Case Study

Solid Edge is right for Reelcraft


Migration from I-deas to Solid Edge brings company-wide benefits

Two CAD systems, one vendor

Reelcraft needed a software upgrade process that would open the door to a new CAD solution without leaving behind its legacy data. Reelcraft Industries, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of hose, cord and cable reels. Its products, which are available all over the world, keep hoses, cords and cables easily accessible, make them more productive and help them last longer. Reelcraft reels are known for their high-quality and durability, and the company is the industry leader for new and innovative products.

Reelcraft design engineers used I-deas™ software as their CAD system for about eight years. The company decided to make a change. “We decided to replace I-deas because we wanted to eliminate high maintenance costs,” explains Greg Banaszkiewicz, a senior design engineer at Reelcraft. “Also, we wanted something that would be easier to upgrade. With I-deas, we usually had to call someone onsite to accomplish that.”

They didn’t look far for their new CAD software. “We chose Solid Edge software because it’s from the same company that sold I-deas,” Banaszkiewicz says. “That ensured us a way to maintain our legacy data.” Other features of Solid Edge® software were attractive as well. “Solid Edge is easier to use and we will be able to integrate it better with other departments,” he adds. “For example, we are able to readily export high-quality renderings for marketing literature and also for our service manuals.”

Bulk data migration, design benefits

Reelcraft took advantage of the bulk translation wizard from Siemens that permits the migration of I-deas assemblies, parts, drawing files and attributes into Solid Edge. Reelcraft transferred approximately 4,000 files to Solid Edge format. Because Solid Edge utilizes the Microsoft Windows® operating system and is easy to use, people got up to speed quickly with the new CAD system. And now, when the company hires new engineers, it takes less time for them to become productive with Solid Edge compared to I-deas, according to Banaszkiewicz.

The Solid Edge sheet metal environment has been another plus for Reelcraft. “The sheet metal capabilities are very beneficial to us,” Banaszkiewicz notes. “We do a lot of sheet metal work in-house. Solid Edge can automatically flatten a sheet metal part, which saves time when progressing from the design phase to the manufacturing phase. We use the flattened part for programming our CNC turret presses.”

The 2D capabilities of Solid Edge are another place where the new CAD system brings improvement. “When it comes to producing drawings, Solid Edge is definitely more user-friendly,” Banaszkiewicz says. “Tasks are more automated. For example, you can click a button or two and it will generate a bill of material. Another benefit for us is that we can easily create service manuals using Solid Edge assembly models. It’s very easy to manipulate them and create exploded views. This was possible in I-deas but it is easier in Solid Edge.”

Insight, future plans

Insight™ data management solution, the system that comes with Solid Edge, is enabling Reelcraft to create an engineering intranet that will extend benefits company-wide. In addition to managing designs and fostering collaboration, “The Insight dashboard will be a good communication tool for informing people what’s going on in product development,” explains Banaszkiewicz. Eventually Insight will be the tool for automating the company’s engineering change process and making it paperless. Insight runs on a Microsoft SharePoint® server. Banaszkiewicz attended SharePoint training, and the company is now considering how it might implement SharePoint in other parts of the organization.

Reelcraft is still at the point where it is finding many additional ways to use the new software to its fullest. Future plans include automating some of the design process by adopting parametric modeling and sharing Solid Edge data with more departments, such as Customer Service and Quality. The move from I-deas to Solid Edge has not only given Reelcraft the CAD system that is perfect for its needs. It has opened up new possibilities for creating even more innovative reels and getting them to market faster.

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