Thriving in lean times
With help from NX and Solid Edge, this mold maker increases revenues and expands across the EU while others in the industry struggle
Tough business climate
Injecdesign, established in 2000, specializes in injection-molded plastic parts, offering services for both product and mold design. The company also partners with mold fabricators so that it can offer a full range of services – from concept development through to production. Injecdesign’s customers are located across the European Union (EU) in Spain, France, Holland, Germany, Sweden and Austria as well as in the United States. They span a range of industries including electronic, electric, aerospace, automotive, industrial machinery and medical equipment.
Injecdesign employs nine people. The company has quite a few competitors in Portugal, and many more across the EU. Nearly all of the competitors are larger companies with at least five times as many employees. This puts pressure on Injecdesign’s staff to prepare quotations and complete mold designs as quickly as the larger companies do. But local competition is only part of what has become a very challenging business climate for mold makers in Europe. Chinese companies are also competing in the EU for mold work, with prices that are extraordinarily low. They have driven mold prices down to a point where many of Injecdesign’s competitors have either gone out of business, been purchased by larger companies or are struggling to stay afloat.
In contrast, Injecdesign is thriving. The company’s revenues have increased 300 percent since 2000, even as mold prices have dropped dramatically and raw material costs have increased over that time. Its staff has grown from two people to the current nine. And its customer base continues to spread into new countries.
Sérgio Pinho, Injecdesign’s general manager, credits much of his company’s success to the added value Injecdesign can offer, particularly to small and medium-size manufacturing companies. And for this, he credits his company’s design software, the NX™ digital product development system and the Solid Edge® CAD program from Siemens PLM Software. “Our design software allows us to work fast and not make mistakes, which means we can match or beat anyone else’s quality and delivery time,” he says. “It also lets us collaborate with customers in a way that they value – to the point that even though we sometimes quote higher costs, we still win business.”
Injecdesign purchased NX and Solid Edge from Cadflow, a Siemens PLM Software reseller located in Marinha Grande, Portugal. “Cadflow delivers the combination of high-quality software and good service,” says Pinho. “They have been very helpful to us in supporting our vision.”
Injecdesign finds NX and Solid Edge to be complementary programs, according to Pinho. He originally purchased NX to get the high-end modeling functionality he needed to design parts (and the corresponding molds) with complex shapes. Then he equipped his technical department with NX Mold Design to streamline the design process for molds. Recently he added one seat of Solid Edge, which is used for parts and part assemblies.
Better service, faster delivery
One of the services that sets Injecdesign apart is how closely it works with its customers. Pinho often takes his laptop and NX to the customer’s facility where he works with the company’s engineers interactively to design a product. “Often they just have some sketches or even just an idea of what they want,” Pinho explains. “I model the product in 3D and we look at every potential problem. Then I go back and design the molds.”
Working this way, Injecdesign can have a mold ready in eight weeks after meeting with the customer. Competitors who do not offer this service but simply create mold designs from 2D drawings typically take three weeks longer. Injecdesign doesn’t sacrifice quality for speed, however. Its first-shot success rate is 97 percent.
In situations where Injecdesign is asked to quote on a mold for a product that has already been designed, Pinho prepares, as part of the quote, a preliminary mold design in NX. This lets the potential customer evaluate both the price and see the proposed mold in the form of an easy-tounderstand 3D image. This extra service often wins the business for Injecdesign.
Last year, Injecdesign made 83 molds. This year, the number should be close to 90. The company has found a niche in supplying small- to medium-sized manufacturers with quality molds. “The secret in this market is not just the price,” Pinho notes. “These customers want quality and fast delivery. This is exactly what our software from Siemens allows us to provide.” As recognition of this quality, Injecdesign recently achieved ISO 9001:2000 quality system certification. “For those who don’t know us, this is a sign of our commitment to quality,” Pinho concludes.