The company currently has approximately 140 employees engaged in developing, manufacturing and marketing products to hospitals worldwide. The products include virtually anything used within the hospital’s four walls. This applies to furniture such as beds, operating tables, equipment for maternity wards, lighting and other furnishings. 90 percent of the products are made of steel, supplemented by products manufactured of plastic and aluminium.
The 15 employees of the company’s development department are both developing the new products and managing existing ones. Merivaara has 10 SolidWorks and 10 PDM licenses. Drawings and models from the CAD system are both used in the development, production and sales. The PDM system makes it possible to manage and control the information such as 3D models and drawings. Official documentation like design history files and risk management files are generated and kept updated within the PDM system. Both systems have provided significant benefits, says Pasi Kankaanpää:
«SolidWorks has speed up our development process significantly. Previously we produced many iterations of prototypes of our products for example to ensure that the parts were not colliding with each other. With 3D modelling we have reduced the number of prototypes because the CAD system automatically checks for collisions.” Kankaanpää addes: «We also recently began to use the animation tools in SolidWorks Simulation Motion to simulate the behaviour of moving parts and we hope that this will speed up the development process further.»
Pasi Kankaanpää emphasizes that SolidWorks plays a prominent role in Merivaaras development plans: «Until now we have primarily used the CAD system for mechanical design, but we are beginning to also do surface modelling, visualization and simulation with FEA calculations of strength, in-house. These tasks were previously outsourced to subcontractors.»
The same applies to the development of plastic parts, especially plastic covers for the hospital beds, which up to now have been developed and produced externally. Kankaanpää explains:
«Our overall goal is to design more and more ourselves, and with SolidWorks, we have been able to pull back a number of tasks which were previously placed with subcontractors to do them in house.»