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Striker Systems
White House, Tennessee
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Striker Systems Uses AutoCAD OEM To Give Sheet Metal Manufacturers A Nesting Software That’s A Cut Above

“When AutoCAD OEM first came out, we jumped at the chance,” said Boggs. “Here we are, nearly 30 years later, and it’s still providing all the same advantages that it did when we first got started with it. It has really worked out great for us.”

Mike Boggs, VP of Sales and Marketing, Striker Systems

The Challenge

For more than thirty years, Striker Systems has been assisting sheet metal fabricators and manufacturers with the production of parts. The Tennessee-based company is a global leader in the development of sheet metal CAD/CAM and nesting software for CNC punching and profile cutting machines. “When people think of metal fabrication, the first thing that comes to mind tends to be milling or turning,” said Mike Boggs, VP of Sales and Marketing at Striker Systems. “Sheet metal is kind of a smaller niche within the overall metal fabrication industry, and that’s who we’re focused on with our products and solutions.” A constant challenge these sheet metal customers face – regardless of whether they’re large enterprise operations or small oneperson shops – is reducing waste, in order to operate as lean as possible. “Material costs are one of the biggest expenses incurred by these shops,” explained Boggs. “Nesting software can help reduce that waste by laying out all the parts that need to be cut or punched out of a piece of sheet metal. Unfortunately, many nesting solutions that are available in the marketplace don’t make it easy to manipulate or edit parts that have already been laid out.” Without that ability to go in and edit the individual components of a part midstream through the manufacturing process, customers would have to go all the way back to the beginning and start over again. Striker Systems felt that customers deserved something better – something that allowed them to be more productive and agile. Initially, Striker Systems addressed this market need with a custom AutoCAD plug-in called FAB Professional that put more editing functionality into customers’ hands. While this was an ideal solution for customers who already used AutoCAD, it prevented Striker Systems from reaching customers who did not use AutoCAD as their primary CAD tool. “We were seriously considering whether we should develop our own underlying data structure when we learned about AutoCAD OEM,” said Boggs. “We took one look at it and said, ‘That’s exactly what we need.’”

A Standalone Version That Delivers Powerful Benefits

AutoCAD OEM is a platform for rapidly building applications, using the world’s most proven CAD system as a starting point. To create an application, software developers simply “hide” any unneeded AutoCAD functionality and add their unique value by adding their plug-in, providing customized functionality catered to facilitating specific market tasks. “Since FAB Professional was already an AutoCAD add-in product, it was pretty easy for us to use the AutoCAD OEM platform to create a standalone version and get that product out the door in a short amount of time,” said Boggs. “We rebranded our stand-alone release as STRIKER CAD/CAM to differentiate it from the FAB Professional add-in for AutoCAD. While we do still offer the FAB Professional plug-in, most of our sales are the AutoCAD OEM version.” In addition to helping Striker Systems quickly bring a compelling product to market, the AutoCAD OEM foundation delivers more flexibility around nesting workflows to customers. “Many of the nesting systems that developed an entirely proprietary solution don’t have the flexibility to work down at the individual part level once a job has been nested,” said Boggs. “That’s one of the areas where we’re going to shine because there’s unlimited flexibility in what you can go in and do in that AutoCAD environment. You can quickly add parts, remove parts, and edit part features at any stage in the production process.” Additionally, since the native file format of STRIKER CAD/CAM is the industry standard DWG file rather than a proprietary format, STRIKER CAD/CAM can more easily interface with third-party CAD/CAM software and other business solutions. “It’s not unusual for a sheet metal shop to have a punch from one manufacturer, a laser from a different manufacturer, and then a separate, older laser from yet another manufacturer,” said Boggs. “Generally, the software that comes bundled with those machines doesn’t support a competitor’s machine. That’s a large opportunity for us, because people don’t want to have to maintain three different pieces of software in order to work with those three different pieces of equipment.” Overall, AutoCAD OEM has been a valuable long-term contributor to Striker Systems’ enduring success in the marketplace. “When AutoCAD OEM first came out, we jumped at the chance,” said Boggs. “Here we are, nearly 30 years later, and it’s still providing all the same advantages that it did when we first got started with it. It has really worked out great for us.

Industry: Manufacturing

Challenge: Sheet metal manufacturers need to reduce material waste so they can run lean - Existing nesting software solutions help lay out parts efficiently, but make it difficult to edit those parts - Different cutting and punching machines often driven by their own software packages with proprietary formats

Solution: AutoCAD OEM allows developers to create a niche product using the world’s most proven CAD system as a starting point

Results: Take existing AutoCAD add-in and rapidly develop a standalone product - Help manufacturers easily make adjustments to parts midstream through the manufacturing process, saving valuable time - Allow customers to work down at the individual part level to readily make any last-minute adjustments to parts before cutting or punching operations, reducing waste - Industry standard DWG file format enables customers to interface with a variety of third-party CAD/CAM and other business solutions, rather than maintaining multiple software packages

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