Spectrum Technologies Case Study
Formed in 1989 and today enjoying preferred supplier status with the Boeing Company, South Wales-based Spectrum Technologies specialises in the design, manufacture and supply of state-of-the-art industrial laser and electro-optic solutions, in particular to the aerospace sector.
After many years working successfully using AutoCAD, in 2005 Spectrum recognised the need for an automated ‘intelligent’ solution in order to improve the speed and quality of its electrical designs. “This was especially important if we were to maintain and build on our reputation for innovation in the aerospace and advanced electronics markets,” says Spectrum’s, Mr Mike Phillips Engineering Manager.
After looking at what the market had to offer, Spectrum adopted AutoCAD Electrical supplied by Autodesk partner, Envisage UK. “We already had positive experience of Autodesk Inventor Professional” he says, “and the ability of AutoCAD Electrical to integrate with the Inventor Professional software meant that we are able to maximise the return on our investment.”
The results have been both significant and immediate, with the introduction of plug-and-play electrical design software reducing dramatically the volume of manual work undertaken by its electrical engineering team, at the same time reducing the number of errors.
Like many manufacturing companies, much of the electrical engineering department’s time was taken up with producing a wide range of supporting documents – from lists of point-to-point connections, labels, wire markers and switch points to terminal rails, physical panel layouts and plc I/O drawings and component lists. “Until now, all these processes were fully manual and had to be undertaken sequentially, taking days and even weeks,” states Phillips.
“With AutoCAD Electrical, by contrast, this now takes just hours as, once we have produced the schematic, all the related lists drop out automatically and accurately, irrespective of whether or not we use them.
“By freeing up time taken on numbering and renumbering, for example, our engineers are able to be more creative and focus on producing the best possible design solution in meeting our clients’ needs,” he says.
And the benefits don’t stop with the electrical design team. The company also benefits from the fact that design information is now readily and intelligently available to the rest of the business. Increasingly, manufacturing will gain from direct access to detailed, accurate design drawings and the purchasing department will be able to source quickly and effectively from the automatic production of bills of materials.
Spectrum has also been pleased with the strong on-going consultancy support from Envisage, In particular, with the benefit of two day’s training on the new software, Spectrum’s electrical engineers have found AutoCAD Electrical highly intuitive and so both easy to learn and use.
AutoCAD Electrical has been in use for less than six months, but already Phillips is unequivocal on what it has delivered: “Quite simply, we would not go back,” he says
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