You Can’t Touch This…LID Dispenser

It’s human nature: The status quo rules, and what exists outside the status quo is seen as questionable, at best, and crazy, at worst. Back in the day, many people, including those in Parliament, derided Edison’s light bulb as a fairy tale or a sham not even worth consideration.

What?! What?!

The automobile, airplanes, personal computers, and many other inventions now part of daily life were also criticized because of the tyranny of the status quo. This type of criticism still happens today.

Fixing Problems That Don’t Exist

The Center for Advanced Design is a product development firm with a long history of designing innovative products with SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD software. Before the pandemic the company developed a device that dispenses a single sanitary beverage lid at the wave of a hand.

A lead designer at the Center for Advanced Design sketched out several ideas that eventually became the LID Boss automatic lid dispenser. The idea sounded simple enough: A shuttle grabs a lid from the bottom of a stack and brings it to a ramp. However, it is actually very difficult to create a mechanical product that can grab a single lid from an entire stack of lids for touch-free dispensing.

After the design team perfected the LID Boss after several iterations, many thought the invention solved a problem that didn’t exist, until COVID-19 arrived on the scene one week after the product released to market. Very quickly there was global demand for the product. Packaging issues, production capacity, and order fulfillment were just a few of the challenges that flooded the newly formed company.

Touch-free Design and Collaboration

Uncertainties at the beginning of the pandemic panicked companies as they rushed to figure out how they could continue operations remotely. The LID Boss team had many “good” problems to solve but solving them during the onslaught of the pandemic, along with the associated fears and unknowns, intensified every product development challenge. They needed fast access to a multitude of software tools.

Being longtime SOLIDWORKS users, they already used the 3DEXPERIENCE Works cloud-based platform seamlessly with SOLIDWORKS data. Now it was time to make 3DEXPERIENCE Works the backbone of the project.

Without the hassles of hiring an entire IT staff or adding more servers, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform enabled a product development environment for efficiently working with people inside and outside the company, including colleagues, customers, suppliers, and manufacturers. Based on permissions issued from a secure server, internal and external team members from any location with an internet connection could access live product content via collaborative apps from a single framework. New users only needed a secure link sent via email to engage in the LID Boss project immediately.

Automated Product Data Management

The issue of a team working remotely was solved in record time with 3DEXPERIENCE Works. However, the LID Boss team also had to manage the influx of files. Duplicate files, often saved in multiple locations, are often a challenge for product development companies. Other problems include released files being reworked without permission and changes made in one location not being updated in all locations. What’s more, file naming conventions are often obscure and confusing to everyone in the value chain.

Thankfully, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform provides built-in data management and several apps that help teams methodically and efficiently manage product life cycles from prototype to production. The platform also dramatically simplifies the process of defining and conducting project tasks.

With all the LID Boss data in the same place, everyone was up to date with access to a single source of truth. And because the data is live, there is no risk of being out of sync on model revisions or assembly configurations.

Product Development in Action

The LID Boss story is still taking shape. Check out the video series illustrating the Center for Advanced Design’s LID Boss workflow story to learn more about the power of the 3DEXPERIENCE Works platform and how it contributed to the LID Boss team’s success.

If you want to learn more about what SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE Works product development solutions can do for your company, contact your local reseller.


Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. offers complete 3D software tools that let you create, simulate, publish, and manage your data. SolidWorks products are easy to learn and use, and work together to help you design products better, faster, and more cost-effectively. The SolidWorks focus on ease-of-use allows more engineers, designers and other technology professionals than ever before to take advantage of 3D in bringing their designs to life.