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Case Study

Innovation and speed ensure customer satisfaction for made-to-order RV manufacturer

S-karosser AB

S-karosser uses Solid Edge to drive collaboration, productivity and quality, delivering recreational vehicle (RV) products that delight discerning customers

Company delivers innovative product line to discerning customers

S-karosser AB (S-karosser) began operations in 1983 as a family-owned business that specialized in designing and manufacturing the Easy Camper, a highly popular camper for RV enthusiasts that could be fitted on the backs of pickup trucks. Located in Dorotea, Sweden, S-karosser has had a long and profitable relationship with SoliferPolar AB (SoliferPolar), a nearby Swedish company known for producing the Solifer and Polar caravans. In 2007, S-karosser was acquired by SoliferPolar and currently extends SoliferPolar’s brands by providing complementary recreational products.

While S-karosser is best known for its camper, the company also designs and manufactures trailers, exhibition vehicles and other specialty products. In addition, S-karosser makes the biggest caravans for SoliferPolar, mostly because S-karosser operates a large production line whose capacity is ideal for assembling caravans of this size.

S-karosser has a well-earned reputation for delivering quality products by combining solid craftsmanship with high technology. Like SoliferPolar, S-karosser specializes in delivering made-to-order recreational products designed for use in rough, highly demanding winter conditions. As a result, no two of S-karosser’s finished products are the same. Entire caravan platforms are alternated with exhibition platforms, which translates into the need to create detailed design solutions for every finished product.

As you might expect, S-karosser’s designers often have to conceive new trajectories to utilize the limited space available in campers and to maximize overall capacity. Just as importantly, it is sometimes difficult to explain these ingenious design details to individual customers. This challenge is exacerbated by S-karosser’s location, which is a significant distance away for many of its customers. Therefore, it is vitally important that S-karosser provide its customers with an early, quick and clear idea of its design solutions. This challenge played a key role in S-karosser’s decision to leverage Siemens PLM Software’s Solid Edge® software and its powerful 3D capabilities.

Fast implementation, immediate productivity

For several years, S-karosser had been using another computer-aided design (CAD) system for its design work. Initially, this system worked reasonably well, but as the demands on design work increased, S-karosser decided to acquire what it considered the best CAD tool on the market. Accordingly, in 2007, the company issued a request for information (RFI) to the leading CAD suppliers. After a detailed review of the features provided by various systems, decision makers concluded that only two products were able to meet the company’s needs – Solid Edge software and SolidWorks® software. Once it became clear that S-karosser was being acquired by SoliferPolar, whose system of choice is Solid Edge, the company’s selection of Solid Edge was expedited. “While SoliferPolar’s long-time use of Solid Edge was a contributory factor, of course, we were already keen on choosing Solid Edge,” notes Sellgren. “Not least because of its excellent 3D features.”

One of the advantages of Solid Edge that the company highly values is that a designer can learn to use the software very quickly. In fact, S-karosser’s designers started using Solid Edge for their design challenges virtually straightaway upon installation. This use began with a training course run by H-CAD, the local distributor of Solid Edge and a Siemens PLM Software partner. “With Solid Edge, we were already doing design work and outlining our first 3D drawings after just one week,” explains Tobias Hedbergh, a designer at S-karosser.

Excellent collaboration

Ulf Sellgren, marketing and sales manager at S-karosser, notes, “With the help of the 3D drafts that we send to our customers, they can twist and turn our design details in different dimensions. Solid Edge gives our customers a clear idea of the finished solutions we are proposing, without seeing them in a physical form. This fosters a good dialog with the customer while product development is still in progress, which is very important – we want satisfied customers.”

Delighted customers

Since implementing Solid Edge, S-karosser has seen significant advances in its design process. The quality of its product designs has steadily improved as designers are continuously leveraging the highly precise 3D design functionality of Solid Edge. Design innovation is also greater. This is reflected in the highly detailed parts that are now delivered with increased accuracy. Critical to its ongoing success, the company’s collaboration with its customers has become much more effective and efficient. Among examples, S-karosser now presents new and unique design concepts early in the product development process, thereby ensuring that its design teams and individual customers are tracking.

Hedbergh concludes, “Solid Edge is a difference maker. Customers are delighted as the design intent and end results are virtually impeccable, and the speed with which designs are delivered has been substantially accelerated.”

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