in-tech GmbH develops innovative electronic systems that support automation and connectivity for the automotive, industrial, and transportation sectors. The company employs around 1,500 engineers, software developers, and technicians in eight countries.
The company’s products include electronic systems that make testing of automotive systems more efficient, accurate, and reliable. Its orangeSwitch, for example, enables automated switching between tests of electronic control units (ECUs).
“We’ve been able provide our customers with a higher-quality product while simultaneously growing sales and profit margins—a win for us and a win for our customers.”
-Julian Renz, Lead Engineer
This functionality facilitates switching between tests from one real-time virtual simulation of an ECU-controlled system to another without manual intervention, which allows for testing during off-hours while supporting all common testing-automation frameworks.
Because the original orangeSwitch was developed as a custom product for each customer’s particular need, its production became inefficient. The original version included a plastic enclosure and a breadboard that had to be prototyped. Also, each unit had to be soldered and wired by hand. This tedious manual assembly process was prone to error, and difficult to troubleshoot and repair.
To save time and money, enhance quality and appearance, and increase customer satisfaction, Lead Engineer Julian Renz explains, “we decided to completely redesign the orangeSwitch as a standard product with a modular design requiring little customization, for which we needed better-integrated, automated design tools.”
After in-tech obtained SOLIDWORKS® 3D mechanical design software, the orangeSwitch redesign team added SOLIDWORKS Electrical design software, and later SOLIDWORKS PCB electronic design software to create the electrical systems, schematics, and printed circuit board (PCB) required for the redesign. “They [the software] are easy to use, integrated with SOLIDWORKS mechanical design, and provide the capabilities that we needed,” says Renz.
Integrating Electromechanical modular design
Because SOLIDWORKS mechanical, electrical, and electronic design tools are integrated, in-tech completed the design without a prototype, and with only one revision. The product circuit board was created with SOLIDWORKS PCB, the electrical schematics and cable harnessing with SOLIDWORKS Electrical, and the mechanical housing with SOLIDWORKS CAD.
“In particular, we valued the comprehensive design rules and online design routing check (DRC)in SOLIDWORKS PCB and the simplified yet informative schematics diagrams created in SOLIDWORKS Electrical software,” Renz recounts. Now only configuration of the cable harness is necessary for customer-specific customization.
Reduce delivery lead times and increase profit margins
Minimal customization on each orangeSwitch enabled in-tech to achieve its primary goal of reducing delivery time. Before the redesign, it took six to eight weeks to deliver each customized switch. Now in-tech can deliver a switch in two weeks.
The orangeSwitch redesign and subsequent market launch created a better product, increased sales, and improved profit margins. “Using SOLIDWORKS electromechanical solutions to redesign the orangeSwitch improved the overall look and performance of the product, which helps us make a more professional impression,” explains Renz.
Renz concludes, “We’ve been able provide our customers with a higher-quality product while simultaneously growing sales and profit margins—a win for us and a win for our customers.”
Learn how you can reduce delivery times and increase your profit margins by implementing SOLIDWORKS electromechanical solutions by reading the full case study here.