Antenna Manufacturer Boosts Quality and Speed by Optimizing Workflows
This KETIV customer is a leader in their field, producing high performance antenna systems for a diverse set of commercial aviation, defense, and aerospace applications. With over 30 years’ experience, the Director of Programs has a rich background as an experienced, hands-on engineer. It was time to move from a 2D-based design environment to a 3D one, optimizing their design and production processes. The company wanted to centralize their licensing and create their future designs in a more modern application that could bring updated capabilities to their shop, like upgrading from a 3-axis to a 5-axis CNC. The company’s high-grade antenna components are subject to extreme environments, so they require very intricate and solid part designs. Several injection-molded parts would require multiple back-and-forth iterations to get the design perfected and reduce defects (i.e. meld lines, sink marks, etc.) where parts were not molded and optimized properly.
KETIV provided productive training sessions that allowed the engineering leader, and his team, to get up and running with their 5-axis CNC machine. They are now creating designs in Autodesk Inventor’s internal Toolbox and Autodesk Inventor CAM. The machine has become a point of pride for the Director, “I run by the machine in the shop like 10 to 20 times a day. I see the 5-axis is running and I just kind of get a nice smile. I know it was designed on a lot of the tools that I helped us get standardized on as a company.” The Senior Engineering team made a big effort to use Autodesk Moldflow Analysis Toolbox to reduce the design iterations they were experiencing with their vendors. The team implemented some design changes that allowed them to be more efficient with part design. They were also able to run the multiple design iterations in-house, run and review reports, and make design suggestions, responding to changes immediately.
The organization moved to 3D design in Autodesk Inventor and is adapting to some of the new Moldflow and FMEA as part of their design workflow. They're collaborating more efficiently with their PDM solution. The Director investigated multiple PDM solutions and went with Autodesk Vault. “Again, KETIV gave me enough information to make an executive decision and feel good about it.” Autodesk Vault securely manages all their engineering drawings, whether originating in Autodesk, or from their other CAD applications. Plastics parts vendor design time decreased dramatically. Designs that would take three to four tries, were more frequently perfect on the first go. “I get extremely good feedback from both my legacy suppliers as well as potential new suppliers that our designs are thoroughly optimized. They continuously tell me about how we are doing such a good job of providing them a part design that has already gone through some DFM. The changes are minor, and they’re all done up-front."
Although the Director of Programs is often too busy working through designs to quantify some of the hard dollar cost savings, he knows that what used to take four tries with a vendor to get right, now takes one. Weeks or months are saved getting to market. He says, “I'm knee-deep in it. I see it. I feel it. I love it. And I can definitely see an advantage cost-wise for my company that I'm working for… you know, these design iterations and how much that saved us over the years.”
The engineering leader can approach his leadership team confidently when it’s time to embark on a new technology or project, because he knows that they can rely on KETIV for support. “It’s a huge selling point for me to get support with licensing, upgrades and to train my team members to learn the tools. I’ve always been provided enough information to make some big picture decisions, and KETIV laid those out for me. I would let them know some of the design challenges I may have. They would say, ‘Did you think of this?’ and suggest the proper techniques for achieving it.”
- Design & Manufacturing