BUSINESS: Company's heavy investment makes designing playground equipment child's play.
DESIGN is just child s play for a Fenland company which is reaping the rewards for investing heavily in latest technology. Fenland Leisure is a leader in the development and manufacture of children s playground equipment. The key to its success has been i
DESIGN is just child's play for a Fenland company which is reaping the rewards for investing heavily in latest technology.
Fenland Leisure is a leader in the development and manufacture of children's playground equipment. The key to its success has been its willingness to adopt new technologies such as SolidWorks, a 3D engineering design software from Cambridge company Innova Systems.
The company is on target for a 45 per cent growth during 2008 with an annual turnover of £1.75 million. It was started by former draughtsman Andrew Sparrow in 1992 after he had been made redundant.
Andrew said: "For us, Solidworks was a brave investment. At that time we had been designing our product in the traditional 2D flat format and we were not really sure of the real benefit of moving to a 3D solution.
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"Today we can see that SolidWorks has brought about a number of very important changes to the company and has made a significant contribution to the company's overall performance. I would go so far as to say that our decision to buy into this new technology has accelerated our business."
A major benefit of the technology is that it enables engineers to assemble products, or even an entire playground, in virtual reality on the computer.
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Fenland engineers are then able to use these 3D computer models to communicate design issues with their customers.
Many of the customers are non-technical people such as schools, PTAs, parish councils and buyers.
Andrew said: "Having a 3D picture of a product or a component has been a great aid to communication throughout the business.
"Even in our factory, it now means that non-technical staff can more easily check design and quality issues. Being able to assemble equipment as a virtual model means that we can check our designs before travelling to a site.
"In the past we've arrived on site to assemble complex equipment for the first time only to find that aspects of the design did not work as in tended. This was both costly and time consuming.