Formulatrix, which is working on about a dozen active design projects at any one time, has 60 employees in the United States with another 550 employees based in Indonesia. Out of that total, there are 15 mechanical engineers in the U.S. working closely with 85 counterparts in Indonesia – and an additional 100+ engineers in software integration, process engineering and manufacturing.
“We do everything in-house and our iteration cycle is very rapid. We’re able to design and build prototypes in a matter of days versus weeks or months,” says Köchling. “One of the things that most attracted us to Onshape is the collaborative capabilities of its cloud‑native platform. The ability for our American team and our Indonesian team to work together in real time is extremely valuable. The time difference is 12 hours and we were losing a lot of time when we used to have to send files back and forth.”
Using Onshape’s unique cloud database architecture, multiple engineers can simultaneously work on the same CAD model and see changes update as they happen. A comprehensive Edit History tracks who made which changes and when, allowing users to instantly revert to any earlier state of the design at any time.
“Onshape just has a sense of immediacy to it,” says Köchling. “This allows our engineers to convey design intent and their vision of what the model should be in the moment. In other words, no one has sole control over the model. In a program like SOLIDWORKS, somebody owns the model. You can tell them what to do to the model, but you can’t literally take the mouse out of their hand if you’re 12,000 miles away and change things.”
“The more ideas percolating into a model, the better,” he adds. “Onshape enables us to investigate and explore a much broader range of possibilities.”
Onshape’s Potential Impact on Customer Service
Köchling says because Onshape runs on mobile phones and tablets, he envisions it soon becoming an indispensable tool for his service engineers in the field.
“One of the things we’ve learned over the past few years is that some of our early machines were better built than we thought,” he says. “People are using them longer and longer, even though they were designed for a 5-year lifetime. So it’s difficult for our service people to have to go back and look at older revisions of the machine to make sure they are ordering the right parts.”
“As all our machines moving forward are designed in Onshape, it will be easier to look back at earlier releases and better serve customers onsite,” he notes.
On the flip side, Köchling says his company is extremely pleased with the responsiveness of the Onshape Support team.
“The guys in Indonesia are very happy with their interactions with Onshape. We have a punch list of the things (new features/improvements) we’d like to see, and we’re updated on a reasonably regular basis on the development team’s progress,” he says.
Enabling More Cost-Effective Research