In the spring of 2012, engineer and entrepreneur David Janelle saw the future.
Working on his own, with a couple of contracted engineers, David invested in three licenses of SOLIDWORKS. It was an ambitious move – he didn’t even have enough 3D design work to make use of the software full time.
Three years later, David’s business has moved from his basement into its own office space, with six engineers on staff and a total of nine employees. He reports that he and his team have “attacked” 3D, aided by the power of SOLIDWORKS and a partnership with Canadian 3D professionals Javelin Technologies.
David is President of Spartan CAD & Profiles Inc., based in Mississauga, Ontario. He founded the business in 2007, primarily to provide computer aided design (CAD), technical drafting services, and CNC programming to the manufacturing sector. Its designers are skilled in sheet metal, weldments, tool design, and automation equipment. Spartan CAD has worked with dozens of companies in the steel industry and its traditional customers have included processors and fabricators of steel parts, as well as machine shops.
Clear, meaningful benefits inside and out
David says the muscle of SOLIDWORKS was clear early on and allowed him to realize concrete benefits right away – benefits that he could pass along to approving customers. Using the sheet metal module, a part that once took six hours to lay out using 2D CAD tools could be done with ease in less than an hour. Recalling another example, David points to a difficult challenge he once faced when using 2D drawings for a structural frame of tubing.
“When you’re missing that third dimension, it’s not easy to produce a cutting list for the shop. You’re not sure how the joints look. Now, using SOLIDWORKS weldments, we do the same project in a fraction of the time, generating a cutting list that tells the shop exactly how to cut the ends. That is worth a lot to anyone who processes steel or fabricates from steel. They buy only the material they need and reduce waste.”
Not limited to one thing
Since the early days, when Spartan CAD focused on 2D layouts, David has been able to slide comfortably into the 3D designer’s chair. He once worked primarily with someone else’s designs; today his engineers are using 3D to accelerate their own creativity, enter new markets, and expand the business.
“I believe you have to invest in strategic tools and make sure you get maximum benefit out of them,” David says. “Having SOLIDWORKS has opened up growth avenues for us. That’s the beauty of CAD – it’s not limited to just one thing. It’s important to take on new challenges.”
This sentiment is the basis of a diversification strategy that forms the core of David’s plan for the future. His goal? To continue to appeal to different kinds of customers.
“We’re using the same 3D design tools and skills but getting into new areas,” David says. “Our roots are in the steel industry, but with some of our customers in oil and gas in Alberta slowing down, we’re moving down new avenues.”
One of those new avenues has taken Spartan CAD into kitchen cabinet design, as well as outdoor furniture and central vacuum system parts. They have also designed a die and punching machine for the bumper of the Ford Shelby.
Accurate, detailed views from any angle
Consumer products and end use parts are recent and exciting additions to Spartan CAD’s growing resume. As they mature and branch out as a company, they continue to operate confidently in factory settings. They have developed a solid reputation in pressure vessel design, also aided by efficiencies created by using SOLIDWORKS.
“Creating pressure vessel drawings in a 2D environment can be very laborious and difficult, especially when creating isometric views of vessel attachments in different orientations,” David says. “Using SOLIDWORKS makes it very simple to create accurate, detailed views from any angle, saving our drafters many hours of work. And our customers can easily visualize the design before a single part is purchased.”
Spartan CAD is living up to a higher standard
David’s first investment in SOLIDWORKS was facilitated by the capable people at Javelin Technologies. Over the years, David has turned to Javelin for support.
“Javelin obviously makes serious efforts in customer service. They are always connecting, letting us know about events and training opportunities. Honestly, I’m sure I haven’t taken advantage of everything Javelin offers and I’m actively pursuing that going forward. We have a strong relationship already. I’m sure it can be even stronger.”
David also says that being a CAD company means they have to live up to a higher standard, and that Javelin plays a role there, too.
“Our customer expects us to be proficient and efficient. There are lots of people out there with basic skills. We have to exceed that and have more in-depth knowledge. You can go on your own, but it’s easy to pick up and keep bad habits that way. It’s a powerful software with amazing capabilities, so to get the full benefit, it’s far better to learn from experts. If we can all share the most efficient ways of doing things, and improve as individuals, we’re all stronger. Javelin has the kind of credibility that builds confidence. We know we have a solid company on our side.”