KonstruktionsPraxis.de: HellermannTyton Ties Together CAD Systems and Windchill

[Ed. At HellermannTyton, product developers solved the problem of working with global customers in diverse industries, each with a preferred CAD system, by simply using whatever CAD system the customer used. Over time, the company has built up a catalog of tens of thousands of products and variants. The secret to keeping track of a massive collection of parts and assemblies? Windchill.]

Harmonizing the IT environment for product developers is challenging for a global company that serves a wide range of industries. Take HellermannTyton, a company where engineers must work with model data from many different CAD systems. How do they enable multi-CAD product data management? With Windchill. The PLM system ensures greater efficiency by simplifying development work, unifying everything into a single dataset accessed by ten locations worldwide.

The HellermannTyton group, which originated in Germany and the UK, has for over 80 years been one of the leading manufacturers of technologically sophisticated products for fastening, fixing, protecting, and identifying cables and their connecting components. With approximately 3,800 employees at 35 locations worldwide (12 of which are production sites) the company generated sales of 597 million euros in the 2014.

60,000 Product variants

The company serves customers in virtually all industries with cable ties, fasteners, cable protection products and processing tools. Internet sales are also of central importance for the business. “We carry over 60,000 products and versions and the majority of them we keep in stock,” says communications manager James Hill. Keeping all those items on hand turns out to be very important for the company as well as the large number of customer-specific solutions.

The HellermannTyton¬Gruppe offers more than 60,000 items, mostly in stock. (Image: HellermannTyton)

Implement customer requirements quickly

But stock on hand is just one of HellermannTyton’s strengths. Another is its ability to respond effectively to the specific requirements and needs of OEM customers, Hill says. Customers, many with long-term relationships with HellermannTyton, trust Hill’s team to develop special cable management components and new part projects. Of course, just because customers like you, doesn’t mean they make the work easy for you. On the contrary, customer demands are increasing in the automotive, rail, and aerospace industries. At the same time, projects have to be implemented and approved in a short time for a functioning solution.
This is a major challenge for the product developers at HellermannTyton. So, to simplify data communication with the customers, they basically work with the customer’s CAD system—no matter what that may be.

Heterogeneous CAD data landscape

The company not only develops products, but it also manufactures injection molds, maintaining three large tooling centers in Germany, Great Britain, and Japan. Injection molds are constructed with the 3D software, Creo. In addition, HellermannTyton manufactures application tools for processing and assembly of products, which are usually developed with SolidWorks. Support for this heterogeneous CAD landscape at the world’s top 10 developing and engineering sites was an important criterion in the selection of new PLM solution. Read more (article in German).