Innovation in the service of product development
NX provides a complete solution for optimizing creativity, from the point of defining a product’s specifications all the way through to production
Innovative products set the ground rules for competition
Keyox’s story is recent. It started in 2005 with an observation based on the long shared experience of the two founders – that problems encountered throughout product development are generally linked to a lack of industrial vision at the outset of the innovation process. This company’s mission is to associate the skills needed for the success of the project with each step of the process. These skills include “Strategy, Creation and Development,” and this methodology has become Keyox’s trademark.
A few figures corroborate the Keyox founders’ observation. First, 78 percent of manufacturing companies believe that the longevity of their firm depends on innovation. Innovative companies reap 73 percent higher profits, and 70 percent of new product launches are failures because they do not correspond to the expectations of the market. As hindrances to innovation, companies cite the difficulty of anticipating customers’ needs (59 percent) and internal resistance to change (47 percent).
Keyox founders Paul Laurens and Mathias Allély, engineer and industrial designer respectively, can give full scope to their idea, which is to offer their clients pragmatic product development in close cooperation with internal teams. Freed from the linear progression from one task to the next that other firms typically follow, Keyox can focus on what is essential: the overall success of the project.
In short, Keyox offers a method that allows innovative, high-performing products to reach the market faster. Keyox’s services include market analysis and the search for opportunities; product vision and strategy; market evaluation of the project; projections and decision support; design and conception; and product/process development. Based in Europe, Keyox works for companies of all sizes in industries such as electronics, sports equipment, industrial components, special machinery and technical products. Clients include, among others: Coval, Salomon, Parker Hannifin, Raisonance, Eliot and ST Microelectronics.
From design to industrial production, with only one design solution
As design and CAD professionals, Laurens and Allély know the software market well. In choosing the CAD solution for their firm, they visited the main suppliers, then supplemented these trips with thorough product evaluations. Their main requirement was a complete tool that was sufficiently robust and industrial to adapt to all needs and all phases of the product development process. In short, they wanted a solution for managing the lifecycle of the product.
This ruled out solutions that focused on certain aspects of the process but not on the entire chain of development, hence limiting opportunities for collaborative work. Says Allély, “We were really looking for a magic toolkit that would allow us not only to set up our methodology, but also to adapt ourselves to all the demands of our clients at all stages of product development.”
The NX™ design solution from Siemens PLM Software met these requirements. NX software allows the Keyox team to capitalize on its knowledge of the development process as well as its expertise in design. Ultimately, this CAD solution gives free rein to Keyox’s creativity and offers every opportunity for innovation to succeed.
NX comprehensively supports industrial design, which optimizes collaboration. “We have no limitation on shape, which is vital to a designer,” explains Allély. “We are not forced to adapt our design to the tool.” The capabilities of this solution allow the Keyox team to create virtual prototypes very early in the development of the product. “This suits our approach perfectly,” Allély continues. “We can visualize what the final product could be and have it validated by all the groups involved in the development process, from marketing to manufacturing and including the design office. And everybody knows that a picture is worth a thousand words.”
The product concept serves as the starting file that becomes the basis for the rest of the development work. It integrates all information, both Keyox’s and that of its clients. Generally this information is collected using the STEP neutral exchange format, which allows improvements and changes as well as the import of new data. The file evolves gradually as it advances through the various stages of the process. “NX is both robust and industrial, allowing us to make all modifications very quickly, no matter what stage the process is in,” adds Allély. “As an example, there was a client for whom we carried out the design of a remote control system. We had finalized the mechanical design and were in the process of defining the ribs around the screws when they noticed an error in the specifications, a problem of battery size. Thanks to the parametric and associative modeling of NX, we immediately modified our base model by changing two curves. No time was lost.”
Another strength of NX, according to Keyox, is fast training. “NX is a straightforward tool, even for the noninitiated,” explains Allély. “We had never used it before and we were able to bring out our first project only a month and a half after receiving the solution.”
Siemens PLM Software’s integrated CAD solution is now the backbone of the company’s strategy. The parallel approach that is Keyox’s credo is made possible thanks to this tool. The project manager’s work is made even easier by the fact that the teams, internal and external, work in complete collaboration from a master file that constantly evolves. Thus everyone contributes to the innovation process. Results have already been felt: a 50-percent saving of time required for product development. This is a significant benefit in time required to reach the market and it is accomplished without neglecting the quality and cost aspects of the products.