Since March of 2015 we set about developing the business across a core range of different markets, different areas that we think we can supply and play to our better strengths. So we’ve invested money into the business through kit, machinery and the programming side of it, which is the SOLIDWORKS, which is great. Now we’ve put ourselves in among hotels, schools and retail. We go from the likes of Harrods, Selfridge’s. We work for Louis Vuitton, we do a lot of work for The Kooples and we’ve just done the work at the Arsenal Armoury Stadium, we fitted all that out. We’re currently just starting on the Finsbury park project for Arsenal Football Club, so that’s a big brand. We won just prior to Christmas an 18 bar fit out at the Olympic park stadium for west ham united, so that’s very strong, very good, and conceptually puts us in a really strong place.
So we have to be looking at what makes us different, what can I get the group to look at and go “this where we wanted to be”. And I think looking at the partnership with SOLIDWORKS, it’s one of the key areas we want to keep moving in the business. I think we are well aware we are only using SOLIDWORKS to a very small amount of what it’s capable of doing.
I went to Tee-Side University. We used SOLIDWORKS and we did a lot of analysis, surfacing at university. I think the way SOLIDWORKS is you can just pick stuff up, it is quite intuitive. If you know how to do something in surfacing then it’s quite similar in solid modelling. So while I was getting quite proficient in surfacing they said actually you are not going to be doing that here, you’re going to be doing solid modelling. It was something you could still jump into because it was the same sort of processes.
With the way the architects work and the way our clients work, they were able to give us file into the business. We were able to take them and quicken the process up. So what it’s done, it’s taken a couple of years, but we been built a library of development of core drawing which enable us to turn them around a lot quickly.
When we’re doing a run of things, say we’re making 20 of a unit and their all varying sizes. We can draw one up and just put an equation in and then everything will just update with it, and that can make it very quick.
We’ve started using cutting lists so we can give them straight to the CNC machinist so they don’t have to do that much. We’ve been saving things out as eDrawings as well and then the lads out there can actually have a look at it rather than running in and out here every five minutes. If it something they’re maybe not 100% clear they can take it apart in eDrawings and look at it. So that’s SOLIDWORKS working with eDrawings, that’s a really helpful feature actually.
One of the keys we sell and what really works for us is when we tell people we’re working in SOLIDWORKS and giving them a 3D image of what we can do. You know certainly some of the higher retailers look for a walk through passage, a walk through development. When you go into isometrics and 3D sides of things it enables them to see it before it’s actually made. What this has allowed us to do is to show that visual quite strongly and make sure they are getting what they want.
On a recent project we’ve done on the Olympic park stadium for west ham, the new west ham headquarters, we have a lot of bars which have padding on the front. So we’ve used Weldments quite a lot because it means we just draw a rectangle and the jobs done. It does all the cut lists for us; we don’t have to individually draw up every piece of welding on the bar.
I think SOLIDWORKS has played a major part in us being able to get there quicker. Because can offer a turn around. We’re looking at a project at the moment for RBS bank in Manchester and it’s a very short program for us so what SOLIDWORKS has enabled us to do from a programming point of view, which is very important, is to get it drawn and broken down and put into manufacture very, very quickly. You know in a short period of two or three days we’re turning round cash desks or buffet counters and it’s helped in that respect.
Cadtek’s very good, Cadtek have always been there. Our guys use the facility of phoning them and getting the back up and getting the information and feedback. Everything is very positive, very helpful.
I had to ring up Cadtek because it was a metal frame, bit of framework, trim and the way it mitred was quite difficult and I was trying to use intersections to do it and I couldn’t get it to work. So I rang up Cadtek to see if there was an alternative way and he suggested Weldments. He just talked us through how to create the Weldments, how to make it all work together and how to trim it, locate them and all that. All of those different things so that was quite helpful.
One of the thing we set aboard when we took over the business in March of last year was to get the drawing department together, the manufacturing together and make sure that SOLIDWORKS becomes the program we did all of our drawing in. Everything we work towards now is drawn in SOLIDWORKS because of the way it just works for us.
Form Group have a 25 year history of providing high quality design and manufacture, project management and installation services to the retail, hotel and leisure industries. Midlands based in a 30,000 sq ft factory, Form Group employ a highly skilled local workforce producing innovative new solutions for both British and International clients.