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Support Volume of Custom Product Requests – By CADimensions

In this article Adam Simons, of DriveWorks reseller CADimensions, discusses the benefits of using DriveWorks to U.S. based HVAC company, Zehnder-Rittling.

Zehnder-Rittling is a combination of two family owned businesses, both with a very interesting history…

Jakob Zehnder first went into business in 1895 as a mechanic and bicycle dealer. The business evolved in the 1920’s, the Zehnder family began to successfully manufacture the Zehnder light motorcycle. It wasn’t until 1930 that they invented the product that would lay the foundation for the company’s future success: Europe’s first steel tube radiator.

The Rittling Corporation was founded by Charles Rittling in 1946. Their initial business was started by producing hydronic unit heaters in Buffalo, NY.  As market demand in the U.S. changed, the company shifted its focus to commercial and residential heating needs that could be utilized with the new energy infrastructure developed in the 1940’s – 1950’s. Rittling was awarded its first US patent for twin tube residential baseboard elements in 1953. Hydro-Air Components acquired the Rittling Corporation and added Rittling Finned Tube to the product offering in 1979.

Zehnder Group acquired Hydro-Air Components and the brand conversion to Zehnder Rittling began in 2006. The acquisition enhanced Zehnder’s range of radiators and ceiling-mounted heating and cooling systems.

Since the acquisition 10 years ago, the Zehnder-Rittling company has continued to experience substantial growth in sales and products. They are keenly focused on being the most attractive provider of energy-efficient, healthy and comfortable indoor climate solutions. With over 30 products including hydronic heating, radiant heating and cooling, fan coils, and heat pumps. Zehnder-Rittling provides custom manufacturing capabilities to meet their customer’s requests. This is a challenge that most of their competitors are unable to match.

Implementing DriveWorks

In order to maintain efficient engineering and manufacturing operations that support the volume of custom product requests, Zehnder-Rittling has looked for new ways to leverage their investment in SOLIDWORKS. By partnering with CADimensions, the company has transitioned their process from managing incoming orders with spreadsheets and generic drawings with “custom notes” to “built to order” custom models and drawings.

By implementing DriveWorks, they have been able to use data gathered during the sales process to automatically create models and drawings for each configured order. This step has enabled them to always provide accurate information to manufacturing, which has improved the quality of their products. Zehnder-Rittling has also leveraged their investment in PDM Professional to manage all of this newly created data and improve their internal quality control and “engineering to manufacturing” release process.  That investment has allowed them to improve lead times on product shipments by 50-80%.

Their next steps are to investigate opportunities with DriveWorks Autopilot and PDM API capabilities. We believe additional steps in the process can be eliminated by allowing data gathered in sales (using their own custom quoting application) to pass directly through DriveWorks without any data entry by engineering. Furthermore, automating the export of Bill of Materials data to their ERP application using PDM API can eliminate data entry from engineering after the product is released.

This would mean even more opportunities for Zehnder-Rittling to dedicate resources to new product development and continue growing their business.