You don’t have to be an engineer to directly experience the business benefits of Onshape’s modern CAD system.

Massachusetts-based Absolute Machinery, which provides plastic injection molding machinery, robotic equipment, and integrated systems to the North American manufacturing market, has also discovered that CAD can be the ultimate sales tool.

The company regularly uses Onshape’s configurations feature to quickly generate 3D models for sales prospects. By plugging field measurements into the configuration tool, the sales team is able to create more accurate system proposals and deliver them much faster. Customers can immediately see the exact system they are considering buying versus seeing a generic example.

“When a customer wants a quote, you want to waste as little time as possible,” says Mike Ortolano, Absolute’s CTO and the company’s co-owner. “I’ve heard from colleagues that they sometimes wait a couple of weeks for a quote. If somebody asks us for a proposal and they want a quick concept on a standard work cell, they’re getting it fast, often on the same day. Onshape helps us move faster.”

Ortolano envisions that Absolute service teams will soon use Onshape’s mobile apps to help assemble machinery, robots and integrated systems onsite for customers.

“Having immediate access to Onshape CAD models on phones and tablets will be especially important in the field,” adds Ortolano. “Whenever a customer adds on an option, they’re understandably in a rush to get up and running fast. Having the 3D models readily accessible will make a huge difference.”


Onshape co-founder John McEleney (on left) talks shop with Absolute Machinery CTO Mike Ortolano.

Onshape co-founder John McEleney often likes to say – and I paraphrase – that Onshape isn’t in the software business, but rather we are in the helping-companies-make-awesome-products business. His calendar is jam-packed with customer visits, which he refers to as his “emotional paycheck.”

Recently, Absolute Machinery graciously hosted 20 (!) Onshape employees for a tour of its headquarters. Ortolano gathered together his core engineering team and led a roundtable discussion of how switching from file-based CAD to Onshape has impacted nearly every aspect of his business.

Team Onshape recently visited the Worcester, Massachusetts facility of Absolute Machinery, which also has operations in Ohio, South Carolina and China.

So why did Absolute choose to make Onshape its primary CAD system?

“We used to be primarily a distributor of industrial equipment, but we now provide a lot more value-added engineering functions,” says Ortolano. “We use a lot of web-based tools at our company because we have a facility in China, one in Ohio and another one we’re building in South Carolina. It’s important for us to be all on the same page and for management to have visibility across the business.”

“When we were using workstation-based CAD, it was tough for me to look closely at any of our projects. Now with Onshape, I can always see what everybody is working on, and always be confident it is the latest, most up-to-date version,” he says.

(To learn how companies of all sizes are streamlining their design and manufacturing operations, get your free copy of “Modern CAD for Machine Design,” a new guide for how design and manufacturing teams can speed up production, boost collaboration and increase innovation.)