Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Autodesk PLM 360 is now Fusion Lifecycle!

PLM 360 is now part of the Autodesk product innovation platform, Fusion, which is redefining the way products are designed, made and used. Fusion brings together a unique set of cloud-connected design, manufacturing and IoT tools.

To reflect this change, PLM 360 is being renamed to Fusion Lifecycle. 

Still the same great product lifecycle management solution, but now on a single technology platform. ‪#‎PLM‬ ‪#‎CAD‬ ‪#‎CAM‬ ‪#‎SIM‬ ‪#‎Cloud‬ ‪#‎autodesk‬

More info on Fusion Lifecycle then click below.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Transformative Innovation With PLM Roundtable Event

The way we design products is changing, the level of product Intelligence is rising and the way in which we manufacture those products is transforming. Join Autodesk to hear from Industry experts and pioneering manufacturers about the latest product development and manufacturing trends and how products like PLM are making a difference.

We’d like to formally invite you to the Transformative Innovation with PLM Roundtable Event, hosted by Autodesk, on Thursday 26th May 2016 at Old Trafford Football Ground. 
Click here to Register

As well as hearing from Manufacturing Industry Experts; presenting at the event will be a number of North West manufacturers who have used Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) to help them transform innovation through….

·       Streamlined sales to engineering

·       Reduced waste in product development

·       Increased product sales & profitability

·       Products & projects delivered in less time

·       Integrated people, process & technology

·       Reduced non-value added time

You’ll have an opportunity to network and talk to your peers about best practices, plus have open discussions where everyone will have their chance to share thoughts and ask questions on how manufacturers can achieve more from what they have today. 

Places at this event are limited and on a first come first served basis so please register as soon as possible.

Old Trafford
Stretford Suite, South Stand - Level 2
Sir Matt Busby Way
Old Trafford
Manchester, M16 0RA
United Kingdom

Click here to Register


  • 08.30 AM - 09.30 AM
    Registration and Breakfast
  • 9.30 AM - 10.10 PM
    Welcome and the Future of Making Things
  • 10.10AM - 10.40AM
    Enabling Business Growth with PLM 
  • 10.40AM - 11.00AM
  • 11:00 AM - 11:25AM
    Business Change, The Tech Revolution
  • 11:25 AM - 11:45 AM
    What we are doing with PLM (Kirk Environment)
  • 11:45 AM - 12:20 PM
    Innovation with PLM
  • 12:20 PM - 12:45 PM
    Bringing Innovation to the North West (PLS Ltd)
  • 12:45PM

Friday, 22 January 2016

Autodesk PLM 360 managing a pioneering airline trolley for the aviation industry.

Security Seal Technology lightweight trolleys 

This week I've been with the development team from Security Seal Technology Ltd, to see what great products they are creating and share some of my best practices. They are preparing for their Autodesk PLM 360 implementation so we like to share examples from other customers to help them get started. Security Seal Technology Ltd are a recent customer of Autodesk PLM 360 as part of the Autodesk® Entrepreneur Impact programme. 

The team from Security Seal Technology, with the Innovative lightweight trolley

Security Seal Technology specialises in creating cutting edge security solutions for the aviation industry. The company provides intuitive alternatives to the traditional heavier, less reliable and potentially insecure current airline trolley solutions. The security function is an electronic, multi-point lock and security seal that will replace traditional plastic disposable seals. This will enable the airline to track and record the opening, closing sealing and unsealing of the trolley, which will prevent theft while also making it easier to monitor the sale of duty-free products.

The flat-pack, modular design of the trolley allows for fast, easy repairs with minimum downtime. The 30 per cent weight reduction could deliver a fuel saving of hundreds of pounds per year, per trolley, providing airlines with a vital carbon offset.

This revolutionary trolley is already multi-award winning; earning the best onboard catering equipment prize at the Onboard Hospitality Awards in 2015, and the Made in Wales Green Award for their innovative flax-based FibriRock, a pioneering new material that is aerospace approved and 98 percent recyclable.

Part of the SST shop floor and testing/assembly cells

SST shop floor using lean assembly methods and processes
SST Bespoke Jigs and Fixtures
I thought I'd walk you through what a typical implementation looks like using the standard Autodesk PLM 360 apps. We took these first steps with Security Seal Technology as they needed to get control on the product components first.

Step 1: Upload the items and BOMS

Using the in-product upload tool, we bulk uploaded the items and BOM's using the current spreadsheets that they use to manage their products (Example shown is dummy data to protect SST Ltd). You simply create excel columns to match the fields in PLM 360, you can even upload legacy data to the current revision by simply entering the Rev letter next to each item. (See below) 

Example of excel data ready to upload
Then using the upload tool you match the excel columns with the corresponding fields in the items and BOMS workspace.

Autodesk PLM 360 Upload tool
Hit proceed and that's it, don't worry as the tool will check first for matching data and any errors before making the upload, it will even add data to pick lists if needed.

Autodesk PLM 360 upload tool

Getting under the hood and testing out Autodesk PLM 360 for the first time (lots of smiles !!)
Step 2: Change management

Next we configured the approval groups within the change management apps and added the users who needed to be part of the Security Seal Technology change management approval process.

Change Management workflow

Step 3: Create the quality procedures 

One of the advantages of Autodesk PLM 360 is that you can take full use of the standard quality apps, without the need to spend weeks customising or creating these from scratch. We simply added their procedures directly into the PLM 360 ISO 9001 register.

Autodesk PLM 360 out of the box Quality Apps

Step 4: Tracking the non conforming items 

Next we configured to NCR apps and added the users to the approval groups. Non-conformance can be found in a product, a process, from a supplier, or in the system itself. It occurs when something does not meet the specifications or requirements in some way. Those requirements might be defined by the customer, a regulatory body, or in the internal procedures of the company. This is particularly important in the aviation industry so it's important to get these processes going from the start.

Autodesk PLM 360 NCR apps

Step 5: Corrective and preventive action 

Lastly we added the users to the CAPA approval groups (CAPA, also called corrective action / preventive action, or simply corrective action) are improvements to processes taken to eliminate causes of non-conformities.

Autodesk PLM 360 CAPA apps

Managing the Items and BOM's and capturing changes with the change management apps supported up by the quality apps for NCR and CAPA, this will allow Security Seal Technology to have full traceability over their product design process. They now have a solid platform for the upcoming audits, without the need for lots of paperwork they can simply show Autodesk PLM 360 as their method for quality control.

Tablets on each cell will have Autodesk PLM 360 running on the browsers, so that each assembly line has access to the current and up to date products

Chrys Chrysostomou, director of design and manufacturing at Security Seal Technology Ltd said: 

I've been in the design and manufacturing sector my whole career, and I'm so impressed that finally there is a PLM solution that understands the customer's pain points. Autodesk PLM 360 is helping us innovate more efficiently, while not having to worry about the issues associated with heavy IT infrastructure. Being cloud based is what makes this the perfect solution for us. Autodesk PLM 360 is enabling us to get up and running is virtually no time, with no servers to worry about, no customisation just configuration to match our current business processes...it's perfect ! ”

I'll be back visiting the guys in the next few months and I'll update you on the progress. I'm really excited to be working with such an Innovative, and environmentally-led product and company. 

Thanks for Reading...find out more about Autodesk PLM 360


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Autodesk Homestyler it's so easy your kids will show you how !

Last year I visited my daughter's secondary school to give a talk to some of the upper 6 classes about Autodesk, what we do, and how we can help any future designers to realise their Innovations through our software and tools.

One of the tools I showed was Autodesk Homestyler  a really cool app that allows you to express your creativity, find inspiration, and make smarter home design choices. Now I must admit I'm not an expert ! I showed a quick demo and then went onto to show Autodesk PLM 360, Fusion 360  and a few more..

Towards the end of 2015 My daughter got her first iPhone and she asked me to put some of the Autodesk apps on it. As an experiment I thought she could help me to layout our new kitchen design

So I left her a few days thinking that she should get bored! If you have kids you know how quickly they go through apps/games and want a new one to play with !

But to my surprise, the app had gone viral at her school and all her friends were using it (not in class time you understand!)

"Dad this is easy look what we have done..!"

"WOW ! impressive (abit to much pink form me !) must be easy to use, can you do our Kitchen..."

Below is what she came up within the first couple of hours !

Ok so we did not go for the black units ! 

The rest of the layout looked great, you can see the finished kitchen below.

Go check out this amazing tool, it's available online, AppStore or Google Play If you get stuck ask your kids !!

Thanks for reading...


Monday, 22 June 2015

QFC - An Autodesk PLM 360 Customer Story

Last month we visited QFC for a 2 day customer video shoot to capture their Autodesk PLM 360 story so far. We shot on site, in the offices, on the factory floor and even took the sofa's outside to Belton House !! So much fun with the QFC team.

Setting up in the QFC Showroom for the interviews

On the QFC factory floor
Shooting some outside footage !

Ok abit of posing by me, did you expect any less !!
Belton House a beautiful place

A focus on business process excellence has helped QFC to establish a reputation for product design, excellent service and great product quality. This ensured that QFC continued to grow through what has been the deepest recession in living memory. Of course no business stands still, and right now QFC’s energy is focussed on pushing the boundaries to produce a pipeline of great new products to keep customers excited and this is where Autodesk PLM 360 comes in. 

Thanks for viewing...Mike

Friday, 5 June 2015

Autodesk Sketchbook & Tattoo Artists a match made in heaven !

I thought I'd switch gear this week and talk about another Autodesk product, namely Autodesk SketchBook®. This is the ultimate in painting and drawing software. It helps digital artists and illustrators design with professional-grade perspective tools and intuitive user interface. You can sketch, draw, and paint on any platform it's badass ! This blog post happened by pure chance, let me explain...

For those of you that know me well, when I'm not on the road working with our Autodesk PLM 360 customers I like to go and inflict pain on myself in the form of tattooing !. I think I've made quite a good job of it so far !

Last weekend I took a trip to the coast to see a good friend of my Zak Chai, who is the owner of High Tide Tattoo in Whitstable for a day of pleasure (in my mind anyhow!).

When I arrive the kettle goes on and we sit down to discuss what he's going to do on me, chewing the fat as you do. He then reaches over to the desk and picks up his iPad and goes 'So I've done some sketches on this really cool app' !

You can imaging my surprise when he shows me a copy of Autodesk SketchBook® ! 

It turns out that Zak is using this app for all of his clients work. He loves the fact that it saves on paper and sketching time and it's so easy to add layers and remove lines. Being digital it's backed up in the cloud, so he's not hunting through masses of paper trying to find that sketch, for the client who's in the waiting room !

From this he is able to print the line drawing ready to make the stencil that he applies to the skin. (Yes my leg does look good!)

Then he can make any amendments to fit the shape of the body and begin the tattoo, using Autodesk SketchBook®  as the reference to see what the finished tattoo will look like.

The finished Tattoo below !.

This got me thinking so I gave another tattoo friend of mine a call Jason Butcher and asked the same question 'Do you use Sketchbook ?' of which he emailed me this 10 minute lunchtime doodle !! (yes 10 minutes). Amazing !

I really love the fact that Autodesk products are everywhere and that they are being used to help every type of designer from Manufacturing to Architects, Graphic Designers and even Tattoo Artists. 

Thanks for reading.....Mike

Friday, 1 May 2015

Autodesk PLM 360 helping QFC to work smart and produce more

Mike: Morning guys, great to meet you again I'm excited to see how you guys shift 6000 sofas a week ! So tell me about QFC, what are the roots of the company, and what is your secret to success?

QFC: Hi Mike, we were founded in 1993 and have reinvented ourselves several times since then to deal with changing market conditions, most notably 10 years ago when we became the first upholstery manufacturer to offer 7 day lead times. This enabled us to continue to grow our business at a time when the UK upholstery industry was shrinking in the face of fierce competition from China and Eastern Europe. A focus on business process excellence has helped us to establish a reputation for really excellent service and great product quality and this ensured that we continued to grow through what has been the deepest recession in living memory. Of course no business stands still and right now our energy is being directed to ensuring that we focus even more on producing a relentless stream of great new products to keep our customers excited and this is where PLM360 comes in. Our intention is that we will be able to get our ideas to market more quickly, more accurately and more cheaply than ever before and the signs from early prototyping and testing are looking promising.

Mike: So that’s how it done, sounds easy ! Can you tell me about how your products are designed and how you manufacture the sofas and chairs?

QFC: Product design is all done by our awesome in house design team, they work closely with our customers, our design philosophy is all about being product leaders, using great fabrics on great shapes. We manufacture and assemble all of our sofas in-house. Below are the basic steps we follow, I'll focus on the manufacturing process after the NPD has been completed !

Step 1  - Design team creating ideas

Step 2 - Fabrics selected

Step 3 - Product modelled in DC3D

Step 4 - Fabric cut by CAD/CAM and then sewn by skilled seamstresses

Step 5 - Timber kit cut by automated machines as well as bandsaws / crosscuts.

Step 6 - The frames are then assembled by hand in cells

Step 7 - Product upholstered using all materials supplied

Step 8 - Packaged ready for dispatch

Mike: wow..I love the all hands approach, it's amazing to see how quickly your products are manufactured. So how did you find out about Autodesk and Autodesk PLM 360 ?

QFC: We spent a lot of time researching for the right solution for our needs. We have a course of process excellence in QFC, in this journey we recognised that we needed a better solution for NPD activities within the business. We looked at several PLM solutions but none quite fit the bill for our requirements like Autodesk did.

David Bramwell and Paul Middleton smiling about the prospect of the paperless NPD process !

Mike: This is what we are seeing, a big shift in customers focusing outside the CAD department and starting in other areas like NPD. Can you tell me little about how you plan implemented Autodesk PLM 360? 

QFC: We are starting with out NPI process as we really needed a stage gate process in place to track and manage all of our new sofa designs. We will be also managing the BOM and change process in PLM 360 followed by the quality management and all of this will be integrated into our ERP system.
Mike: Excellent, so how’s it going, how quickly are you getting up to speed with Autodesk PLM 360 ?

QFC: The project has progressed really well, we set out a project plan from the start and the ease of use and simplification of the software has enabled us to accelerate and exceed all of our project milestones. We have begun and focused more on building the process within PLM to match our processes within the business, whilst configuring the software we are able to use the features and tools in PLM to find ways of streamlining or automating many functions that are very manual and time consuming today.

The core team building our processes into Autodesk PLM 360

Mike: Excellent this is what I love to hear, what’s your overall impression of Autodesk PLM 360? 

QFC: The software has been a breeze to use, right from our implementation training we were able to get to building right away. We have spent the last 12 weeks working a couple of days a week and even after the first 5 days we are already at the point of going live with certain workspaces and workflows.

Mike: Thanks, really looking forward to working with you over the next few months and a special thanks to the people below and their extended teams for the vision and skills to make this happen at QFC

David Bramwell – Managing Director

Paul Middleton – Operations Director
.James Truswell – Development Manager