Curious about how to make the mass of your DWG data work for you? Check out the customer story from Toshiba Elevator below.
How Toshiba Elevator optimized their processes with Forge
Founded in Japan in 1967, Toshiba Elevator designs, develops, manufactures, installs, and maintains elevators, escalators, and moving walkways. The company has a vast client base that extends throughout Asia—supplying people movers to health care facilities, hotels, public transport stations, and residential and commercial buildings of all heights. The firm’s elevators in the Taiwanese 508-meter Taipei 101 building move at speeds of up to 1,010 meters per minute, the third-fastest elevators in the world. To strengthen and develop its cyber-physical systems (CPS)—and find the ideal solution for optimized manufacturing—Toshiba Elevator relies on the Forge platform.
Japan has long been a major player in all things technology, but the digitization of its manufacturing industry is generally considered to be insufficient, posing a major challenge. As Toshiba Elevator’s products are by nature unfinished when shipped to structures in the field, it’s vital to digitize and constantly monitor the ongoing state of the job site to ensure optimal construction and installation of systems that transport thousands of people daily. To achieve the necessary degree of context, Toshiba team members had to physically travel to job sites that were often based in other countries. This led to inefficient workflows, costly (and risky) travel, and suboptimal data flows.
In a push to improve digitization, Toshiba is developing cyber-physical systems (CPS), achieving digitization and re-creation of physical job sites in virtual environments, and interconnecting elevators’ lifecycles and recurring business models with masses of digitally obtained information. This empowers the company to optimize installation, maintenance, and operations while reducing team members’ travel.
However, while Toshiba was improving the internal workflows, the systems were missing the ability to coordinate efficiently with customers. The Forge platform and its powerful APIs were the key to resolving this challenge.
How Toshiba Elevator solved their challenge with Forge
Like other elevator manufacturers, Toshiba Elevator’s systems and workflows had been designed and built for internal use, with the focus remaining solely on the elevators. But elevator designs must be coordinated with the building data that houses them, and Toshiba’s internal systems didn’t take into account workflow between these systems’ siloed data.
This lack of efficient external-facing systems meant the company seldom collaborated with customers online. Communication was fragmented through email and phone calls, which can cause delays and misunderstandings. Team members had to travel to job sites and physically hand drawings over to customers, who would finally gain an understanding of the envisioned end product and take the drawings to partners for further review. Once again, Toshiba saw that this unnecessary travel could be reduced and the workflow needed to be streamlined.
Building on the concept of centrally managing data for internal use, Toshiba employs the Forge platform to share and synchronize design information with customers over the internet. The company stores all project data in Forge and synchronizes data between a sales configurator, used to define specifications, and the design systems that house the CAD tools (Revit, AutoCAD, and Inventor). The various systems, departments, and customers are all connected through Forge.
Toshiba uses the Forge Design Automation API to automate the creation of 3D models from the specifications laid out in the configurator. This enables the firm to batch process the creation step in the background, saving significant time. Plus, any changes to the specifications are automatically reflected in the design models and drawings in Revit building design software by way of Forge. The Forge Viewer is used to visualize design details and RaaS for a high-quality render.
Customers can access data online and make requests that can be implemented immediately in Toshiba’s internal workflow with the results of the request being returned seamlessly. This online digital environment not only enables clear, real-time collaboration and reduces team member travel, it also creates a new value for the firm: on-demand customization.
Toshiba’s next step is to link the accumulated design data to the firm’s currently fragmented manufacturing workflow. The firm believes that centrally and digitally managing data according to a building’s lifecycle—data that extends from inquiry to sales, design, manufacture, and maintenance—expands data’s effectiveness and improves efficiency.
The Forge Design Automation API for AutoCAD
Imagine you have thousands of DWG files stored in the cloud, and you need them all converted to PDF files. Ordinarily, you would have to download all the files, run a script on them in the AutoCAD desktop software, and then upload them all back to the cloud. Your efficiency would be affected by the processing power of your computer and your network bandwidth, and you would have to instrument logging and retry logic in your code to ensure that the entire job completed. Usually this creates a bottleneck.
Using Design Automation API for AutoCAD, you can offload all that processing to the Forge Platform, which can process those scripts at a much greater scale and efficiency. Current functionalities for DWG files include:
- creating new DWG files
- querying for information in existing DWG files
- purging drawings and saving them to other DWF file formats
- plotting DWG files to DWF and PDF
- translating text from one language to another
- The Design Automation API for AutoCAD does not provide access to commands or APIs of AutoCAD verticals (toolsets and products built on top of AutoCAD).
- The Design Automation API for AutoCAD supports vertical Object Enablers.
Interested in processing your design files with the Forge platform? Sign up for a free trial here.
Have you worked with the Forge Design Automation API for AutoCAD? We'd love to hear from you - submit your work to the solution showcase for a chance to be featured on the Forge website!