Machinery maker can respond more quickly to customers’ requests
Since implementing a standardized 3D design process, custom machinery is developed faster and designs are better
Boosting productivity requires 3D
Doucet Machineries Inc. is a machinery designer, manufacturer and integrator dedicated to fulfilling the machinery needs of the secondary wood processing industry. Since 1974, thousands of cabinet makers, furniture manufacturers, flooring mills and decorative molding fabricators worldwide have included Doucet machines in their manufacturing processes. Doucet is an ISO 9001 certified manufacturer employing 150 production, engineering and administrative staff at two plants (a total of 80,000 square feet) located in Daveluyville and Victoriaville, Quebec.
Doucet consists of two main divisions, one specializing in standard products while the other focuses on custom machines. The custom machinery division must react quickly to customers’ requests. In an effort to boost productivity and speed the design of new machines, it had started implementing some lean design and manufacturing methods, such as beginning production before a design was completely finished. But these efforts were hindered by the company’s 2D CAD system. When a machine’s design was only 70 percent complete, for example, the CAD system was used to generate drawings for use in production, purchasing and so on. The division divided its design process into many different steps to make this feasible, but it was still extremely painful with 2D. Drawings had to be produced two, three and sometimes as many as four different times.
A fast start with new software
After determining that designing in 3D would better support its lean design and manufacturing efforts, Doucet considered two competing 3D modeling solutions, Solid Edge® software and SolidWorks, which was being used at the time in another one of its divisions. They chose Solid Edge after realizing it would be better at guiding designers through the different steps of working in 3D. They also felt more confident in the parametric capabilities of Solid Edge. Finally, Doucet believed that Siemens and Mobius Technologies (the local certified Solid Edge reseller) would be the better team for supporting the company through the transition to 3D. “We were correct in believing this,” says Danny Pelletier, general manager at Doucet. “Siemens and Mobius delivered on their promises.”
The implementation was done progressively, one design team after another, under the supervision of a project leader. Training and support were provided by Mobius. Designers learned the new software quickly. Just a few days after the training, the three members of the first team were designing, fabricating and delivering their first machine in 3D. Once this team was ready to go in production with Solid Edge, the same process was deployed with the other teams. The first team also established a new work structure and created a Solid Edge library of the most important components that would be subsequently used by all designers.
Faster designs of higher quality
Currently Doucet has 16 licenses of Solid Edge. One of the benefits of having made the move to Solid Edge is that the company has been able to standardize design methods among the different design teams, which means that now they all work the same way. Working in 3D also allows design changes to be made much faster and helps Doucet communicate more effectively with its customers, production department and sales department.
Solid Edge also supports Doucet in differentiating itself from competitors. One of the ways Doucet has always done this is by having higher quality products than other companies. Since switching to Solid Edge, designers spend more time actually designing, which makes the machines that much better.
The other important way that Solid Edge helps Doucet compete is that by speeding the design cycle, it enables the company to respond faster to customers’ requests. Since implementing Solid Edge, design time for a first machine has been reduced by 20 percent and by 50 percent for the second machine. The time needed to generate drawings for production has been cut in half. Drawings are also more accurate now. Errors on drawings have decreased by 20 percent, which translates into major cost savings in rework.