Megladon enables faster lead times and design customization with a new approach to manufacturing
Fiber optic components have traditionally been supplied by a few main manufacturers that dictate the form factors and prices of most fiber components. Customers trying to use fiber products in emerging markets or in new ways found that traditional products simply could not be adapted for their needs. Product customization was almost non-existent, making it difficult to organize complex fiber installations with color coding or integrated labeling. Long lead times coupled with higher prices on product customizations hampered users’ ability to extend fiber optic applications into new and exciting applications.
“In order to address this problem, we knew we had to challenge the industry at a fundamental level, with the end user in mind,” says Daniel Hogberg, President at Megladon. To do that, Megladon turned to MLC CAD Systems, SOLIDWORKS, and a small army of 3D printers to more efficiently serve customer needs.
Combining digital design and additive methods is commonplace in R&D and prototyping, but Megladon extended these capabilities to full-scale additive manufacturing. Eliminating tooling costs, lead times, minimum batch sizes, and shipping delays saves time and money for new and low-quantity parts.
The additive approach to manufacturing also eliminates many traditional design limitations such as undercuts and complex internal shapes, opening up design flexibility and product performance in ways no traditional manufacturer could otherwise match. Additive manufacturing also makes it simple to customize colors to suit the specific needs of each installation. When multiple circuits or functions share rack space or coexist in a facility, simply color-coding parts makes installation and service much easier and creates a more professional installation.
Additive manufacturing has benefits beyond shorter lead times and lower costs for customers. Workers are local and disruptions to shipping lanes or global markets are bypassed completely, an issue suddenly made more visible with the emergence of COVID-19. Designers are empowered with quick feedback from the parts and the customers who use them. “Having the level of control that SOLIDWORKS provides is absolutely critical in unlocking all of the possibilities that additive manufacturing provides,” stresses lead engineer Nathan Bosch.
The design possibilities that have come from Megladon’s use of SOLIDWORKS have brought them closer to their clients. “The confidence that SOLIDWORKS has given our team has allowed us to approach our clients’ problems in some really unique ways. We like to say that when you work with us, you can throw away the catalogue and just tell us exactly what you need,” says Hogberg. With SOLIDWORKS, Megladon’s growing list of new product offerings has begun to rival any competitor’s catalogue as a result of improved customer collaboration and input.
The impact on the bottom line has been dramatic. In the last three years, the company has designed and developed over 100 unique products for the fiber industry. Lead times have decreased from 6-8 weeks down to 2-3 weeks. Total product inventory has been reduced 25%. Additive manufacturing paired with SOLIDWORKS-powered design has Megladon on track to cut its operating costs 60% over the next six years. An amazing 40% growth in the business has come directly from these new product offerings, and custom products are now responsible for about 1/3 of overall business!
Another result of this approach is the opportunity for brand recognition and growth. The distinctive Megladon shark fin shape and logo can be integrated into the product design directly, such as this shark fin cassette design. With products that are functional, customized, and distinctive being deployed worldwide, the company has established themselves as a powerful force that will soon be instantly recognizable by any industry expert.
About Megladon Manufacturing
Megladon Manufacturing is an Austin, Texas based supplier of fiber optic products and assemblies. A subsidiary of the TyRex Group, Megladon offers a range of products alongside their U.S.-made custom fiber optic cable assemblies, all of which are terminated using the patented HLC laser process. Megladon has assemblies deployed worldwide.
Copyright 2021 – Tyrex Group LTD and MLC CAD Systems LLC
About the author
While Marcus has been a SOLIDWORKS Applications Expert with MLC CAD Systems in Oklahoma for over a decade, his knowledge extends into all product lines MLC offers. More than once, he has held the prestigious title of the world’s most certified SOLIDWORKS AE. He actively supports the user group community and is known for his improv comedy tips and tricks sessions. Connect with Marcus on LinkedIn to discuss your project.