Collaborative software let Fisher Valve Div., Marshalltown, Iowa (fisher.com), share design ideas with manufacturing engineers in Asia and head off a potentially expensive design error. The U.S. design team had shaped a cover for a new control valve that had negative connotations in the Asian community. The redesign was a simple matter. The early correction saved the valve maker upwards of $40,000 and six weeks on its Fieldvue DVC2000 Digital Valve Controller.
Fisher worked with its engineers worldwide using OneSpace.net from CoCreate Software, Ft. Collins, Colo. (onespace.net). It's an engineering collaboration toolset for product-development teams. The software includes a secure project workspace, a center for Web-based meetings and application sharing, instant messaging, decision and task tracking, and a 3D model explorer for evaluating product designs.
"Early in the planning, our U.S., European, and Asian marketing teams pooled their ideas with designers," says senior engineering associate Randy Hall. "We pinpointed critical product features and the valve appearance appropriate for its intended markets."
The company held design, manufacturing, and marketing reviews online every week or two with Singapore and U.S. teams. "And as needed, we'd bring in marketing team members from the U. S., England, or Singapore, or from outside vendors in Asia," says Hall. "One supplier used home-grown software for testing. OneSpace.net's application-sharing tool rendered its graphics so accurately our engineers were able to view and approve the tests without traveling to the supplier facility." The software also assisted in gaining Intrinsically Safe certification for England and in the interpretation of several European specs.