Innovation and collaborative, synchronized program management for new programs
For more than half a century, Forbes Marshall has been building steam accessories and control instrumentation products/solutions for process industries. Today, the company comprises twelve business divisions; most of them partnering with world technology leaders in their respective fields to manufacture products that address comprehensive requirements across energy generation, energy efficiency, and control and instrumentation. The company has won numerous awards for its work in steam accessories and control instrumentation products, including honors from the India Design Council, Manufacturing Innovation Conclave and IDesign.
Forbes Marshall is an India-based manufacturer of steam accessories and control instrumentation. Forbes Marshall was ranked the fifth best place to work in India for the year 2013, based on a survey conducted across India by Great Place to Work® Institute and The Economic Times. This is the fifth time the company has received distinction in this category. Moreover, Forbes Marshall has won numerous awards for its products, including the India Design Council’s award for good design, the Manufacturing Innovation Conclave award for manufacturing innovation and design, and the IDesign Award for best design in the capital goods category.
Like many companies, Forbes Marshall has tracked a number of tangible benefits as a result of migrating from a 2D drawing methodology to a 3D design process. The company achieved most of its notable gains using product lifecycle management (PLM) technology from Siemens Digital Industries Software. The benefits include better visualization and communication, increased accuracy, faster time-to-market, improved quality, reduced costs and increased market penetration. These benefits were achieved using Siemens Digital Industries Software’s Solid Edge® software.
Perhaps the linchpin to the company’s success is best summed up in the word “process.” In fact, process looms large for Forbes Marshall. It is a more efficient design process that resulted in the reduction of substantial waste and re-work. Better design data management and synchronous technology made that possible.
“Before using Solid Edge, we faced problems in releasing and keeping track of drawing revisions,” says Yashwant Rajeshirke, senior development engineer, research and development (R&D), Forbes Marshall. “It was a manual method. Various drawings were released with the same drawing numbers. Sometimes different vendors were using different drawings for manufacturing the same components. It was difficult for our purchasing agents to accept finished goods, because often there were doubts as to whether the drawing used reflected the latest revision. So, we often received components with incorrect dimensions, which resulted in component rejection and re-work. The delivery time for machined components was always a bottleneck in our production process.”
The company’s 2D drawing system did not provide capabilities for managing basic data, such as drawing names and numbers. “It was a very difficult situation,” says Yashwant. “Our design engineers were keeping track of drawing revisions manually by using Excel spreadsheets or hand written forms. Someone had to be assigned to check each drawing. We used to spend lots of time checking and re-checking. If a mistake happened after manufacturing of the components or assembly, it was very difficult to identify at which stage or during which revision the mistake was made.”
Forbes Marshall engineers looked at a number of computer-aided design (CAD) solutions from various vendors. They preferred Solid Edge because of the software’s built-in data management capabilities and the ability to make design changes “on the fly” using synchronous technology.
Specifically, Solid Edge was chosen to help Forbes Marshall reach several goals, including releasing error-free drawings more rapidly and efficiently without requiring additional manpower, and to make products more appealing from an aesthetics standpoint. Moreover, reaching these goals would dramatically improve the quality of data exchange with suppliers and customers and, most importantly, enable the company to get new products to market faster and commensurately capture additional market share.
The use of Solid Edge has delivered impressive achievements. “With Solid Edge, we have increased the efficiency of our design engineers by 60 to 65 percent,” says Yashwant. “Now, we precisely track revisions and drawings. Our design engineers easily access each other’s data. Concept designs are produced virtually and the designs vividly illustrate intent. We now have a common library of parts and product drawings. Our casting design process has been streamlined. Further-more, our drawing release turnaround has been substantially reduced. In business terms, Solid Edge has enabled us to significantly improve our best practices and product quality, increase vendor and customer collaboration, and save time and money.”
Yashwant elaborates, “We are realizing a cost savings of 150,000 rupees per month, because we no longer have to manually track and review drawings for accuracy. Mistakes by vendors have been virtually eliminated, because we now have accurate data. Plus, we are now releasing new innovative products more rapidly, which is proving quite beneficial in terms of market share.”
Yashwant concludes, “The use of Solid Edge has enabled us to free up our technicians who, in the past, were consumed with tracking drawings and making changes. Now, our design engineers are working on new products, applying their creative abilities to bring about innovation.”