Latest Digital Manufacturing Technology Used by Century Old Furniture Company
Ellis Furniture is a privately owned family business that was established in 1891 in North Yorkshire, England. Now into its fourth generation of Ellises, the venerable company has welcomed modern technology, especially digital manufacturing. In particular, Ellis is making good use of Autodesk Inventor, an effort that last month got them named Autodesk Inventor of the Month.
Here's the story as told by Autodesk:
Autodesk has named Ellis Furniture as the Autodesk August Inventor of the Month for using Autodesk Inventor as part of Autodesk Product Design Suite to offer greater levels of product customization in significantly less time.
This speed enables Ellis to rapidly explore a number of design options for its customers — ranging from luxury hotels to government institutions — and create high-quality furniture that not only fits their precise needs, but is designed to last a lifetime.
“We have a number of standard ranges for our products, but within these ranges, our customers have the flexibility to customize the product as they wish,” said Tom Ellis, director of Ellis. “We see the market increasingly heading in the direction of providing more custom elements, and Autodesk software is helping us meet that need in a timely manner. When all is said and done, we’ve cut our time to market by half.”
Using Autodesk software, the company estimates that it is able to clarify initial product design concepts with customers 20 percent faster and establish material sources and material costs 30 to 40 percent faster. Ellis’ manufacturing process — including generating a bill of materials (BOM) and preparing design files for computer numerical control (CNC) machine tools with Autodesk software — takes 80 percent less time.
A Continuous Digital Workflow
Ellis worked with Autodesk Platinum Partner Symetri to purchase and implement Autodesk Product Design Suite, which includes Autodesk Inventor and other digital prototyping tools such as Autodesk Vault data management software and Autodesk 3ds Max rendering software. Ellis then integrated the Autodesk software with its corporate enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
The rules-based design automation capabilities of Inventor software enable an efficient workflow where intelligent data behind each furniture design is fed into Ellis’ ERP system. This fully digital process eliminates manual data entry, reduces errors and speeds up turnaround time — even as the company gives its customers greater freedom to express their design intent and personalize their furniture offerings.
When one of its larger university customers required a vast array of size and color permutations for a new range of furniture, Ellis was able to develop a base model in Inventor software and tailor it until the university was satisfied. Likewise, when one of its military customers urgently needed a new range of bedroom furniture, Ellis was able to complete the models in Autodesk Inventor within a week and go straight into manufacturing with total confidence and without delays on the shop floor. Two weeks later, the units were being shipped to the other side of the world.
“At the heart of every successful business is the ability to quickly meet customer needs and deliver a great experience,” said Brenda Discher, vice president, Manufacturing Industry Strategy and Marketing at Autodesk. “With the help of Autodesk Product Design Suite, Ellis Furniture now delivers more customized products in less time, outpacing its competition.”
About the Autodesk Inventor of the Month Program
Each month, Autodesk selects an Inventor of the Month from the users of Autodesk Inventor software, which takes manufacturers beyond 3D to Digital Prototyping. Winners are chosen for engineering excellence and groundbreaking innovation. For more information about Autodesk Inventor of the Month, visit www.facebook.com/adskinventor.