3P innovation specialises in designing and producing precision-engineered machinery and equipment for pharma and medical technology customers. This industry-leading employee-owned business has established a uniquely diverse catalogue of innovative products over 15 years in operation, winning a coveted Queen’s Award for the last two years running and most recently, a Princess Royal Training Award in recognition of 3P innovation’s commitment to the professional development and training of young engineers.
Photo courtesy of 3P innovation.
The med-tech and pharmaceutical industries are highly competitive, with immense time pressure put on their supply chains to meet demanding deadlines – missing one can result in very costly consequences. However, there are huge rewards for the first company to bring a product to market. It is precisely this time pressure driven by large returns that creates a sector that succeeds on the back of product innovation. 3P innovation thrives in this space by delivering cutting edge manufacturing solutions for these innovative products as quickly as possible.
Prior to 3P innovation, its founders had seen the challenges that legacy CAD systems could bring to the design process, especially for custom machinery: time-consuming 2D CAD packages with limited features, avoidable design errors that inevitably caused delays in assembly and subsequent lost revenue, the inability to try out ideas and prototype rapidly, the challenge of change management, an inability to create 3D representations to aid either the sales process or with documentation – the list goes on.
3P innovation’s founders wanted to ensure that their design process, core to the whole business, would be as efficient as technically possible. They reviewed all the leading 3D CAD packages, such that the design workflow could be optimised around a central and essential 3D design tool.
Photo courtesy of 3P innovation.
3P innovation tackled these challenges head-on by embracing Autodesk’s Inventor 3D early on in the business. It was driven by highly talented graduates who were able to rapidly embrace the tool and become CAD experts that excelled at both, designing and thinking, in 3D. Starting with just one license of Inventor in 2006, 3P now has more than 50% of their 80 strong staff using Autodesk solutions on a daily basis to drive the business forward.
The company has found Autodesk Inventor 3D’s features to be intuitive for engineers, with their team utilising the Sketchpad feature for quick, accurate designs and the comprehensive 3D modelling tools to help visualise complex first-of-a-kind machines with thousands of parts.
Successfully integrated along the supply chain, the software provides the engineers with a single, centralised place for engineering data to be generated, reconfigured and re-used. This saves considerable time by allowing engineers to apply designs that have been used and manufactured before.
Not only has Inventor become the backbone of the engineering team, 3P innovation is using it in ways they didn’t initially imagine across different parts of the business, driving efficiencies, underpinning growth and providing a platform for the business to scale.
This high level of innovation has resulted in incredible business-wide benefits that have helped drive the company upwards. Designing in 3D over 2D has delivered engineering time back to the business. This not only maximises the time spent innovating on a wider range of SMART products and fostering strong relationships with customers, it also means more efficient internal processes.
Using Inventor’s direct integration with 3D printers, the team produce accurate, physical examples at speed – this all points towards increasing product development agility and crafting a better-finished product ready for manufacturing.
The quality, detail and reliability of designs have improved since using Inventor, meaning fewer iterations are required before sharing designs internally and with customers for review, thereby accelerating the approval process. With this greater oversight, 3P innovation now assembles parts in CAD prior to manufacturing, and provides accurate renders of machines that don’t yet exist.
These renders are so detailed and realistic that it has enabled 3P innovation to feature products in their state-of-the-art virtual showroom, enhancing the customer experience by providing the opportunity to experience 3P’s most powerful technologies in 3D.
This interactive space features award-winning technologies and new product launches, complete with a multitude of resources to explore including imagery, videos of the technologies in action, technical specifications for each of the machines and real-life case studies. The showroom also facilitates purchasing decisions and shortens the sales cycle as producing physical prototypes is sidestepped.
Photo courtesy of 3P innovation.
The nature of the pharmaceutical industry often results in pharmaceutical companies delaying the purchase of manufacturing equipment until after they’re certain their product will be a success. 3P innovation’s equipment is often in the critical path for a major medical device launch even before it is ordered. This makes 3P’s work extremely time sensitive and crucially, the faster 3P’s products can be delivered, the more revenue their customers can generate. The company has also seen regular 50% savings on the engineering cost of producing machinery when compared to using 2D solutions in the past.
Standardising on Autodesk has given the business the foundations it needs to respond quickly, scale intuitively and deliver market-leading products that demonstrate its innovative capabilities. Its sales, marketing and engineering teams are now working closer than ever before, improving the clarity and efficiency across all its teams.
“The first major capital expenditure at 3P innovation was one seat of Inventor. The first thing! We’ve grown and expanded because of the Autodesk solutions we’ve adopted, there wouldn’t be a 3P innovation without it. Inventor is simply the best package for the development of machinery, we’re always looking to amplify our scarce engineer’s time and Autodesk helps us do that. We’ve built our workflow around Inventor and Vault. We wouldn’t have been able to design the R500 and R1000 robotic capsule and device filler using Queen’s Award-winning Fill2Weight technology without Autodesk solutions and we’re excited to continue to work with them as we grow.”
—Dave Seaward, Founder & Engineering Director at 3P innovation