CAD software with a twist increases productivity

CAD software with a twist increases productivity

As a manufacturer of stairs, railings, fences, gates, canopies and privacy screens, no day is the same at Straatman | building smart connections. Indeed, no product is identical. That is why the Netherlands-based company has relied on HiCAD and HELiOS since 2013. Together with the supplier of the software, ISD Group, they have focused from the outset on customisation for even higher productivity in the engineering and production process.

Back in 2012, Straatman was looking for a party that could help make the step from 2D to 3D engineering. "At ISD Group, they made that promise. So we entered into a six-month trial period together to see whether what we had in mind could also be realised by ISD," says Bart Peters, technical director of Straatman BSC. "That led to a definite 'go' in 2013 and we haven't regretted it for a moment to this day. Incidentally, we started with one licence at the time to discover the package and explore the possibilities. That turned out positively, after which we developed a roadmap for training six engineers." By now, those figures have also been superseded, as no fewer than sixteen Straatman engineers are currently working with HiCAD and HELiOS on a daily basis.

Parametric design
For Straatman, one of the important qualities of HiCAD includes the fact that it also supports customisation. "Together with ISD, we therefore started developing customisation in the package from day one," says Bart. "Everything with the aim of making the engineering process as efficient as possible and, above all, keeping the lead time as short as possible. Drawing a part in 3D takes time, but thanks to the software and the way ISD is in the game, we have achieved significant efficiency gains in the 3D design process. A great example of this is the customisation link that ISD Group realised between HiCAD and a parametric design tool. The parametric design is loaded into HiCAD via an API, with the software then giving us the freedom and flexibility to further modify the design. This makes the software very powerful for us." So you can also turn to ISD Group for CAD software with a twist.

Automating simple tasks
The more efficient we can design in 3D, the shorter the turnaround time, Bart continues. "For us, it is an ongoing process, so it is important that we keep developing to make tools even faster and even better. In which the simple tasks are automated, leaving our draftsmen more time for the more complex matters." Bart has plenty of ambitions. "Our aim is to increase turnover every year, which means increased productivity in our engineering department. For that, we desperately need HiCAD and HELiOS and thus ISD Group. Also to ensure that the package remains stable, both now and in the future. It forms the basis of our existence and in fact the heart of our organisation. A kink in the cable of the 3D software means that everything behind it goes down the drain." He also envisages a more fluid transition from HiCAD and HELiOS towards production. "Currently, this is still done via an indirect link to our ERP system, but this too can be further automated."

In short, still plenty of wishes. Finally, Bart praises the cooperation with ISD Group. "We have been working together very pleasantly for many years. ISD has a lot of technical knowledge in-house and, if necessary, can also quickly switch with the head office in Germany to improve the software itself. That really is of great added value."