Over 69 million households in the U.S. have at least one dog and 45.3 million have at least one cat in 2021-2022, according to Statista, a German-based statistics firm.
All of those pet owners are likely well aware of pets’ tendency to paw or meow at the door begging to be let out. Then, sure enough, after being let out, they’re at the door again waiting to be let back in.
With the Endura Flap, dogs can be as indecisive as they want. Courtesy: PetDoors.com
Enter Endura Flap, a pet door flap created by California-based PetDoors.com. The Endura Flap was launched in 2003 and has become PetDoors’ best-selling pet flap, with 25,000 units produced every year.
But there’s always room for improvement and the PetDoors team sought to make the Endura Flap even better than before.
“It is our best-selling product and the idea behind this was to take what we have and make it better in every way possible,” Kevin Hendrickson, director of engineering at Petdoors.com said.
By combining information gleaned from customer reviews, data and feedback from internal teams, and Amazon reviews, the team set out to produce a cleaner-looking, easier-to-assemble pet flap, utilizing cloud-native CAD to improve their product development cycle.
“PetDoors.com had recently upgraded their design software to PTC Onshape, a design platform built for the cloud that combines CAD and PDM with advanced collaboration and analytics capabilities,” Hendrickson said.
Here are three ways the PetDoors.com engineering team was able to improve the Endura Flap using Onshape to enhance the product development cycle.
Cats can have a little outside time, too. Courtesy: PetDoors.com
Overcoming Change Control Woes
Onshape’s unique approach to data management and configurations allowed the PetDoors.com team to save time and alleviate worries of overwriting work.
Onshape is the only Software-as-as-Service (SaaS) platform that combines CAD and PDM tools. Instead of managing design data with complex check-in and check-out systems, engineers are able to explore design concepts simultaneously or easily revert to previous versions, greatly improving all aspects of the product development cycle.
“Collaboration is extremely easy with Onshape,” Hendrickson said. “Programs I have used in the past did not include a PDM system, and so when multiple engineers were working on a product, we had to tell each other when we were on the same part and even coordinate our saving.”
Onshape’s data management system also makes product configuration a breeze. All the information needed to manage product variations is easily accessible – no spreadsheets are necessary.
Compared to other CAD systems, Hendrickson said, Onshape’s configuration editor stands out, especially when keeping track of four sizes of pet doors, each with its own format.
“When you add in the complexity from four sizes for each of these variants you can imagine we have a ton of configurations,” he described. “Being able to see all those options without having to design each one discreetly is a big benefit for us.”
Shortening the Product Development Lifecycle
Simultaneous design work and quick iterations all contribute to a quicker time to market – a massive concern for manufacturers.
At PetDoors.com, the team was able to avoid any massive disruptions from an errant component because they were able to test design versions without disrupting concurrent work.
“Getting everything to line up and work took a lot of revisions,” Hendrickson said. “Often you get weeks into a design and must scrap the whole thing because you figured out down the road that this was not going to work out.”
“Being able to roll back to a point in time and create an updated version and even test those versions against the others is a valuable benefit.”
Supporting New Working Arrangements
When PetDoors.com set out on modernizing the Endura Flap during its product development cycle, pandemic-related closures expedited the need to work from home.
Luckily, Hendrickson and his team could take the work home and continue to make progress on the updated design. Onshape is accessible from any internet browser, on any device – including mobile phones and tablets.
“I have my work set up at home, in the office, and oftentimes I pull up an iPad and I am down on the shopfloor taking a measurement for assembling a machine,” Hendrickson explained. “I can pull up the model and work on it wherever I am.”
PetDoors.com took advantage of Onshape’s unique capabilities to modernize product design and team workflows. Try out Onshape today to see what the platform can do for your business.