As Vice President at Glendee/MGI US, a specialist aerospace and defense manufacturer supplying prime defense contractors to the US military, David Grossman is focused on driving efficiencies in his manufacturing processes to maintain his company’s competitive edge.
An AS91000 approved manufacturer, MGI must conform to rigorous quality standards which require the entire manufacturing process to be accurately documented.
In this Q&A David tells us how Canvas X³ is helping to solve some of the challenges his firm was facing in its documentation and manufacturing workflows.
Tell us about some of the challenges you were facing in terms of your technical documentation requirements.
A lot of our illustration work involves using Adobe products. But those products couldn’t import any of our our 3D models and do anything with them. We were having to bring our 3D CAD models into our native tools – Solidworks or Creo – take screenshots, put those into PDFs and then send them out to the guys on the manufacturing floor.
It was just laborious. If I wanted to get a guy on the floor to be able to look at a model he would have to get my engineering manager involved, who would get an engineer involved, and there would be three people standing around a screen trying to decide on the right view.
That doesn’t sound like an efficient use of time…
It was super expensive because of the delay and the cost of the talent involved. That highly trained CAD engineer talent is more expensive than the talent on the manufacturing floor. My (manufacturing) managers don’t have CAD tools, nor are they trained to use them. There would be an expense to buying that software and an expense in training them to use it. So that solution would be too expensive as well.
How was this impacting the wider manufacturing process?
Because we’re AS9100 approved we have to prove we’re meeting certain quality standards. So we have what we call a ‘router’, a piece of software that follows all the products we create through the manufacturing process and allows employees to sign off at each stage, showing that a particular procedure has been accomplished.
We can attach documents to the router which contain key information about the products but we haven’t been able to include images of the models in 3D views because, for the reasons I explained, it’s been too expensive and time consuming. So we’re restricted mostly to text, which is not ideal because some of the language can be complex and not all employees have English as a first language.
How did you come to look at Canvas X3 as part of your solution to these challenges?
We have had Canvas software for a while although it was not our main illustration tool. When I saw some of the videos of X3 online I realized it could be the cost-effective way I’d been looking for to let my managers produce 2D illustrations of our assemblies with different views, which they could put in the master record and attach to our router system.
It worked very well. With no experience of the software I brought in a model, created an installation instruction demo sheet that had a BOM and highlighted notes, and it took me about 30 minutes. The annotation lens tool is great for adding notes. That’s something which would take a hell of a lot of time and effort to do in Illustrator but, in Canvas, you just draw an elipse around the piece you want to show and it blows it up instantly.
What kind of impact do you think it will have for you?
It’s going to allow me to have every single person who is working on a product to actually open a 3D model and make comments or notes that share knowledge of what they experience as they work on that product. Retaining that knowledge is valuable. And it’s going to save us money because my operators on the floor will be able to use it, we won’t have people standing around waiting all the time, we won’t have expensive talent spending hours on these screenshots. I want it on every desktop in the building.