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Rowenta wanted to substantially reduce its product development cycle time
Rowenta is a leader in a style-conscious industry that demands rapid product innovation.
While irons may not seem like very complicated products, their design includes complicated geometrical contours that appeal to style-conscious consumers as well as intricate internal mechanisms that make them convenient to use. In the past, engineers typically designed nearly every part for a new design from scratch, because tight space restrictions meant that it was rarely possible to use existing components without modifications.
Rowenta engineers rely on the NX® digital product development system to substantially reduce product development cycles and increase engineering efficiency. The company designs all products as assembly models that reference parametric models of individual components, so components can quickly be adapted to new product designs. “We originally selected NX because its freeform surfacing features are ideal for creating the complicated geometries found on the exterior of our irons,” says Klaus Reining, manager of Information Technology, Rowenta. “But as we came to appreciate its capabilities, we recognized its potential to greatly improve our design process. We began developing components as parametric models whose dimensions can quickly be adjusted to fit newer products. At the same time, we began building parametric assembly models that automatically update to match a change to one component.”
Rowenta engineers also use the Teamcenter® digital lifecycle management system to distribute product information among the company’s design centers, allowing much closer collaboration among different units.
Once the move to NX was completed, Rowenta began getting products from its facilities and into the stores significantly faster. “The time required to define and validate the product geometry has been cut in half,” says Reining, “resulting in a reduction in the overall product development cycle from 12 to 9 months on average. The transition to manufacturing has also been streamlined, since we now simply attach CNC toolpaths to the geometry used to define the design.” Reining notes that the collaborative assets of Teamcenter enable the company to more evenly distribute the workload among its various design centers. With Teamcenter, engineers in different facilities work concurrently on one assembly model.
“We have used NX for the past 16 years because the capabilities of the software have remained consistently superior to its high-end competitors and NX offers us a production-proven system for product development,” says Ralf Kremer, CAD manager.
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Rowenta has two primary product lines – clothes irons and bathroom scales. The company has a long history of innovation, including development of the first irons to use stainless steel soleplates, the first to use ordinary tap water, and the first to incorporate removable water tanks for filling.
"Taking advantage of the parametric design capabilities in NX has made it possible to reduce the amount of time required to bring new products to market by three months or more. Instead of designing each new component from scratch as was required in the past, our design process now consists largely of modifying and re-using components from previous designs, enabling our innovation while significantly reducing our time-to-market."
Manager of Information Technology
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