Ergo Robotic Solutions Streamlines Design with In-house CAD


In the summer of 2018, the leadership of Ergo Robotic Solutions, ergorobotic.com, decided to implement computer-aided design and drafting software, or CAD, into its in-house design process. According to Ryan Nudi, director of business operations, the change was motivated by a desire to increase the company’s competitiveness in the current market. “We decided if we wanted to grow, it was one of the best investments we could make—for our customers and our own processes,” he says. “It allowed us to do stuff that other, bigger companies could already do.”

According to Nudi, the decision to implement CAD revolutionized how the company creates its glass installation equipment. Here are some of the advantages he shared: 

Efficiency

Nudi says that using CAD to design streamlined the company’s engineering processes, largely by taking the guesswork out of design. Before implementing the software, the company’s procedure was to build the machine, make adjustments, then reverse-engineer the design specifications so that the shop’s fabricators could duplicate the machine. “Now we can skip those iterations, and move straight to building it,” says Nudi. CAD software allows staff to predict exactly how the complex machine’s many parts will move and react, he says, and to make adjustments before the machine is ever built.

Cost savings

More efficient processes led to cost savings for the company, says Nudi. Moving more quickly through the design process allowed Ergo to save time and money, including on labor costs, he says. As mentioned above, before using CAD, the company would have to reverse-engineer design specifications from a machine prototype, a process which involved more staff and cost, he says. “Every time we had to engineer a duplicate machine, it was expensive,” he explains. The company’s new CAD process does not require a staff member to manually create design specs from a prototype. It helps eliminate potentially costly human errors in measurement and transcription.

Innovation

Implementing software also made it easier for Ergo to explore new component options, Nudi says, especially because it made it easier to collaborate with outside vendors. For example, Ergo engineers were able to tweak the shape of the equipment’s metal pieces, a change which is impractical for in-house staff to do by hand, says Nudi. As part of their new process, staff sent CAD designs directly to metal vendors, who could in turn feed the specifications directly into their automated manufacturing facility. 

In addition, the streamlined process allowed engineers to make even minor changes to machines, without having to essentially start over. “In the past, even if a machine was 90 percent the same as a previous model, it was almost like starting from scratch” due to the build-iterate design model, says Nudi. “Using CAD makes custom work even more attainable,” he says. “It’s a better process and a better product.”

Companies from all parts of the glass and glazing industry have implemented innovative, out-of-the-box ideas to improve business from the ground up. Here’s an Idea showcases these sometimes small behind-the-scenes ideas that can make a big impact on a company’s bottom line. If you have an idea that you would like to share, contact Norah Dick, ndick@glass.org.