Astro: Lighting up America with SOLIDWORKS

Astro Lighting header


The Company

Astro is one of the leading lighting designers in the UK. Founded in 1997 by John Fearon and James Bassant through a shared passion for quality design and precision, Astro has built up a world-class reputation for delivering high-end, contemporary lighting products. Selling in more than 70 countries with 1,300 different product units (SKUs) its lights are the go-to choice for architects, interior designers and high-end residential customers. Recently winning a Red Dot 2017 Product Design Award for its Edge Reader light, the company has been a SOLIDWORKS user since 1999 and is based in Harlow, Essex.

The Challenge

As part of Astro's strategy for sustainable growth, the company decided to expand into the American market with a full catalogue of products. More than 360 products had to be converted for the American market to meet the ETL certification mark and UL safety standards required and 100 products had to be sent off for testing. Astro needed everything to run as smoothly as possible without delay.

The Solution

Astro needed to produce new assemblies, part drawings and instructions for the American market fast. Using SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD for its whole design process, from concept and form all the way through to final engineering, the design team had everything it needed at its fingertips for the American conversions.

Stuart Wells, Head of Product Development, says, "For the American market, we were on a steep learning cure of what we needed to do in terms of test, rules and regulations. Everything had to be redesigned to make sure it was compatible and would fit.

"With SOLIDWORKS, we could take standard components, which we knew were compliant in Europe, and then model up and hot swap them in and out to find the best fit."

One of the key aspects of the software was being able to create a customised library of standard components, which Astro could then pull into the new designs. The company also used SOLIDWORKS for its documentation creation.


  • Reduced time to market
  • CAD compatibility with suppliers
  • Increased accuracy, particularly of complex products, plastic moldings and die-castings
  • Seamlessly penetrating the traditionally difficult US market with the same design ethos and technical excellence


NT CADCAM supplied Astro with its first seat of SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD in 1999 and has received the SOLIDWORKS Elite Reseller Award in recognition of its high levels of customer support, technical expertise and subscription services. NT CADCAM now supports Astro's 14 SOLIDWORKS licenses including 4 seats of SOLIDWORKS Professional.

"NT CADCAM is great. We get great service, good support and our account manager is always popping by to check everything is going well. It is tantamount to SOLIDWORKS and NT CADCAM that 20 years on we are still very happy with the software. We are constantly evaluating the CAD market to see if we could do things better, but SOLIDWORKS does everything we need it to do. The success of our products confirms that."

Stuart Wells

Head of Product Development, Astro