PTC Creo Elements Direct Drafting provides the perfect tool to merge traditional production techniques with modern design requirements
Established in 1980, Cottage Craft Spirals has earned a deserved reputation for producing Spiral Staircases including Helical, Straight and Combi stairs in Cast Aluminium and Timber to the highest quality, which has won them numerous high profile contracts and awards.
While looking to maintain their traditional manufacturing methods, Managing Director Richard Harding was looking for a software solution to help make the companies design process more efficient.
While there is a lot to be said for producing hand crafted specialist products, there are certain more modern tools that can aid such an ethos, for instance, much of Cottage Craft Spirals design work had previously been carried out by hand. This was an area that Managing Director Richard Harding was looking to improve on.
Richard works closely with his son, Ben Harding. When it comes to the design element of the business, Ben tells us that:
“Calculations were made very difficult when we did our design drawings by hand. It was difficult to be precise with some of our more complex jobs and that made it much more time consuming. Challenges in production and fitting, meant we often had to draft in our more highly skilled staff to solve issues with working out intricate details, which had an implication on our costs, and more importantly productivity.
Adoption of Creo Elements Direct Drafting
“Since adopting Creo Elements Direct Drafting and the customization High Peak Systems developed for us, much of this complex calculation work has been automated and is dealt with by the software, this frees up our more skilled staff and makes design work much quicker. Other improvements have been made in production, not least our ability to more easily break down drawings for production, so each section of the factory can have their section of the drawings to produce with the confidence that it will all come together when it comes to assembly”.
Increased efficiency in Design and Production haven’t been the only place where time has been saved to reduce Craft’s time to market. Sending drawing Files to suppliers has also helped to increase accuracy.
While much of the design industry seems to be obsessed with 3D, what made Cottage Craft Spirals adopt 2D design? Ben tells us: “It might seem obvious to move to 3D, however when we looked at the practicalities we have to deal with, such as our time to market, speed of concept design and more fundamentally, what our production engineers need to actually produce our products, 2D Drafting gave us exactly what we need, it was a great fit”
Working in Partnership
Working closely with High Peak Systems, Cottage Craft Spirals have been able to train staff very quickly to understand how to use the system, which has led to them having twice as many staff members able to produce high-level drawings.
Richard tells us that since adopting Creo Elements Direct Drafting, the company is able to win more business, “In the past we have had to turn down jobs as the complexity meant they weren’t viable. Now we can produce drawings that give us a high level of detail down to the exact measurements customers need to know, such as the distance from walls and the height raise from the floor, things that can be very important to a customer when planning these things.
“The higher degree of confidence we have that our estimates are exactly accurate, as well as being able to provide our customers with things like side elevations to bring the plans to life has been very helpful. Should customers then need to make late design changes, it is very quick for us to make those alterations in consultation with our clients, without having to go back to the drawing board and restart from scratch.”