As the demand for faster media streaming continues to surge, cable and internet companies are rushing to upgrade old copper phone lines and coaxial cables with fiber-optic networks. Fiber internet can send data as fast as 70% of the speed of light.

Amphenol Fiber Optic Products is a world leader in internet and mobile network technology and is continually improving the way we get our daily information and entertainment delivered. They make it possible for us to both work remotely and binge-watch our favorite Netflix shows.

Developing its new products in cloud-native Onshape, Amphenol has its “quarterback engineers” in the United States collaborate on designs with its R&D teams and manufacturing engineers in Mexico, China, and Vietnam. Whenever one Onshape user anywhere in the world makes a design change, everyone else on the team can instantly see it. A comprehensive Edit History tracks who made which changes and when, enabling the team to quickly revert back to any prior stage if desired.

This built-in data management system eliminates the delays of teams sending information back and forth by email or through Dropbox and prevents version control problems. Plus, with Onshape, extra PDM costs are nonexistent.

“Onshape helps us develop highly refined production-ready designs in a very short period of time that are easily reviewed by the team that will be making the product,” says Ken Capozzi,  Global Director of Engineering.

“With our previous CAD system, we really were working in silos at each facility,” he adds. 

“Trying to open big assemblies and drawings that are saved onto a file share globally just doesn't work very well. And then you can't roll things back if you don't like the changes that were made. It was easy to lose a lot of your work because something wasn't saved correctly or somebody saved over the file. Because of all those difficulties, there was very little collaboration happening from the R&D teams.”

Reduced IT Overhead and No Extra PDM Costs

amphenol fiber optic products For designing and updating its hundreds of different connectors and cables for internet and mobile network infrastructure, the Amphenol product development team chose cloud-native Onshape for its built-in data management.

Prior to heading the engineering team at Amphenol Fiber Optic Products, Capozzi devoted more than a decade managing the CAD and PDM systems for Amphenol’s Radio Frequency division. In 2020, he came on board to overhaul the fiber optic team’s approach to data management and handling of PDM pricing.

When evaluating the total cost of PDM systems, Capozzi recalls being surprised that Onshape offered both CAD and PDM for roughly the same cost he was already paying for just CAD. He says switching to the cloud-native product development platform saved Amphenol $80,000 to $120,000 upfront, without even factoring in annual maintenance fees and ongoing IT costs.

“I didn’t want to spend six figures to get a PDM system,” Capozzi says. “Onshape does everything we need it to do.”

(Learn how Withings engineers use cloud-native Onshape to improve designs of hybrid smartwatches.)

As a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform, Onshape also has a zero IT footprint, eliminating the need for installs, upgrades, licenses, servers, networking equipment, and the time required to manage them. 

“I'm not an IT guy. I'm a mechanical engineer,” says Capozzi. “And I used to spend a large portion of my time doing IT-related tasks and engaging with IT and buying terabytes of overhead so that we could do updates. So there are so many facets to conventional PDM systems that all just get smoothed out with Onshape. Instead of thinking about IT, I can now focus more on R&D and manufacturing.”

(To read more about how Amphenol leverages cloud-native CAD and data management to maintain its competitive edge, visit the Onshape Case Studies page.)

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