BRITAX Creates Life-Saving Designs with PTC Creo

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Ideas are your product team's most valuable asset. Unleashing those ideas into real products that set your company apart is where PTC Creo comes in. As the world's most scalable and easy-to-use suite of design software, PTC Creo maximizes every aspect of the design process. From creativity to productivity, teamwork to efficiency.

“You saved my child’s life.”

The team at BRITAX hears that sort of thing all the time. As manufacturers of strollers, infant carriers, and car seats, the company protects children all over the world with its safe, comfortable, and easy-to-use products.

“Last July, our family was in a terrible rollover,” reads one testimonial. “I broke two vertebrae in my lower spine. My son was buckled in his Marathon car seat. I am eternally grateful for this, and fully recommend BRITAX car seats to others. Thank you for building such stable and strong products to protect our children.”

That is high praise, and few manufacturers can claim to mean so much to their customers. That’s why we are more than honored to tell you that BRITAX uses PTC Creo for its product development.

The Mission

All New Britax Pionneer 90
All New Britax Frontier 90

BRITAX has remained focused on child safety for more than 30 years. The company produces one of the best-selling child seats in Europe and it’s one of the brands most trusted by American parents since it entered the US market in 1996.

Engineering a reliable infant car seat, convertible car seat or booster seat is no minor accomplishment. Designers think about protecting the head from impact, keeping the child’s body from flying forward, meeting more stringent and ever-changing safety regulations, comfort, and even the ’ease of use’ for the caregiver who has to install the seat and buckle in the child. BRITAX child car seats are scrupulously designed to do all of this and exceed guidelines for head and body protection.

All this needs to be achieved with the added consideration that style matters in the child seat, stroller, and travel system markets.

For all these reasons, BRITAX deploys PTC Creo to make sure that your child travels safely and in style with a whole new range of innovations in its new FRONTIER 90® and PINNACLE 90® Combination Harness-2-Booster seats.

Creativity

The design process starts with product performance requirements, which are integrated in the earliest stage of development, the concept design stage. It’s here that BRITAX builds in features that not only meet but also consistently exceed regulations.

The latest BRITAX seats also include:

  • SafeCell Technology® to compress and lower the center of gravity and reduce forward head movement.
  • Integrated steel bars that strengthen the seat’s connection to the vehicle, reducing forward-flexing.
  • Energy-Absorbing Versa-Tether®, a BRITAX-patented stage-release tether designed to slow forward movement.

There’s more. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, three of four vehicle crashes occur from the side. As such, all BRITAX seats feature side impact protection, shielding the child in the event of a side collision. The new FRONTIER 90 features True Side Impact Protection® that provides an extra layer of EPP foam to contain a child’s head, neck, and body and keep the baby aligned in the event of a crash. The PINNACLE 90 also features energy-managing Side Impact Cushion Technology™, which diverts crash forces away from a child and provides extra protection for the adjacent passenger.

The new FRONTIER 90 and PINNACLE 90 Combination Harness-2-Booster® seats feature the ClickTight™ Installation System, which allows parents to easily install the seat using the vehicle seat belt safely and securely every time. With just three simple steps, ClickTight saves backs, too. That is, parents no longer have to place their weight in the seat or twist into the vehicle to install the car seat.

“Our FRONTIER 90 seats are the easiest to install on the market today,” says Curtis Strong, Director of New Product Development at BRITAX. “These seats are designed with BRITAX’s revolutionary technology, safety features, and unparalleled ease-of-use. Once parents hear the ‘BRITAX click,’ they know their child’s seat is safely and securely installed.“

Efficiency

Industrial Design and Detailed Design all in PTC Creo
Industrial Design and Detailed Design all in PTC Creo

From early concepts captured in sketches, to final production-ready models, product engineers begin to design and model in PTC Creo right from the start.

“When you work with complex part geometry, advanced surfaces, and intricate assemblies, it’s best to create a 3D model as soon as possible, and use it throughout the product development process,” says Mark Gunter, Senior Development Engineer. “We use PTC Creo 2.0 in combination with its advanced surfacing capabilities to take concept designs all the way to production.”

Here are just a few examples of how BRITAX uses 3D throughout the product development process:

  • Sharing renderings of the initial idea with customers to get feedback on the design.
  • Early mechanical simulations allow the design and engineering teams to coordinate aesthetics with an aggressive safety strategy.
  • Manufacturing data is also produced for initial supplier feedback directly from the 3D model.

“We evaluate many design options in the 3D model using the top-down design tools inside PTC Creo,” says Gunter. “We refine and optimize design parameters until we have exactly what we want.”

Of course, BRITAX car seats are still fully and exhaustively tested. The BRITAX facility is equipped with high-tech dynamic testing and measurement equipment, including deceleration sleds, hydraulic rams, data acquisition systems, and high-speed imaging equipment. Data from these real-life test results is used to further improve the simulations within PTC Creo, helping the team better predict a design’s behavior well before physical testing begins.

Teamwork

Fully detailed 3D models enable early feedback
Fully detailed 3D models enable early feedback

Early feedback from customers comes as the company shares ideas with parents and caregivers. PTC Creo allows the team to share early renderings, discuss the design, and even evaluate fashion points before committing to a design.

As the design evolves, all the associated downstream activities like simulations are updated automatically. Plus, PTC Windchill ensures everyone involved in the process can access the latest and most accurate designs, BOMs, etc.

“By creating our product ranges digitally in 3D using PTC Creo, it’s easy to share the vision for a new product earlier, gather opinions and expertise, and remain innovative and flexible, yet still deliver safe products in an efficient way” says Strong.

With PTC Creo, the entire BRITAX supply chain, including mold and die tool makers, works more efficiently. Everyone stays fully informed of the design as it develops, and can provide feedback based on their areas of expertise.

The Result

The new BRITAX FRONTIER 90 has been an instant hit, with a wave of innovations, early sales orders, and excellent reviews. Check out these results:

  • Developed in PTC Creo using top-down design techniques Britax was equipped to incorporate feedback from test and market data across the entire data architecture faster than ever.
  • Added significant innovations, like the ClickTight Installation System, to ensure a secure and easy installation of the Harness-2-Booster seat.
  • Improved safety with the True Side Impact Protection system, ensuring better protection from side impact collision.
  • Meets all regulations and legislation, and then exceeds them. For example, a new automatic tensioning mechanism further protects the child in the event of an accident.

Modparent.com writes, “If you're looking for the absolute best toddler harness to booster car seat out there, you should definitely consider the BRITAX FRONTIER 90. We consider it to be in a class of its own!”

While those are nice sentiments, BRITAX says its teams are more driven by those letters from consumers. “We want BRITAX users to be proud to own our stylish car seats. And at the same time, we want to ensure that our car seats are as safe as we can possibly make them,” says Jackie Gyoerkoe, Vice President of Marketing. “That’s always going to be our first priority.”

Find out more about BRITAX, the 2013 BRITAX FRONTIER 90, the revolutionary ClickTight technology, and PTC Creo.