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Digital technology from Autodesk is enabling Viig, a Poole-based designer of automotive and consumer products, to improve its business processes and to reduce product development lifecycle times.

Viig develops a range of lifestyle products encompassing everything from card holders to wallets and Iphone cases; the company also carries out complex total chassis and full vehicle design services.

It was important for Viig at launch to know exactly how it was going to implement its design ideas and engineering and manufacturing processes.

The company’s founders – Stewart Morley and Freddy Page-Roberts – agreed that, before they moved forward, they needed to select a software partner and a suitable CAD solution.

As a start-up, Viig needed to drive sales growth and ensure it was delivering high levels of customer satisfaction.

Morley and Page-Roberts decided to prioritise the aesthetic quality of their designs but also to find a solution that could optimise their processes.

Morley said: ‘We knew we needed design tools that could scope across our wide angle of design approach.

‘The ability to deliver a distinct visual identity was particularly important for our lifestyle products while, on the automotive side, mechanical evaluation, mechanical movement control and cost monitoring were equally key,’ he added.

After searching for a solution capable of achieving this, Viig chose digital solutions from Autodesk.

Morley continued: ‘We needed software that enabled us both to develop products to the highest-quality standard but also to evaluate and, where required, enhance the look and feel of those products.

‘We went ahead and implemented the Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk Showcase package, which has really opened up our CAD capability,’ he said.

Inventor is claimed to deliver accurate 3D digital prototypes that enable users to validate the form, fit and function of a design as they work, minimising the need to test the design with physical prototypes.

Morley said: ‘It does have PLM [product lifecycle management] capabilities built into it together with the ability to manipulate bills of materials [BOMs].

‘These are important benefits but we are most impressed with the visual impact that it can deliver in conjunction with Showcase.

‘We are particularly impressed with the ability to achieve a realistic digital prototype of the solution on screen and get close to sign-off with customers on that prototype alone.

‘This helps us to reduce operating inefficiencies and increase profitability by enabling us to make faster changes to designs and reduce the overall time we spend on the process,’ he added.

According to Viig, Inventor has also helped to improve the company’s cost structure.

Rather than having to ‘go to model and hard model’ and creating one-off physical prototypes just for evaluation purposes, Viig can now carry out the whole process in the digital arena alone.

The use of Autodesk Showcase has helped the company to drive efficient and effective internal decision-making and marketing processes.

The company can now evaluate in real time the surface tension, volumes, finishes and colour of numerous designs and, as a result, make fast, informed choices.

From a marketing perspective, Viig is currently releasing a technology through a newly created subsidiary company called Inrekor, which has been set up to develop sandwich panel technology for vehicle chassis.

For Viig, the ability to send out CAD-level images before products were developed was vital; this is where Showcase came in, according to Morley.

This kind of effective communication with customers and prospects can improve satisfaction levels and sales for any small business.

In order to deliver a valuation of the Inrekor technology, Viig needed to get a working chassis on the road as quickly as possible.

To do this, the company eliminated a Volkswagen Beetle as a donor car and inserted Inrekor technology under a Porsche Speedster replica.

Viig used Autodesk technology to mimic the chassis and arrange seven different castings from CAD files and a variety of water cutting profiles with DWG and DXF files.

Everything was then evaluated in Inventor’s sheet metal programme.

Morley said: ‘We estimate that using Autodesk software has enabled us to reduce our product development lifecycle by at least 50 per cent.

‘The whole process, from developing the first CAD files through to putting the last bolt in and starting the car, took around 13-and-a-half weeks.

‘Without the Autodesk design platform and its ability to deliver what we want when we want it, it would have been simply impossible to achieve.

‘Using the Autodesk solutions has also allowed us to make a dramatic reduction in costs.

‘We estimate that our product development budget was cut by as much as 60 per cent simply through the use of Autodesk solutions,’ he added.

Autodesk products are used by 9 million professionals in 185 countries to save time and money, gain competitive advantage, and change the way ideas are brought to life.

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As a global 2D and 3D design software leader, Autodesk believes in the importance of driving sustainable design awareness and adoption. We provide technology, education, and support for programs that inform and promote innovations addressing current and future sustainable design challenges.

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