Termobrasa was founded 50 years ago in a small warehouse in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal. The company’s humble beginning was the manufacturing of a novel water heater design, which later expanded to include an array of energy-efficient solutions, including heat pumps. However, the global COVID-19 pandemic prompted a substantial shift in its operating methods, accelerating digitalization beyond what the team could have ever imagined.
From stacks of paper to tablets
Companies like Termobrasa usually face challenges with production tracking, quality control tracking, and inventory management. Right before the start of the pandemic, Termobrasa took action and decided to remove the error-prone paper processes and adopt an entirely new workflow for the production line, procedures, and management with Autodesk Prodsmart.
“We’ve been making this transition over the past few years,” says Pedro Costa, production manager, Termobrasa. “COVID-19 both disrupted and accelerated it because everything was happening much faster for digital adoption.”
The company’s owner was hesitant about the change, but he placed his trust in the team—even if it seemed strange to see employees on tablets instead of carrying around stacks of paper.
“We experienced rapid growth and 30-40% increases in revenue from 2020 to 2022 as consumers began more home improvement projects to increase energy efficiency,” Costa says. “We knew our changes weren’t harming any part of the business, and we could see the efficiency results from this demand in our new process with Prodsmart.”
During the pandemic, Termobrasa’s entire assembly line was solely on tablets that provided the latest production updates and order requirements. Over the past couple of years, the rest of the manufacturing process moved to the new digital workflow. Even welders with their thick gloves and welding masks have successfully gone digital.
Production orders move seamlessly upon completion from one station to the next in each section of the factory, and paper has disappeared from the manufacturing floor. “With the move to Prodsmart, there is no need for paper,” Costa says. “Now, we don’t need to constantly tell workers what they should do because they already know.”
“We’re still at the beginning of our journey with Prodsmart, but it’s already helping us organize and improve our efficiency and communication. There’s so much more we can do with it.”—Pedro Costa, production manager, Termobrasa
Industry evolution: Termobrasa’s journey to digital with Prodsmart
Before Termobrasa went paper free, they only knew production details from invoices or paper travelers. For example, the inspection workstation had its own manual register. With Prodsmart, every stage of production is now registered digitally, and every order includes historical data.
Traceability is essential for quality control, efficient supply chain management, continuous improvement, and customer satisfaction. Prodsmart provides this traceability for full transparency, accountability, and data-driven insights that enables Termobrasa to deliver high-quality products and maintain a competitive edge in the market.
“Prodsmart provides us with an entire library of information that is permanently available,” Costa says. “Now we can have full traceability from the raw materials to the final product.”
As a production manager, Costa appreciates the live information he can access any time—whether it’s the status of workers or information about raw materials from suppliers. It even helps him with customer service and order visibility.
“A customer may call and ask about the progress of an order,” he says. “I can immediately go into Prodsmart, see the order is at a certain workstation, and share exactly when it will be completed and ready.”
Adopting Autodesk Fusion 360 and Prodsmart as a platform
Recently, Termobrasa began its next stage of digital transformation with the adoption of Autodesk Fusion 360. Now that their manufacturing is paper-free, they’re creating digital 3D models of product designs that were still primarily on paper. After considering SolidWorks, they decided Fusion 360 would be best to take advantage of the entire platform and future integrations with Prodsmart.
The team already has one design in Fusion 360 for their flagship product. They’re investing in technical expertise to bring all the other designs and components into the software. They’ve already created a bill of material (BOM) in Fusion 360 and sent it to Prodsmart—and that’s just the start.