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Manufacturing was at one time the backbone of the UK economy, but over time, thegrowth of low cost, mass produced items resulted in the rates of employment in the manufacturing industry fall. However more recently cusotmer
demands are changing and there is a move in some businesses to more
local manufacturing or assembly.

DriveWorks Mass-Customization

DriveWorks Customising a Cupboard

In a recent SolidWorks Blog we highlightedhow Mass
Customisation of products
would see a new wave of highly customized
configurable products being produced through the use of configuration and
automation software
which allows for designs to become more flexible.

One thing that wasnt mentioned was the impact that such a
shift in manufacturing could have on the economic viability of local
manufacturing. The lower costs and plentiful workforces thathave beenafforded to
companies with a global manufacturing supply chain have allowed them to create
mass produced products that are cheaper tomanufacture.

However, things, it seems, are changing. We are seeingincreasing
costs of manufacturing in the developing world andconsumers being
less willing to accept a product that is the same as a million others.Italso seems thatconsumers are crying out for something with the personal touch. The same demand for personalisation has driven the massive
expansion of social media; just as we can change our profile picture, consumers
want their products to represent their needs.

The advantage of design automation and sales configuration
then become clear. Allowing product designs to changeat the press
of a button and at the command of the consumer, gives a company a huge competitive
advantage. While they may still use many of the same components and parts in their designs, combining
theseitems in new and exciting combinations means that the product becomes the consumers
creation, not the companys.


Automating Designs in DriveWorks

Design Automation in DriveWorks

So where does local manufacturing or assembly fit in? To
allow for these products to be created and launched in an acceptable time frame
it becomes essential for these products to be assembled if not manufactured in
the country from which they will be sold. Add to this is the increased expertise
that comes with creating customized products and now it is local manufacturing that
begins to make more sense.


The advantages of this process dont end with local
manufacturing either. Any business that has a huge reliance on a well stocked inventory in order to meet the configurations of their customers, will find
that they end up with a large amount of their financestied up in stock.While in some industries this causes no issue, for others, for
examplea PC manufacturer, this could result in them havingstock
that has gone out of date before it has left the factory.


Hydrolic cylinder with 3d Preview/Visualisation

Configuring a Cylinder on

Through allowing customers to configure their product and
through locally sourcing or producing what is necessary, businesses can offer
their customers what they want without having to rely on a large stock inventory
and while also being able to deliver products quicker.


Interestingly Motorola will be using this model in their
upcoming Motorola Moto X. The Moto X while manufactured in outside the US will
be assembled in the US. The reason cited for the assembly in the US is the added flexibility
and responsiveness in both the actual customisation of the phone and the time
of delivery which now promises to deliver a fully customized phone to customers
in only 6 days.

As the needs of consumers begin to evolve and new tastes
begin to emerge, those manufacturers providing a more agile process will be the
ones who can provide the speed and customization that customers want. Mass
production isnt going away anywhere soon but those companies who can see ahead
understand that the return of local manufacturing can be a real competitive advantage.

For more information on how to implement DriveWorks to automate and configure your products please visit

of our resellers’ 3D vision has sent us a fantastic customer success story,
once again showing us how DriveWorks can be used to streamline your business,
through saving time and freeing up your creative juices for innovation.

coach manufacturer Farber create speciality vehicles for a wide range of clients
in industries such as Home Land Security, Dental, Medical and communications.

With such
a varied portfolio of customers comes the challenge of creating custom designs
for each one, in the past this would mean expensive and time consuming
redesigns for each new vehicle.

Farber Speciality Vehicles began their experience with DriveWorks like many of our customers do, by tryingDriveWorks Solo in a 30 day trial. After seeing what DriveWorks Solo could do for their business they decided it was time to upgrade to DriveWorks Pro and expand their capabilities.

Now, using DriveWorks Pro, SolidWorks Models are produced in the
background permitting the engineers to spend more time working on other
elements of design.

Speciality Vehicles have automated the design of custom cabinetry for all their
vehicles, which means they can quickly create high quality custom designs that
meet the specifications of their customer.

find out more about Farber Speciality Vehiclesclick here.

3DVisioncoverOhio, Kentucky and Indiana.

DriveWorks Solo for free at


3DVision DriveWorks Case Study_Farber Specialty Vehicles

DriveWorks has long been a
front runner in design automation, providing a versatile set of easy to use
tools allowing you to automate your designs. With 3D printing beginning to
gather pace and commercial 3D printers round the corner, we are asking what
role mightdesign automation play in the 3D printing revolution?

The 3 Ds: Digitalise,
Develop, Deploy

For those who dont know,
3D printing (or Rapid Prototyping) is a form of additive manufacturing technology
that allows you to create a 3D object by laying down successive layers of a material. You might be wondering,
what is this wonderful material?

The answer to that
question is the key to why 3D printing is talked about in revered tones, with words
like Revolution and World Changing being thrown about. While currently most
3D printers are printing in plastic, this isnt where the story ends.

Metal 3D printing is
already out there allowing you to print sturdy and accurate models using only
an STL file. I know what youre thinking, metal is cool but I cant eat metal, what
about my dinner, can you print that? Why yes, actually, you can.

NASA have recently granted mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor $125,000 to develop a 3D printer capable of printing food for its
Astronauts , attempting to replace the monotonous mush available 230 miles up with
some delectable digital delights. But it doesnt end there, oh no.

Need a new body part? Research
conducted by the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute
is pushing the boundaries
of what we thought was possible in 3D printing “We think we can do it
in 10 years that we can build, from a patient’s own cells, a total
‘bioficial’ heart,” along
with 3D printed skulls its clear that in the future we will be looking at
spare body parts as well as spare parts for your hoover. So where does design
automation fit in to all this?

Design automation is the future of 3D printing design. Jeffrey Lipton,

In an interview with
, Jefferey Lipton, one of the members of Fab@home (a university
project set up to bring 3D printing in to the home) stated that he believed that
design automation would become key to 3D printing design, and its easy to see
why. Creating 3D CAD files can be a complex and time consuming process, combine
this with the often slow printing times of most 3D printers and Rapid
Prototyping becomes far less rapid.

With design automation
software, its easy to capture a design, enabling you to customise it for the needs
of whomever will be using it. This way time isnt wasted recreating a new
design with only slight adjustments but rather the core design is automatically
changed to fit the new specifications entered by the user. From here a CAD file
can be exported and you can begin 3D printing.

The best part?

While not everyone might
have a 3D printer yet, design automation is very valuable today, in fact
design automation can lead to reduced design times, less errors and adaptable
designs which means design time from start to end is drastically cut.

with “same but different designs” might have thousands of variations. Design
automation can turnthe production of thesevariations in to a simple and highly efficient process.

We combined DriveWorks Design Automation with ourown in house 3D Printer and created variations of one of our Design to Order Furniture projects.

If this sounds like something your business could benefit from, why not try DriveWorks Solo for 30 days and see how it can help you grow your business to the next level.



This article is a summary of a fantastic case study published by The Fabricator.

Matot , a small Chicaganmanufacturer of dumbwaiters founded in 1888 has recently moved its design and manufactuing process in to the 21st century using SolidWorks and DriveWorks to automate much of this process.


Example of dumbwaiters in an office and Lab environment

Until very recently, the shop had relied on its workers decades of experience to interpret orders as and when they received them. In order to ensure that they could cope with the thousands of variations in design the company stocked serious amounts of angle iron, sheets and many other components needed for the manufacturing of dumbwaiters.

With demand booming , the owners Anne and Cece Matot saw an oppurtunity to modernise their ageing manufacturing process. Now Solidworks and DriveWorks have become a key component to their manufacturing process, asJon Lane acting Vice President of operations commented :

It takes basic master models and helps us tailor them to become a unique model for a particular customer.

DriveWorks has allowed the company to capture the knowledge that their workers had developed over the years, whilst increasing the efficiency of their design process by knowing exactly which parts are needed for each order. Now they don’t just manufacture the lifts quicker but they have also reduced the need for raw stock inventory.

Jon Lane acting Vice President of operations commented “There was some resistance at first” but with time opinions have changed and now “people are thinking in terms of the model and the geometry of the part”.

For many years fabricators such as Matot tweaked their process to fit the order, now Lane says “We design around our process , our process isnt structured around our design ”

To find out more about Matot or to find out more about DriveWorks please click the links below.

DriveWorks-Design Automation for Solidworks

Matot- Commercial grade Lift solutions

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