Global success thanks to Internet-based CAD library
It would hardly cross the mind of anyone driving a car how dangerous it would be if they suddenly weren’t able to control their vehicle any more using the steering wheel. The steering system is one component in an automobile that must operate safely and reliably.
A steering system’s safety is mainly determined by the bearings it contains. One leading manufacturer of these bearings is INA-Schaeffler KG, headquartered at Herzogenaurach, in the Central Franconia region of southern Germany. This conglomerate develops, manufactures and sells at around 40 sites across all the world’s main industrial countries rolling and plain bearings, linear guidance systems and components for motor, transmission and chassis applications.
We weren’t just going to rely on potential customers stumbling across INA by chance on the Internet. But the chances are good of someone accessing INA’s website via the TraceParts CAD content platform; so, we’ve found the ideal marketing multiplier in TraceParts.Norbert Winkler, Vice President Supply Chain Management Industrial Aftermarket Schaeffler KG
Time-consuming in-house data maintenance and 3D model programming
To be able to offer customers this service, INA already converted its 2D component drawings to electronic format a few years ago, and made them available on the Internet.
Going via the product selection and information system known as medias, customers were able to select the components they needed, produce calculations for their product and download the relevant drawing.
But over time, there were increasingly more frequent demands for 3D CAD data, which led to INA programming 3D models too and supplying them for download on its website. There was a huge response to this, with between 6,000 and 7,000 requests every day.
But the process of maintaining and converting data was very time-consuming, so we decided to outsource this task to a specialist.
The idea was to supply all design-relevant information on a portal where several manufacturers were represented. This type of portal then allows customers to find the data they want easily, without any problem, without them having to go through countless CDs containing electronic product catalogs from the individual manufacturers.explains Norbert Winkler
As part of an extensive evaluation process, INA analyzed various offerings and carried out several benchmark tests. The solution from the supplier they initially decided on was not however very convincing in practice.
There were significant errors in some areas, not to mention the service not being satisfactory.recalls Winkler
In their quest for a competent new partner, INA then came across TraceParts, based in Amberg, German, offering with its TraceParts EasyLink® content syndication solutions an easy-to-use solution for creating and publishing CAD data.
Thanks to TraceParts, we were able to achieve our aim of offering a global service for our products. We weren’t just going to rely on potential customers stumbling across INA by chance on the Internet. But the chances are good of someone accessing INA’s website via the TraceParts CAD content platform; so, we’ve found the ideal marketing multiplier in TraceParts.Norbert Winkler, Vice President Supply Chain Management Industrial Aftermarket Schaeffler KG
But the main focus at INA is not just on product sales. Customer service is also very important to the company as its components require a high degree of support in terms of information.
We want to be able to offer our customers every conceivable service for our components, allowing them to use them quickly and efficiently.
Designers nowadays basically produce their designs in electronic format. This means that the manufacturer of the machine components should provide the drawings so that the designer can import them directly into his CAD system, making it easy for him to process them further.”explains Norbert Winkler, Vice President Supply Chain Management Industrial Aftermarket Schaeffler KG
Global marketing and direct insert function – key decision criteria
INA had quite specific requirements of its new provider. As a globally operating company, global marketing had an especially important role.
The TraceParts portal is available in a total of 24 languages so that INA can market its catalogs in important markets like Japan, China and the US as well.
Another crucial factor in the decision was the direct2CAD direct insert function. This can be used to import component drawings directly into market-leading CAD systems such as Pro/ENGINEER, CATIA V5, SOLIDWORKS and AutoCAD, even without downloading them and storing them temporarily on hard disk.
Horst Dietmar Köhler continues:
With a lot of manufacturers, customers have to request drawings by e-mail, which, of course, takes considerable time.
The fact that TraceParts also provides its TraceParts catalogs on CD is also a major benefit in Winkler´s view, as INA does not market any CDs of its own.
We exactly wanted a partner that was not only quick and flexible, but offered additional services too, like a regularly updated CD. Another example of the great service provided is the integration of our lubricant database, which went smoothly thanks to TraceParts, Other crucial factors included not least TraceParts EasyLink® quick and easy use, its high level of reliability and global availability 24/7.
Another noteworthy feature of TraceParts is the integration of a module allowing customers to perform important calculations before placing an order. If a designer visits the INA website he can automatically access a bearing calculation application, create a direct link with the selected component and then evaluate different bearing solutions in a quick, uncomplicated manner.
We wanted to work with a provider that is represented globally and has an international cooperation partner. Global recognition of the TraceParts CAD content platform was a major factor in our decision to opt for TraceParts.Norbert Winkler, Vice President Supply Chain Management Industrial Aftermarket Schaeffler KG
About Schaeffler :
The Schaeffler Group is a global automotive and industrial supplier. By delivering high-precision components and systems in engine, transmission, and chassis applications, as well as rolling and plain bearing solutions for a large number of industrial applications, the Schaeffler Group is already shaping “Mobility for tomorrow” to a significant degree.
The technology company generated sales of approximately 14.2 billion Euros in 2018. With around 92,500 employees, Schaeffler is one of the world’s largest family companies and, with approximately 170 locations in over 50 countries, has a worldwide network of manufacturing locations, research and development facilities, and sales companies.
With more than 2,400 patent registrations in 2018, Schaeffler is Germany’s second most innovative company according to the DPMA (German Patent and Trademark Office).