Voith Paper shifts to 3D design with Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk Consulting, resulting in faster, higher quality design processes.
Every third sheet of paper is made on Voith Paper machines. A giant in the worldwide paper industry, Voith employs 10,000 people, generates $19 billion a year in revenue, and develops solutions that cover the entire paper production process—from fiber to wrapped paper.
Previously dependent on 2D design tools, the company is now meeting its goal of improving the speed and quality of design creation by transitioning to 3D design with Autodesk® Inventor® software. To gain additional efficiencies, Voith has partnered with Autodesk Consulting for guidance on the Autodesk Inventor implementation.
The Challenge: Deliver Massive Customized Machines Faster
Voith set its sights on improving its design process across its “centers of competencies,” which are located throughout the world. Each center specializes in particular parts of a paper machine; due to its massive size and complexity, a finished machine requires design input from several design centers. Voith knew that speeding up its design and manufacturing processes would mean aligning its dispersed design teams.
With an Autodesk manufacturing solution that integrates with Voith’s other key enterprise systems, Voith is providing its engineers with the consistent information they need to design faster. And with the transition to 3D, Voith is reaching new heights of quality. With a 3D-based process, Voith makes design changes more easily and produces designs that are less prone to error during manufacturing.
Integrating Solutions Key to Efficiencies
Getting its designers on a standard platform worldwide meant integrating the Autodesk manufacturing solution with other key enterprise systems.
“Autodesk Consulting helped us find the right process and methodology for our whole system. They didn’t just focus on the Autodesk Inventor implementation. They integrated our ERP, PDM, and parts management systems as well,” notes Friedrich Spitzer, PDM Support Manager, IT Solutions for Voith.
As a result, Voith has synchronized its design teams and achieved new heights in speed and efficiency levels. “By integrating our 3D models into our SAP ERP system, we can make design changes more quickly. Every engineer has access to the same information,” explains Olaf Spitzer. “This allows us to respond to our customers’ needs faster.”
Adds Friedrich Spitzer, “We’re organized into centers of competencies, so every location with manufacturing capabilities has competencies for a certain product in the finished machine. By installing a common Autodesk Inventor/SAP ERP system with help from Autodesk Consulting, we bring all the information that is generated by these different locations together in one system. With Autodesk Consulting, we have a global partner that supports us in all of our locations worldwide.”
Streamlining Procurement, Inventory, and Maintenance
Voith is also gaining efficiencies thanks to its integration with the enterprise parts management system built by CADENAS GmbH, an Autodesk Developer Network member. The PARTsolutions system, which is an Inventor Certified Application, reduces design time by providing easy access to components and assemblies. Design and development engineers are able to see relevant part information such as price, delivery time, and release status in one user interface—as they design.
“It’s very important to us that during the design phase of a project, we’re not just designing geometry,” explains Friedrich Spitzer. “Our engineers can now bring in real items to their designs and generate bills of materials at the end of the design process.”
With a common database, Voith’s entire design team now uses the same items with the same information. By streamlining parts numbers, Voith has not only facilitated procurement, but inventory and maintenance as well. “We are better able to stock inventory that we need in house,” says Friedrich Spitzer. “And our service organization has the same data—regardless of where they are in the world.”
Better, Faster Designs
Thanks to its Autodesk manufacturing solution, Voith is creating more accurate designs faster. Each machine is designed by several of Voith’s centers of competencies and then assembled at the customer site. Since adopting Autodesk Inventor, Voith has reduced assembly problems.
Explains Olaf Spitzer, “Due to their large size, we can’t really test entire machines before they are assembled at a customer site. 3D reduces design errors and assembly problems. We designed a paper machine with about 5,000 parts using Autodesk Inventor and found that we could assemble it without any problem. Moving to 3D has allowed us to speed up installation time at our customer sites a great deal.”
Meeting customer demands has also improved thanks to Autodesk. “By integrating Autodesk with our ERP system, we can respond quicker to our customer needs,” says Olaf Spitzer. “We are able to show them designs before we build a machine. For one project in China, a company ordered parts of a paper machine. We showed them the design and they had changes which we were able to make overnight. We then presented the new design to the customer the very next day and secured an order.”