BioPlastics Improves Customer Response with ZW3D
"I was surprised that ZW3D was so easy to use. The learning curve was really quick, and if I need to make changes to a design, it takes just seconds to change a dimension and update the whole design, including drawings."
BioPlastics (www.bioplastics.us), the leading manufacturer of coated webbing products, is now responding to customers faster than ever before while at the same time reducing their costs, thanks to their adoption of ZW3D software.
BioPlastics: Coated webbing for almost every application
“Almost anywhere you need webbing with special properties, you’re likely to find our BioThane® narrow-coated webbing products,” says Craig Tennant, VP of manufacturing for BioPlastics.
BioPlastics narrow-coated webbing turns up in enormous quantities in a variety of applications: the straps used to hold patients to a gurney, snowshoe bindings, equine harness and tack, sporting goods, fall control equipment, tactical and military gear, juvenile products, and dog training equipment, to name a few.
BioPlastics processes webbing that ranges in width from 3/8 inch to four inches and applies coatings that can be as thin as 30 thousandths of an inch or as thick as one-quarter inch. “Every time there is a new combination of webbing and coating, we have to produce an extrusion die to treat the product,” says Bob Sherwin, design engineer for BioPlastics.
In the past, BioPlastics used a 2D system to design customized extrusion dies used for applying plastic coating to webbing. Dies would be designed based on customer specifications for the finished product, and often, each job would require a different set of dies. The die designs would then be sent to an outside vendor for machining. The first thing the vendor would do is start from scratch and re-create the design using their CAD/CAM program. “It was inefficient and it cost us money,” Sherwin says. “There would always be these extra expenses for ‘engineering time’ on invoices from the tooling shop.”
ZW3D speeds turnaround, cuts costs, increases customer satisfaction
Sherwin says, “We noticed that since the tooling shop was using a 3D package, we started investigating 3D solid modeling programs and finally selected ZW3D, in part, because our vendor was using the ZW3D package, but more importantly, it appeared to have an easy learning curve plus it had all the capabilities that BioPlastics needed.”
Now, using ZW3D, BioPlastics creates 3D models of the extrusion die and sends them directly to the tooling shop where the models are used as-is with no need for translation or re-creation. This speeds the process of creating the die. It also saves money since “engineering time” is no longer needed to re-create the design in a form the tooling shop can use. Finally, cutting the time needed to produce dies allows BioPlastics to be more responsive to customers.
Sherwin notes, “I was surprised that ZW3D was so easy to use. The learning curve was really quick, and if I need to make changes to a design, it takes just seconds to change a dimension and update the whole design, including drawings.”
He says, “It doesn’t hurt that ZW3D has an excellent support system and their people have been very helpful.”
Craig Tennant adds, “There has been an unanticipated benefit of using ZW3D. Since we also make special fabricated webbing products for customers, we now use ZW3D to produce 3D photo-realistic renderings that allows customers to see exactly what the finished product will look like before we produce a prototype. This gives them a better understanding of what they’re going to get, speeds up their approval process and increases their satisfaction.”
Note: VX CAD/CAM software and technology has been acquired by ZWCAD Software Co., Ltd. VX CAD/CAM has been rebranded as ZW3D. All the testimonials of ZW3D refer to its predecessor.