Steel ApS, headquartered in the town of Nakskov on the Danish island Lolland was founded in 2004 by the brothers Karsten and Steffen Hovmand. Steel ApS solutions are designed especially for the treatment of wastewater and vacuum sewerage systems. The challenge was too long a product development cycle; better sales tools were needed to demonstrate the ability to solve complex development tasks; risk of inconsistency in production drawings as a result of customer requests for changes; the need for simulation of structures in order to optimize them.
Product development speed doubled
Implementation of SolidWorks reduces Danish forging company Steel ApS development time by more than 50 percent while also gaining new customers with more advanced tasks.
“In retrospect, we should have introduced SolidWorks several years ago, but we feared the transition from a 2D drawing system to 3D CAD. The fear has turned out to be completely unfounded. We’ve got huge time savings of more than 50 percent of our development time and have also gotten a great new sales tool that has given us access to new potential customers,” explains CEO Steffen Hovmand from industrial forging company Steel ApS in Nakskov. The company is utilizing SolidWorks Premium to create customized solutions within machines and equipment for wastewater treatment and vacuum sewerage. Still, more than two-thirds of revenue is generated from tasks like forging solutions for industry, plumbing, galleries, technical equipment for specialized solutions, and renovation tasks.
Internal and external benefits with 3D CAD
Steel ApS implemented SolidWorks well over a year ago and is now using 3D CAD software internally for development and production and not least externally in its marketing work. “Internally, SolidWorks helped to give our employees a better view and a much better understanding of our designs, helping to increase productivity,” Steffen Hovmand explains.
“The CAD software is also an incredibly powerful sales tool because both our existing and potential customers can much more easily grasp the ideas in our solutions when we present them as photo-realistic 3D visualizations. We are emerging as a more professional company and the customers are more easily convinced that we can solve the more technically challenging tasks,” adds Hovmand.
Steel ApS mainly uses SolidWorks to develop welded sheet metal and tubing structures in steel and aluminum. In addition, the company uses the simulation module in Premium to test the strength of the structures and optimize them, which according to Steffen Hovmand, has greatly contributed to the significant time savings in development work.
Easy to make custom changes in SolidWorks
As Steel ApS specializes in customized solutions, it is quite often necessary to make changes in the structures based on special customer requests, explains Steffen Hovmand: “This gives us the really big-time savings. The CAD software has made it both easy and quick to make custom changes in structures. When we previously made changes we risked losing the texture of the subscription base. Now everything is updated and consistent because the changes automatically are reflected in the entire 3D model.”
In the Danish marketplace, Steel ApS represents two German companies specializing in equipment for sewage treatment and biogas equipment. Steel ApS often uses 3D files downloaded from the two companies directly as part of its designs in SolidWorks and this also saves development time.
Basic SolidWorks training is a great idea
Design work at Steel ApS is mainly conducted by Steffen Hovmand. He emphasizes that the CAD software is both easy to get started with and very easy to use in everyday life. Last year he participated in a basic SolidWorks training course conducted by PLM Group. He points out that the course has greatly contributed to the company’s quick and large benefits from using the CAD software. “I strongly recommend that companies take a basic course when they start using SolidWorks. They can then supplement with advanced courses when required. It is a very broad system that can solve a variety of tasks,” he says.
Effective CAD hotline
Steel ApS has also chosen to subscribe to the hotline assistance explains Steffen Hovmand: “At first I was skeptical, but we’ve had an incredibly positive experience being able to call PLM Group if we encountered problems we could not solve ourselves. We have immediately received highly qualified help or we are guided on to other specialists who can help us. This has contributed to our time savings,” he stresses.
After the introduction of SolidWorks, Steel ApS has invested in a CNC-controlled plasma cutting system that cuts based on files retrieved from the CAD software. “This has optimized our production further and ensured high accuracy and good quality of the parts,” says Steffen Hovmand.
- Moving from 2D to 3D the product development time was reduced by 50%
- Improved quality and consistency of production drawings
- Improved access to potential new customers with 3D visualization
- Overall improvement of the company’s professional image