Showering the world with innovation
Hüppe, a leading manufacturer of shower enclosures, relies on NX and Teamcenter to keep its ideas flowing
For Hüppe, which built its business by offering products the competition didn’t dream of, the right CAD/PLM solution is key to continuing the tradition of innovation.
Showering in innovation
Hüppe GmbH & Co., with 800 employees and sales of 125 million euros, is known for high-quality shower enclosures as well as other bathtub and bathing accessories. The company has a history of innovation, starting with a shower enclosure made of safety glass in 1982, followed by a ground-breaking semicircular model three years later. By the year 2000, the company had become a leading manufacturer of shower enclosures. That year, more than 25 percent of all glass shower enclosures sold were made by Hüppe. Its product line includes 38 types of shower enclosures, including some with special glass finishes that do not show water spots.
Hüppe not only designs and builds the shower enclosures, it also processes the glass. Since the introduction of the company’s popular “Anti-Plaque” glass in 1996, Hüppe has processed more than 2,000 square meters of glass, enough to cover a track from Hamburg to Athens.
3D supports innovation strategy
In 2000, Hüppe decided to adopt 3D CAD to meet its growing innovation-related requirements. One of the prerequisites for the new CAD system was integration with product lifecycle management (PLM) software. Other stipulations included future security, integrity, full- and half-parametric modeling methods, as well as a user-friendly interface.
After evaluating a number of systems, Hüppe selected Unigraphics (now called <a title="NX software" href="tcm:44-28702">NX™ software</a>) and <a title="Teamcenter software" href="tcm:44-28681">Teamcenter® software</a>. Eight NX workstations were installed in the fall of 2000. Siemens partner Conmatix implemented Teamcenter. “All important Teamcenter implementation tasks, such as complete NX data management, management of MS Office data as well as the automatic generation of tiff and pdf documents were carried out quickly and in a very professional manner,” says Axel Doffner, CAD system manager at Hüppe.
Using Teamcenter, approved designs can be immediately sent to suppliers as tiff G-4 documents through e-mail or they can be easily plotted.
In the beginning of 2003, Hüppe converted to NX and Teamcenter with the support of Conmatix. “With NX and Teamcenter, performance has increased multifold,” says Doffner.
Hüppe used the PLM software on a very visible new project, called the “Hüppe Creation Designer Jette Joops.” This innovative product offers an all-in-one experience with its complete range of glass back walls, bathtub, spray cover and integrated bathing system. Hüppe introduced this product at the Internal Sanitary Fair ISH 2003 in Frankfurt and it has become a huge market success.
Regarding the move to NX and Teamcenter, Dieter zur Horst, head of development and design at Hüppe, says, “One thing has become evident after using these solutions continuously, and that is that efficiency increases and the development periods are used optimally.”
The company believes in the importance of training. “To achieve a high efficiency level we also know that training and workshops are essential as the functionality within NX continues to increase,” adds zur Horst. “We rely on Conmatix employees’ know-how. Conmatix has optimized our design methods with targeted workshops and we are thankful for their experience.”
Hüppe’s next goal is to connect departments such as quality assurance, work preparation and production to make optimal use of NX. There are also plans to integrate the firm’s subsidiaries. Hüppe’s readiness to invest in market research and deep market understanding paved the way for its success as a trendsetter in its industry. The company’s choice of software from Siemens supports this strategy and ensures that the future will bring even more innovation from Hüppe.