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Designplan Lighting

Designplan saves time and increases rate of production with Solid Edge

Designplan makes both standard and customized lighting products, and it was the particular challenge of making customized products that led Designplan to review its use of technology in the development process.


Tony Croke, design team manager, explains: “Over the years, the company had acquired multiple CAD platforms, so when we had to quote for a new product we faced a whole series of questions: which existing model was closest to what was required, which package had it been designed in and who was most familiar with that software? Our vision was to consolidate on one package and improve our efficiency.”


A demonstration from Siemens PLM Software solution partner Prion Cutting Edge (PCE) convinced the Designplan team that Solid Edge software with synchronous technology was the way forward. “It was clear that if we created a master model for each product we could use synchronous technology to modify attributes such as height and length easily and quickly,” Croke says. Solid Edge was implemented early in 2016 and rolled out to nine design engineers who received tailored in-depth training from PCE and from Siemens.

Introducing user ease and speed

John Hough, bespoke design engineer, focuses on customized products. “I had worked for 25 years with CAD, but moving to Solid Edge opened my eyes to what is possible. I love synchronous. I find it very quick to manipulate an existing model in order to change a fitting, lengthen a luminaire, reposition a hole or amend a pitch. I am saving more than half the time I previously spent making changes at the part and assembly level.”


With Solid Edge, the Designplan team can easily access historical design data. “We can open up any file and work with it straight away,” Hough says. “Sheet metal is our bread and butter as it is used for all bodies and for some fittings. We have several fittings designed on a platform we used previously and when we bring these files into Solid Edge they are actually associative. We can even import drawings from a basic 2D package we use for the punch press.”

Streamlining the quote and design process

After six months, Designplan had created master models for three product sets and the team was reviewing customer requests and anticipating demand for different sizes. Deeprose notes the benefits of the new approach: “In particular, synchronous technology allows us to work organically. We can explore options because there is no sketch to build as in an ordered modeling environment. When we have a Solid Edge assembly we can do model explosions and gain visual help to cross-reference quickly against the master BOM (bill of materials).”

Fulfilling the vision

According to Croke, there has been a huge opportunity to freshen up the company’s top revenue-producing products. “We will have addressed 90 percent of our best sellers within one year,” he notes. “In addition, we have improved our products and reduced manufacturing errors. Production stoppages for bespoke products used to average between 10 and 18 per week. Since we began to use Solid Edge, they have dropped to just four.” The rollout of Solid Edge across the production facility also gives Designplan the opportunity to highlight established checklists that enable operators to provide feedback on procedures such as punching, folding, shaping, fitting and assembly.


There is also the option to use the simulation capability within Solid Edge to assess structural integrity. “We can cut further time in production if we identify any weak points through simulation,” explains Deeprose. “This is particularly important as we have to physically prove the strength of our anti-vandal fittings.”


“Every time we get a job, whether it is standard, bespoke or retrofit, Solid Edge helps us to save time,” concludes Hough. “We used to complete an average of five bespoke fittings per week. We are now averaging eight per week.”

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Designplan Lighting

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Designplan Lighting uses the following Siemens PLM products

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