3D design process facilitates ongoing product improvement
Medical equipment company boosts productivity and shrinks development cycle time by 50 percent using Solid Edge
Medical products for multiple markets
Industrias Metálicas LOS PINOS S.A. (LOS PINOS) is a leading supplier of medical and hospital equipment. With more than 40 years of experience developing solutions for national and international customers, LOS PINOS is the first Colombian company to be nationally certified with the ICONTEC seal of approval for electromedical equipment. LOS PINOS’ headquarters cover more than 8,000 square meters (more than 86,000 square feet) and includes warehouses, a production facility, sales and exhibition rooms, as well as offices.
In the international market, LOS PINOS competes on quality, as well as price. “Our main challenge is to be constantly updating and improving our designs to be competitive within two very distinct markets: the high value-added markets of the United States, Germany and Canada, and the price-sensitive Asian markets, China in particular,” says José Gabriel Pino, the company’s manager.
LOS PINOS’ equipment is constantly being redesigned, either to improve the product’s overall performance or to meet a customer’s specific requirements. Additionally, before exporting products, the equipment must be adapted to each country’s requirements. For example, for equipment sold in Colombia, the company accommodates doctors’ requests for certain functionality and specific features.
Digital assembly models reduce cycle time
As part of an ongoing effort to improve products while reducing production costs, LOS PINOS decided to look for software that would allow it to design in 3D. “The software we used before only worked with two dimensions, so when we would go to the plant to set up the assembly processes, things would not always fit,” explains Pino. In that case, the company would create one or more prototypes to make the necessary assembly adjustments. This caused the company to devote more time and materials to that particular project, increasing its development costs.
In addition to strong 3D capabilities, the company also sought other features in the new design software, such as ease of use and virtual validation functionality. The company also wanted software that included good support. Solid Edge® software from Siemens PLM Software met these requirements with its user friendly interface and its efficient modeling process. Siemens stood out, because in addition to the advanced functionality of its software, the company provides added value with its services. “Other companies are not well represented,” indicates Pino. “They really don’t provide effective guidance or follow-up. In this sense, not only does Solid Edge deliver the necessary functionality and synchronous technology that cuts development time by half, but also provides a good pre-sales and postsales service.”
Today, LOS PINOS develops a wide range of products using Solid Edge, including electrical beds for intensive care, surgery tables, hydraulic stretchers for transportation and recovery, and other types of equipment used in medical institutions, from level 1 (doctors’ offices) to level 4 (specialized surgery clinics). The assembly process is now validated virtually using Solid Edge, as designers create assembly models of the equipment on-screen. An important advantage of using Solid Edge is that the designers can perform as many virtual validations as needed, and they can be started early in the design phase.
“All design work, prototyping and testing is now done on the computer, allowing up to 50 percent in time savings, and guaranteeing better appearance, improved quality and lower costs throughout the process,” Pino explains. “With Solid Edge, we can now create on-screen assemblies and perform virtual tests; this has enabled us to streamline and optimize our design processes and prototype development.” Pino notes that as opposed to reating 2D designs, which is time consuming and often turns out faulty, Siemens PLM Software’s 3D capabilities allow for more control over design parameters, significantly accelerating the process.
Efficiency, reliability and customer satisfaction
“The benefit of Solid Edge has been very high,” says Pino. He explains that in the manufacturing of each product, processes and times vary. There are products that take more time than others depending on customers’ requirements and needs However, a development process that once took six months has been cut in half, now taking only three months. With an emphasis on customer responsiveness, the company has also added personnel to its design team to further increase its ability to develop more projects in less time.
Solid Edge has provided LOS PINOS with the capability to constantly update, improve and adjust product specifications. The software features a built-in library that permits the storage of designs and components, allowing them to be easily re-used and eliminating the need to create new ones from scratch.
Customer requests are now addressed much faster. Once change orders are received, edits are made in real-time and drawings are automatically kept up-to-date. This powerful automated approach to product development means significantly faster design turnaround. This has helped LOS PINOS gain a lead at the national level, as well as gain a competitive edge in international markets.
“Our company has grown thanks to increasing work across all areas, and Solid Edge has played an important role in this as well,” notes Pino. LOS PINOS plans to continue working hand-in-hand with Siemens to implement additional tools to help streamline the production process, material verification, and everything concerning the product lifecycle.