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Designplan Lighting Case Study

Using Solid Edge with synchronous technology, Designplan saves time and increases rate of production.

For half a century, Designplan Lighting has been making weather- and vandal-resistant luminaires that have tough bodies, tightly sealed diffusers and tamperproof screws. The company’s extra-strong light fittings can be found in airports, train stations, housing estates and secure health care units. Specialist products are available for specific situations, such as custodial settings where care must be taken to prevent harm through the design of smooth rounded surfaces to which a ligature cannot be attached. In underground railway systems, lighting units must incorporate additional anti-fire and anti-smoke features.

With more than 140 employees and sales in over 20 countries worldwide, Designplan is a leader in using the latest techniques and materials. A pioneer in light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, the company’s comprehensive portfolio includes an extensive range of energy-efficient fittings that are environmentally friendly and low maintenance. Part of the Fagerhult Group, it has a modern factory in south London.

Designplan makes both standard and customized lighting products, and it was the particular challenge of making customized products that led Designplan to review its use of technology in the development process. Tony Croke, design team manager, explains: “Over the years, the company had acquired multiple CAD platforms, so when we had to quote for a new product we faced a whole series of questions: which existing model was closest to what was required, which package had it been designed in and who was most familiar with that software? Our vision was to consolidate on one package and improve our efficiency.”

A demonstration from Siemens Digital Industries Software solution partner OnePLM convinced the Designplan team that Solid Edge software with synchronous technology was the way forward. “It was clear that if we created a master model for each product we could use synchronous technology to modify attributes such as height and length easily and quickly,” Croke says. Solid Edge was implemented early in 2016 and rolled out to nine design engineers who received tailored in-depth training from OnePLM and from Siemens.

“ I had worked for 25 years with CAD, but moving to Solid Edge opened my eyes to what is possible.”

– Increased rate of customized designs from five to eight per week
– Reduced 10 to 18 production stoppages per week to four
– Accelerated design of customized options
– Created master models of three product lines within six months
– Reduced time to amend designs by 50 percent
– Effectively worked with legacy files


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