Car-lovers who were impressed by the esthetics of the Renault stand at the 2016 Rétromobile exhibition, probably did not know that they were admiring the creation of a French SME. A structure deisgned in Wissous near Paris, where CENTTHOR, the French specialist in the creation of exhibition stands, installed its highly qualified teams and latest-generation production site in 2007.
In this made-to-measure building, organized around a 5 000m² production plant, made-to-measure stands are created for names like Renault, Citroën, the Visiom group and many more. CENTTHOR's global know-how covers all its customer's need, from design and production to installation. An important advantage over its competitors, most of which are design offices that outsource the production operations.
It all starts in the engineering department, where the deliverables for every order are designed. But the main players are the customers. The conception, design, 3D creation, choice of materials, compliance, drawings (fittings, electricity, water, screens), and then the manufacturing and fitting out of the stands, all take place under the customer's watchful eye. Close dialog is established with the project manager supervising the teams at CENTTHOR in order to delivel unique and personalized stands. "A team of about 10 qualified designers from the best art schools, who are experienced in the fitting out of stands, events and sales areas, work on the architecture and the design of these projects," confirms Guillaume Piel, a CENTTHOR specialist from the CAD-CAM team. The stands are then built with our high-performance machines, which include two 5-axis machines. Nothing is left to chance.
Faced with increasingly complex project, four years ago the company introduced Missler Software's TopSolid'Wood CAD-CAM software as part of a drive to improve its customer service. A genuine digital design and machining chain for the wood industry. "We were using 3D software that no longer met our expectations and did not offer the performance required to machine our parts on the 5-axis machines in our workshop. After looking into the offers available on the market, we opted for TopSolid'Wood, which met our needs perfectly,"explains CENTTHOR's specialist. The ideal solution for the company's program to build modular stands that are more economical and more ecological, which was introduced three years ago.
The change saw an immediate leap forwards in the quality of design and build. "The complete associativity between the CAD model and the preparaions in CAM offered by TopSOlid'Wood makes changes much easier , even when they are made at the last minute", confirms Guillaume Piel. The capacity to build on everyday work is another important advantage. Not to mention the multitude of specialized functions that make the designer's lives much easier. Examples include 3D modeling and the ability to personalize the software. or the flexibility of use and a selection of interfaces that facilitate data exchanges. Plus the precise and rapid drawing function. Manufacturing also benefits significantly from the 5-axis machining capacities of the CAM module.
"The coherent CAD and CAM modules of the software communicate perfectly, so that machining operations can be automated. We simply have to send the right program to the workshop to start producing the part. Right from the modeling phase, the specialized functions of TopSolid'Wood address the problems of machining on 3D models," observes Cédric Gatien, the Workshop Supervisor at CENTTHOR. A fact that makes the precise adaptation to the various manufacturing processes possible. Machining almost becomes child's play, thanks to the component libraries that contain the machining operations, the predefined positions and the software's geometric pilots. The production of stand parts is secured by simulating the machining operations. The design team can continue to adopt its original approach, hand in hand with several Project Managers. This process demands tight coordination and permanent control in order to meet all the imperatives of the specifications (deadlines, quality, etc.) to the letter. “Every year, we fulfill about 300 orders,” claims ERP Project Manager, Emilien Serret. “These projects are very different, ranging from just a few square meters to prestige stands measuring more than 4,000 m2.” The specialists at CENTTHOR can meet all these specific demands thanks to the consistency offered by choosing TopSolid'Erp, another solution in the TopSolid range. From the control of sales flows, to EDI, purchasing, production, stocks and quality, Missler Software’s tool perfectly controls production and the traceability that is essential to CENTTHOR’s policy based on strict punctuality. Thanks to its planning and scheduling tool, TopSolid'Erp controls production flows by including the logistical aspects of subcontracting and procurement, so that customers can receive a schedule right from the initial quote. Manufacturing costs are detailed for each production run and the batches of parts under construction or already shipped, and the software even indicates costs incurred by unexpected incidents and non-quality. A feature that allows for targeted actions for improvement. The software answers the essential questions that controllers always ask: How much did this job cost me? What is the cost price of this series produced part? What is the cost price of these parts in stock? “This tool is both intuitive and flexible, covering the control of products and of processes, with a clear indication of the tasks to be performed,” observes Emilien Serret. The information produced by the software is consolidated in comprehensive dashboards that make for easier dialogue both inside the company and with suppliers and customers. The broad selection of functions at the fingertips of CENTTHOR’s controllers is completed by scheduling and production management, quality assurance and the management of manufacturing procedures and parts lists, thanks to the native interaction with TopSolid’Wood. These features allow the company to fend off the stiff competition by offering the right price, while meeting its customers’ demands for quality and punctuality.
The strong points of TopSolid’Wood and ERP at CENTTHOR
- Strong CAD-CAM associativity, which makes changes easier
- The capacity to build on the company’s know-how
- Integration of the specifics of every machining operation, right from the part modeling phase
- Extended personalization functions
- A solution consistent with the CAD-CAM-ERP database
- Control of deadlines, costs and quality
- Precise detection of production issues and causes of non-qualité
The opinion of Guillaume Piel, CAD-CAM specialist at CENTTHOR:
“The associativity offered by TopSolid’Wood makes changes much easier, even at the last minute.”
CENTTHOR IN FIGURES
– 300 projects delivered each year. 40% in France and 60% in the rest of the world
– Headcount: 69 employees in 2016
– 2016 turnover: €21,637,679
– Storage space: 15,000 m2
– Production unit: 5,000 m2