Steel Design in a 3D World with SOLIDWORKS

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Marsh Metalworks

The Company

Marsh Metalworks is a father and son outfit specialising in steel construction for the building industry. Established in 2009, the Essex-based firm have grown their business to design, manufacture and install bespoke structural steel, architectural ironmongery and balcony and balustrade solutions for the housing and commercial markets.

The Challenge

Director and designer Kevin Marsh had been using AutoCAD 2D throughout his career to produce customer drawings. Now running his own business with son Terry, they wanted to improve productivity and costs in three key areas:

  • Reduce cost of 2D software upgrades
  • Improve time to process orders
  • Elminate production errors

Each new order was created as a 2D drawing and then sent for customer approval before being sent down to the shop floor for manufacture. Getting the drawings approved was causing delays, as any dimensional changes requested by the customer would require every drawing to be started again from scratch.
The company was also struggling to find employees that could accurately read 2D drawings, which meant kevin's time could be tied up further with shop floor queries, higher levels of manual errors and delays in production.

The Solution

To reduce the annual cost of 2D upgrades from AutoCAD, Kevin researched other 2D products and discovered DraftSight from Dassault Systemes, which was free to download and included free updates. However, he still wanted to improve their day-to-day design flow, so once they were up and running with DraftSight he requested a demo for another Dassault Systemes product: SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD.
Moving from 2D to 3D was easy because SOLIDWORKS' software lets you preserve the value of 2D .DWG data with accurate data conversion, accommodating reusable 2D geometry and enabling a smooth transition. It also lets the designer automate the creation of drawings and automatically check designs for common errors and auto-updates while they work.

The Results

Using SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD, Kevin has virtually eliminated the time it takes to implement design changes and their design process from initial drawing to approval is now 30 per cent faster.

  • Easy Transition from 2D to 3D
  • Design process 30% faster with SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD
  • Improved workflows with SOLIDWORKS Weldments
  • Design automation
  • Auto-updates
  • Shopfloor mate and production errors eliminated
"SOLIDWORKS has had a dramatic effect on getting our orders processed. Working in  2D it could take me days to implement any dimensional design changes; in SOLIDWORKS I can do the alterations in the time it takes to drink a cup of tea."
Kevin Marsh, Director, Marsh Metalworks