Autodesk Product Design Suite helps develop custom furniture

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Ellis furniture speeds time to market with digital design to manufacture workflow

Autodesk, Inc. has named Ellis Furniture – a UK-based furniture company in business for more than a century – as the Autodesk August Inventor of the Month for using Autodesk Inventor as part of Autodesk Product Design Suite to offer greater levels of product customisation in significantly less time.

This speed enables Ellis to rapidly explore a number of design options for its customers – ranging from luxury hotels to government institutions – and create high-quality furniture that not only fits their precise needs, but is designed to last a lifetime.

Tom Ellis, director of Ellis, says: “We have a number of standard ranges for our products, but within these ranges, our customers have the flexibility to customize the product as they wish. We see the market increasingly heading in the direction of providing more custom elements, and Autodesk software is helping us meet that need in a timely manner. When all is said and done, we’ve cut our time to market by half.”

Using Autodesk software, the company estimates that it is able to clarify initial product design concepts with customers 20 per cent faster and establish material sources and material costs 30 to 40 per cent faster. Ellis’ manufacturing process – including generating a bill of materials (BOM) and preparing design files for computer numerical control (CNC) machine tools with Autodesk software – takes 80 per cent less time.

A Continuous Digital Workflow

Ellis worked with Autodesk Platinum Partner Symetri to purchase and implement Autodesk Product Design Suite, which includes Autodesk Inventor and other digital prototyping tools such as Autodesk Vault data management software and Autodesk 3ds Max rendering software. Ellis then integrated the Autodesk software with its corporate enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

The rules-based design automation capabilities of Inventor software enable an efficient workflow where intelligent data behind each furniture design is fed into Ellis’ ERP system. This fully digital process eliminates manual data entry, reduces errors and speeds up turnaround time – even as the company gives its customers greater freedom to express their design intent and personalise their furniture offerings.

When one of its larger university customers required a vast array of size and colour permutations for a new range of furniture, Ellis was able to develop a base model in Inventor software and tailor it until the university was satisfied. Likewise, when one of its military customers urgently needed a new range of bedroom furniture, Ellis was able to complete the models in Autodesk Inventor within a week and go straight into manufacturing with total confidence and without delays on the shop floor. Two weeks later, the units were being shipped to the other side of the world.

Brenda Discher, vice president, Manufacturing Industry Strategy and Marketing at Autodesk, says: “At the heart of every successful business is the ability to quickly meet customer needs and deliver a great experience. With the help of Autodesk Product Design Suite, Ellis Furniture now delivers more customised products in less time, outpacing its competition.”

Follow the link to find out more about Autodesk Product Design Suite.

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