With brands such as American Standard and Grohe, LIXIL a multi-billion-dollar company is a leading manufacturer of kitchen and bath products including fittings, ceramics, and bathing fixtures. For more than 140 years, the American Standard Brand has been committed to making better homes for everyone, everywhere. Driven by ever-changing consumer needs, American Standard provides unmatched quality for a breadth of essential products.
THE NATIVE CAD FILE AND MBPD
With shifting consumer demands, American Standard must address these requests as quickly and efficiently as possible. With different segments, industries and regions spread across the company, getting all team members aligned on a particular product development process concurrently, especially in the industrial design stage, is a time-consuming problem. As different parts of the business use different software packages and end up taking a CAD file, locking it, and sending a STEP file over to R&D which, as a result, causes the replication of the file, a tremendous amount of time is lost. Because there isn’t a consistent, native CAD file that is being leveraged across the enterprise, some of American Standard’s segments are at a disadvantage.
When American Standard began using Creo for mold design and CNC Programming, they were able to make product parts within their own factory. Once a late-stage high defect issue was detected, root cause analysis determined that a design modification was necessary to remedy the issue. In some parts of the company, to address this issue, engineers would need to go back to the industrial design team, open the file in a different platform, replicate the change, and then bring it back to R&D—losing out on valuable time-to-market.
Instead, American Standard connects with the Creo-using industrial designer and work on the solution together. In this case, within an hour, design engineers were able to examine the data from manufacturing, identify the issue, determine a design solution in the latest released file stored in Windchill and have the solution directly put into an Engineering Change Request (ECR) so that a change notice can be processed almost instantly. With this one native CAD file being pushed throughout the business, change requests, change notices and even the tooling modifications can be updated very quickly. In this situation, once the design engineers had the data, the design solution took one day. In other parts of the business, it takes weeks.
That’s powerful— American Standard drives faster time-to-market and catches late-stage errors because they are working concurrently and agilely within the same file. This is the deciding factor in what keeps a customer happy or not. Through this Model-Based Product Development (MBPD) approach, in R&D and industrial design, a process that used to be 15 to 16 months now takes about 12 to 14 months. That’s about two months taken out of the entire design process and two months faster to delivering the final product.
“Once the design engineers had the data, the design solution took one day. In other parts of the business, it takes weeks.”
– Anthony Esposito, Leader, Americas R&D Fixtures, Ceramics and Bathings
SURFACING DRIVES PRODUCT AESTHETIC AND PERFORMANCE
Manufacturing ceramics is a complex process. And the exterior surface of a product is the highly aesthetic portion of the product that the customer immediately sees. But the reality is, is that the exterior impacts the interior of the piece. And inside is where all the water travels. To deliver your water consumption and high performance of the product, it’s critical that American Standard gets the exterior surfacing correct not only for manufacturing purposes but also, for the performance purpose of the deliverable.
When choosing a CAD solution, American Standard needed to determine whether the solution could deliver the surfaces they needed to get a high aesthetic and high performance. American Standard utilizes tool design in two different ways. For ceramics, surfacing is used to build the tool directly within a surface. For fittings (faucets, shower heads, etc.), American Standard uses the tool design module within Creo. After the overall process of designing the product and shrinking it, the two files are linked together, and the model is used to design and develop molds all within Creo.
Using Creo, American Standard hardly ever starts their designs from scratch. They always take something that is existing—whether it be the master, model, or mold and all the experience they have within the model. Creo’s surfacing capabilities as well as the ability to get good referencing so that when there is a change that needs to be made, helps move design engineers through the model without failure. Add the parametric linking from file-to-file and American Standard can seamlessly leverage the breadth and depth of Creo’s surfacing capabilities.
THE POWER OF SIMULATION
Since Creo and Ansys partnered, American Standard has been able to expand their capabilities to implement simulation product development. With this partnership, American Standard has been able to expand their computer-aided engineering capabilities to mainly focus on Finite Element Analysis (FEA). And with this, American Standard was able to design and test complex and innovative products with a confidence level in the 75-85% range, reducing iterations of prototyping and testing. By quickly being able to make design modifications that drive time-to-market with Creo Ansys Simulation, there’s less time wasted taking the file out of Creo and placing it into the separate Ansys solution.
“With [Creo Ansys Simulation],
American Standard was able to
design and test complex and
innovative products with a confidence
level in the 75-85% range, reducing
iterations of prototyping and testing.”
American Standard has just recently added the use of Creo Flow Analysis to their processes. For newer developments, innovations, and higher product complexity, Creo Flow Analysis, in conjunction with Creo Ansys Simulation, expands the two original subject matter experts into two subject matter experts and 20 engineers. By being able to cut down on smaller problems and quickly get design direction, American Standard can easily cash in on time savings.
As American Standard applies and grows their use of MBPD, surfacing and simulation, they look to the future of their organization. Data driven design and concurrent engineering is what American Standard is looking to expand upon. The more data they have, the better decisions they can make and the better streamlined their development and time-to-market is. By expanding on their CAD capabilities, American Standard can continue to design and develop innovative, high-performing products.