Metalsa used skilled engineers to extract information from Catia V5 files to generate new quotes. The app now allows an estimator to extract the data without knowledge of how to use Catia.
Automotive structural component manufacturer Metalsa is a global tier one supplier to a variety of auto manufacturers. An important part of its work flow with vendors is to extract data from Catia V5 files to create quotes for new work. Metalsa engineers routinely spent 32 hours per month preparing quotes.
In the past, gathering information to prepare quotes was performed by engineers because they had access to Catia V5 and know how to use the software. The engineer opened up each associated file and obtained information including the part number, thickness of the part, etc. The engineer then looked up the volume of the part and calculated its weight based on the density of the material used. Finally, the engineer oriented the part in an appropriate view, created a bounding box, took a snapshot, exported the snapshot and imported it into the Excel file as a thumbnail illustration of the part. This process had to be repeated for each part file.
Quoting distracted engineers from other higher value-added tasks; Metalsa estimates the need to get engineers involved delayed each quote by an average of two days. In an effort to streamline the quoting process, Metalsa managers talked to CCE, developer of EnSuite design automation software used to create apps to automate routine design tasks. CCE engineers developed an app for Metalsa that automates the tasks previously performed by the engineers. The app can be used by an estimator because it does not require a license for Catia nor any knowledge of how to use Catia on the part of the estimator.
The estimator now runs the app inside EnSuite, which opens up a window to select all of the Catia V5 files involved in the program. The script also works with other CAD formats. The script automatically extracts information from each part file, creates a separate Excel worksheet for each file and puts the information from each file into the appropriate worksheet. The app is interactive and asks the estimator for needed information such as the density of the part and to orient the part in the right view for a snapshot.
Metalsa estimates the script enables an estimator to enter all of the needed information for all programs quoted in a month in less than 2 hours, saving 30 hours per month. Metalsa believes the savings will be greater in the future as Metalsa quotes more programs.
As a result of adopting CCE’s EnSuite and the custom app, lead time for the quotation process has been reduced by two days, a time savings of 30%. In addition, skilled engineers have been freed up for more critical tasks.