Norgaard Designs, based in Denmark, is a home and office product design firm. The company supplies leaders in this market with furniture and lighting designs across a wide range of products including chairs, sofas, beds, bathroom accessories, table lamps and more.
At Norgaard, the furniture design process is extensive and highly collaborative. Each product begins with an initial design meeting to determine the look, feel and purpose of a specific product. Once a direction for these elements is established, designers create sketches that visually represent the product.
Traditionally, these drawings were used to create small, handmade three-dimensional models to give customers a scaled-down example of the final product. However, the handmade models had limitations. Producing models proved to be too time consuming, as the project often required many revisions (sometimes up to five redesigned models) throughout the design process.
"It was very difficult for our customers to visualize the products with drawings, and although the handmade models communicated designs more effectively, they took too long to produce," said Anders Norgaard, owner of Norgaard Designs. "Many times we were forced to go with sketches to save time and money, but it was difficult for our customers to see exactly what we were showing them."
The Dimension Solution
Norgaard Designs sought a more efficient, cost-effective alternative to demonstrate their distinctive designs. After researching a variety of different options, Norgaard purchased a Dimension 3D printer to simplify its design process and enhance sales efforts.
Designed to provide users a fast, office-friendly, low-cost alternative for building functional 3D models, Dimension 3D printers build accurate models layer by layer using durable ABS plastic. These 3D models then allow users to evaluate design concepts and accurately test form, fit and function.
"The Dimension 3D printer is the best investment I have ever made in my studio," Norgaard said. "We save time, arrive at the final product stages much faster and it is much easier to explain the product to our clients. Our customers now have the ability to more accurately see how the product will appear in real life."
Norgaard Designs noticed improvements immediately. Within the first year of implementation, the company experienced a 20 percent timesaving in the design cycle and a 25 percent increase in the number of products going to market.
"The detail and precision of the 3D models have reduced the need to create multiple prototypes in the design process. This brings many of our products to market faster," Norgaard said. "We now only make one to two models per design cycle, a dramatic improvement from the four to five made prior to implementing the Dimension 3D printer."
With many products, Norgaard customers are actively involved in the design process and pay to see the product from beginning to end. Reducing the number of models needed in a design cycle also benefits Norgaard customers by reducing the overall cost incurred. "Anytime we can eliminate the number of models produced during a particular design process it saves our customers money," Norgaard said.
Norgaard's customers have also been able to use the Dimension 3D models to create molds for manufacturing purposes. In the past, customers waited until Norgaard constructed a wooden model upon design completion to create molds for mass product distribution. The durable, plastic models the Dimension 3D printer creates can be made instantaneously, fast-tracking the manufacturing process.
In addition to the time and money saved, designers have raised the difficulty level of particular projects. Three-dimensional models enable designers to make more complex constructions by visualizing how the product works in 3D.
"We continue to find new uses for our 3D printer everyday," Norgaard said. "I can't imagine how our business functioned without it in previous years."