Launching technically superior products, expanding into new markets
Climbing equipment specialist engages Solid Edge as critical gear for advanced product development; company’s competitive advantage soars
A leading producer of mountaineering equipment
Lanex (PLC) is a global provider of mountaineering and caving equipment and the leading producer of climbing gear in the Czech Republic. It was founded by two Czech climbers and their Belgian partner in 1992. The company soon became a leading producer not just in the Czech Republic, but also worldwide. In fact, Lanex, through its brand Singing Rock, regularly participates in the two most prestigious outdoor equipment trade fairs in Friedrichshafen, Germany, and Salt Lake City, Utah, United States.
The company originally started with climbing harnesses and dynamic ropes, gradually extending its range to carabiners (mountain climbing clips), abseiling (rappelling) gear and belaying (fall protection) equipment, pulleys, and more. Nowadays, Lanex closely cooperates with the world’s top climbers, who are involved in the thorough testing of newly developed products.
Speleological ropes produced by Lanex, under the brand Singing Rock, are tested in extreme conditions by the Cave Rescue Service of the Czech Speleological Society or by the Kóta 1000 Association. Mountain-eering equipment for expeditions to the Himalayas is tested every year by “eight-thousander” teams led by Josef Šimůnek. The eight-thousanders are the 14 independent mountains on earth that are more than 8,000 meters (26,247 ft) high above sea level. They are all located in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges in Asia.
In addition, Singing Rock works with several rope centers located in Český ráj (Bohemian Paradise), a protected landscape area located in the North of the Czech Republic, and Krkonoše (the Giant Mountains), the most popular mountain range in the Czech Republic, on new projects designed for climbers, as well as for the general public.
Singing Rock’s preferred gear for creating products that must deliver in life-or-death scenarios is Solid Edge® software from Siemens PLM Software.
The power of 3D
From the outset, the company founders focused on achieving the highest technological level possible. Consequently, this led to installing Solid Edge in 2006. “Previously, we only used to work with 2D CAD, which you simply cannot compare with modeling in Solid Edge,” says Martin Horák, Singing Rock’s product manager. “Solid Edge helps right from the start in the development of a new product. Even people who aren’t normally very good with technical drawings can readily explore different variations of the product. This also applies to the creation of the technical drawing documentation, which is much easier to work with thanks to 3D,” adds Horák.
Currently, Singing Rock’s staff – also known as “crazy cools,” because they both play and work with absolute enthusiasm – use Solid Edge for the development of all personal protection equipment (gear that’s used to protect against falls from heights) and associated components, including carabiners, belaying and abseiling equipment, buckles, and other items.
Horák points out that modeling in Solid Edge is significantly more effective than the prior methods he has used and tried. He emphasizes that dynamic adjustments to a product can be made very quickly, while continuously monitoring the critical technological parameters of that product. “We often use Solid Edge for creating sheet metal parts in which a whole range of design elements are predefined, making it very easy to create a final model,” says Horák. “And, because of 3D, our communication with our production department and external suppliers has substantially improved. We have many suppliers all over the world and 3D is actually a very convenient way to share data. The communication flow is fluent, hassle-free and this, of course, saves our time.”
Technological prowess, competitive advantage
Singing Rock has always been a leader through its technological prowess. With Solid Edge, Horák says that the company’s competitive advantage has advanced several levels. “At the Outdoor Trade Fair, we introduced a complete new series of mountaineering carabiners that are produced using ‘hot forging’ technology,” he says. “Solid Edge enables us to design more complex and higher quality parts, which leads to more versatile products.” Solid Edge provided the design edge that enabled Lanex’s technical breakthrough in applying and leveraging intricate and refined shapes. “For the designer, it means creating a model with a great many complex shapes and surfaces, then assembling it with other parts of the carabiner so that the resulting model meets all the necessary technical requirements and its shape corresponds with the designer’s and technologist’s ideas.” Horák notes, “Something like this definitely wouldn’t be possible in a 2D system.”
Moreover, Solid Edge has not only accelerated Lanex’s ability to deliver technically superior products, but also to continue expanding into exciting new markets. “Sales are very good,” says Horák, noting, “Solid Edge is a key contributor to our successes in expanding into new markets globally. Thanks to its standardized form, it speeds our communication with our partners worldwide.”