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“Incredibly fortunate timing,” is how Rory O’Connell, Design Manager at Logstrup in Tuam, describes the migration of the company’s document management software to Autodesk Vault on February 27, 2020, the same day the first COVID-19 case was discovered in Ireland.
“We wouldn’t have been able to function during lockdown if the system hadn’t gone live,” says Rory. “We were so lucky everything was finished and ready to go.”
Logstrup Ireland is a division of Logstrup-Steel, Denmark which provides low voltage power supply solutions to clients around the world. The company was founded in 1958 and opened a factory in Tuam, Co. Galway in 1982 with a focus on Design and Engineering, Manufacturing, Assembly and Testing.
Using the latest 3D design software, the team in Tuam develops complete models incorporating electrical components and customised requirements of the client. Project design, manufacture and assembly are all completed onsite, which allows control of design and quality of the final product.
Making the move
Logstrup were early adopters of Autodesk Inventor but they also used an engineering document management solution that didn’t integrate with Autodesk as well as it could have done. It meant the system couldn’t run the latest updates and the outdated software was holding them back and slowing them down.
“We wanted to use one vendor as opposed to working with multiple vendors and we’ve always been happy with the service and support from Procad (now Symetri),” says Rory. “The big leap for us was the decision to migrate from our old document management system to Autodesk Vault. There was a reluctance to make the move because we had so much tied up with the old product. We’ve a huge number of documents, somewhere in the region of 800,000, so it was a massive call to make.”
Vault enables engineering and design teams to create and manage their data effectively and efficiently, making it easier to access, share and update information.
“Logstrup needed a more integrated solution and we’ve been talking to them for years about the benefits of Vault,” says Ray O’Mahony, Procad’s (now Symetri's) Technical Manager.
After some initial discovery meetings and testing, Logstrup made the decision to migrate to Vault and the project kicked off in September 2018.
“Procad (now Symetri) committed to doing research and testing with us even though at that stage they weren’t making any money off us,” says Rory. “Ray and his team looked at our old system and specifications and clarified the issues they thought we might have. We documented each process and what was required and they came up with solutions. Often they came back with ideas that were much more efficient and saved us a lot of time.”
Customisation and challenges
Procad (now Symetri) did some Vault training with the Logstrup design team to figure out what was the best fit for them and how they could customise the system to best suit their needs. The feedback was fed into the configuration plans to improve workflows and processes.
“A project like this has to be well planned and organised,” says Ray. “Every step has to be captured. Everything must be documented. Everything must be tested. Then all the documents had to be moved when we were satisfied that everything was ready to go. It can be a daunting process but we got great support and guidance from Rory and the team at Logstrup, that relationship was crucial.”
The goal was to finish the project within 12 months and although it took a couple of months longer than anticipated, it was worth the wait.
“The main curveball was we weren’t able to stop production of documentation, drawings or design work,” says Rory. “We couldn’t shut down the old system to transfer everything across to the new system. We couldn’t take a week or a weekend off. Ray and the team from Procad (now Symetri) had to work around that.”
“Another hurdle was getting our information from one database system into another and maintaining all the references. Every file is attached or linked in some way to other files so if you lose one, you lose a lot of information. When we went live, everything replicated itself so the files matched up exactly and we’ve had no problems since day one.”
With Logstrup’s old system, working off-site wasn’t very efficient. It was extremely slow and tedious. Another major issue was the systems in Ireland and Denmark weren’t linked. The documents on the system in Denmark and Ireland were often out of date or it was a mission to track down the latest version. With Autodesk Vault, the instant a change is made to a document in Ireland or Denmark, it’s replicated in both sites.
“Up to now the design of standard components has been completed in Ireland for the group worldwide,” says Rory. “The team in Denmark does a lot of customisation and project-based work using the standard products designed here. In the past, they had to wait for us to send the latest files and then update them for their models. Now they can work on live files and there’s no duplication. We can log on to either Vault so if something happens with the system in Ireland, we can access the Vault in Denmark.”
The support from Procad (now Symetri) is another benefit for Logstrup.
“It made sense for us to work with a local provider,” says Rory. “It’s only an hour from Tuam to Limerick so it’s no bother for someone from Procad (now Symetri) to jump in a car, or it was no bother at least, before lockdown. The remote support we get is great and there’s always someone available. I’ve phoned Procad (now Symetri) at nine o’clock on a Saturday night when something has gone wrong and someone always answers the phone and gets on their computer to fix the problem. We don’t close here at Logstrup so we need someone available if we get stuck.”
“My only issue is we should have changed to Vault a lot earlier. It’s definitely much faster and more efficient. It’s better integrated with the Autodesk product range and anyone in the company that was skeptical about it beforehand, has come around to it.”
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