your smartphone, there will still always be a need for the traditional door handle in the house," he adds. "People aren’t looking to connect their internal door handles to the Internet, although our ongoing development and direct expertise in design, manufacturing and assembly means that we can react to market changes in an instant."
Hot Forging Vs. Casting Products
Loxta is positioning the strength and durability of their products as a result of not just the quality of materials but their manufacturing process. Singh says many competing products are cast zinc handles that come out of the mold slightly different each time.
"With casting, you have material and pour it into a mold. There’s no compression of the material, it just fills a mold and doesn’t form perfectly. You get shrinkage or you have to file it down to get it right," he says. "With hot forging, we have a die set up for a door handle, semi melt the material and then apply 400 tons of pressure directly down to that material. It directly forms within the tool and obviously the density increases. You get a stronger product within the same volume."
"Hot forging is a more expensive method than casting," notes Singh, "but it allows us to reduce our rejection rates, develop better products, and provide finishes which a lot of competitors struggle to provide."
Loxta products are now carried by locksmiths, hardware stores and online retailers based in the UK and Europe. Singh’s goal is to get his brands into the large DIY stores, establish partnerships with major door manufacturers, and take Loxta to international markets beginning with the United States and Asia.
Unlocking the Benefits of Full-Cloud CAD
Stocking more than 200 unique products with 1,400 variants (different materials, colors, finishes, sizes), Loxta Hardware depends on full-cloud Onshape, which runs in a web browser or mobile app, as its primary CAD system.
"As a company, we’re trying to structure ourselves to be completely cloud-based," Singh says. "I like the fact I can access my work from anywhere. I’m out on the road about 50 or 60 percent of the time. And I’m always asking myself do I really need to bring a high-end laptop to drag around the country – that brings a whole host of problems with it. No more worries about it being stolen or damaged."
"I can work in hotel rooms, cafes, even at a customer’s office," he adds. "It’s opened up so many possibilities. It allows me to utilize my time so much better now. I used to carry two laptops to a meeting; one for my consultancy business and one in which I could squeeze in an hour of CAD. I didn’t want to contaminate my clients’ laptop with my files. Now I can just do everything in a web browser."
Onshape's More Efficient Design Process
Singh says Onshape’s time-saving benefits are most notable when he’s modeling multiple parts and when he’s sharing designs.
"A lot of our products have a number of parts. The fact that I can create them all within one Document makes it easier to see and understand the relationships between the parts. With traditional CAD, you’d have to create each individual part in separate Documents. Onshape makes the decision process quicker and much more streamlined for us. They make it easier for us to visualize our products," he says.
When it comes to communicating back and forth with his manufacturers in India, Singh appreciates the convenience of being able to share designs with just one click – and being able to instantly grant or withdraw viewing and editing permissions.
"We don’t have to email files anymore," he says. "It’s so much easier compared to sending files across, importing the file, updating it, sending it back across, and trying to communicate changes. We’d end up with a whole chain of emails, wondering if we forgot something. Now, it’s just a matter of clicking ‘Share,’ they’ll see it, and they can make comments right within Onshape. It’s a huge time saver because you’re not searching for things."
Integrated Cloud-Blased Engineering Apps
To create a product catalog of his door fixtures, Singh tried out several realistic photo-rendering apps in the "try and buy" Onshape App Store – accessible with just one click within an Onshape Document.
"What the App Store allows us to do is first try different rendering companies very quickly. We can find out what’s the right one without making a decision blindly," he says.
"Also, Onshape’s Integrated Cloud Apps simplify my workflow. I can let the rendering carry on in one tab and then I can start working on something else. My laptop isn’t grinding to a halt from running installed software."
Ultimately, speeding up the design process gives Loxta Hardware the opportunity to get more of their products on the shelves faster.
"I want us to grow and hopefully grow quite aggressively," says Singh. "The last thing I want to worry about is dealing with software licenses or have to do constant upgrades. I want to build in as much flexibility as possible to help our scalability – and full-cloud Onshape gives us all of that."