Hot stuff in baking

19 February 2019

Taiwan-based Sanneng is using Solid Edge from Siemens PLM Software in order to become an even hotter brand in baking equipment

Design work underway at Sanneng’s R&D Centre

From mixing bowls to cake moulds, and loaf pans to mousse rings, the Sanneng Group has developed some 2,000 different pieces of baking equipment since it was established in 1982.

Today, the company commands a hefty slice of the baking equipment markets in both Taiwan (where it accounts for 70%) and China (50%).

Solid Edge’s sheet metal module can interface with systems at the production facility and the R&D department, allowing us to smoothly handle issues encountered virtually or on production lines Cheng Yuanhaw, engineer, Sanneng R&D

In terms of baking trays alone, the company shifts 1.6 million units annually in these two markets – but it’s constantly launching new products and can also handle customised orders.

The design work behind many of these products is carried out at Sanneng’s R&D centre, which creates 3D designs and explores new materials research, new manufacturing processes and new product opportunities, all with the company’s vision for sustainable development in mind.

Siemens PLM Software’s Solid Edge is a vital tool in the work of the centre, with employees there using 3D design to convert design-related components and modules into a 3D model library. This project is particularly important when it comes to customised orders, which often involve unusual specifications, but still need to be fulfilled quickly.

By using modules from this library, Sanneng improves design efficiency and saves times on repeat designs.

Sheet metal advantage

For Sanneng, the benefits of using Solid Edge include direct modelling with synchronous technology and sheet metal design. According to Cheng Yuanhaw, an engineer at its R&D centre, the sheet metal design tools interface not only with on-site systems, but also with R&D department systems. Solid Edge is equally useful for handling issues virtually as well as on production lines.

“Solid Edge’s sheet metal module can interface with systems at the production facility and the R&D department, allowing us to smoothly handle issues encountered virtually or on production lines,” says Cheng. “Synchronous modelling is different from sequential modelling, in that it’s not overly particular about revision principles, which helps make proofs more quickly for customisation orders.”

Before deploying Solid Edge, employees at Sanneng were forced to use history-based modeling techniques, because its previous design software did not include direct modeling capabilities. Now, using Solid Edge, they find that custom orders can be modeled and validated in short timespans.

Dr. Derek Tsai, deputy director at Sanneng’s R&D centre, explains that synchronous modelling does not require knowledge of the sequence of steps used to create the model, which helps create quicker proofs.

“Unlike other design software, Solid Edge can be used by multiple computers, without the need for additional network keys, regardless of which computer it is first installed in,” he points out. “It can also be used through other network ports of the company. All in all, it makes it much easier for us to open drawings and documents for discussion when we are in a meeting room, in another department or at an outside location.”

Sanneng’s new premium brand includes a set of steel chef knives, with the most expensive costing almost $600

Improved communications

The integration of Solid Edge and the KeyShot 3D rendering technology also enables Sanneng to increase the efficiency of communication both internally and externally, which is especially valuable in fulfilling custom orders.

For example, when bread factories order multilink loaf pans, the size of the production line and the gaps between conveyor belts must be aligned. These details can now be accurately visualised using 3D models.

“When we present a proposal to our customer, they can clearly see every design detail, and that makes communication more straightforward and much clearer,” says Cheng. “In the past, we only had 2D drawings that required more interpretation and could easily lead to mutual misunderstanding. KeyShot also improves communication efficiency between the company’s design and manufacturing departments.”

Different materials used to make the product also affect final designs. For example, when Sanneng was designing a lightweight multilink loaf pan to be made from a lower-cost aluminum alloy, engineers had to consider the choices to be made in the manufacturing process. In addition, some customers require multilink models to be welded together to maximise the number of loaves baked each time. In this case, the company uses 3D models to view the effect of different ways of welding, making adjustments and finally determining the optimal way to weld each loaf pan together.

In addition, Sanneng also used KeyShot’s rendering functions to help a Chinese fast-food chain create trays with curved bases for convenient stacking and storage.

“When rectangular trays are placed on top of one another, they tend to tilt or collapse, but with trays that have curved bottoms, we could easily stack them on top of each other like shopping baskets,” says Cheng.

Initially, the customer used its own computer-aided design (CAD) software to tackle to challenge, but this was only capable of creating surface geometry. This software failed to adjust the base angle accurately, resulting in products that could not be stacked as tightly and as high as expected. Using Solid Edge, however, Sanneng successfully delivered the project.

One of the reasons Sanneng chose Solid Edge is that it supports multiple file formats and can readily read CAD files in neutral exchange formats or the formats of other systems. “With Solid Edge, we could read the customer’s CAD files directly, and successfully completed the project with surface and rendering functions,” says Cheng.

Close collaboration

Sanneng’s primary sales channel are bakeware and cookware retailers, who also accept customisation projects in Taiwan, including from chains of restaurants, supermarkets, coffee shops and fast-food outlets.

Currently, the R&D department and R&D centers at Sanneng have different responsibilities and collaborate with each other. “The R&D department is responsible for designing customised products,” says Cheng. “However, since our R&D center is better at 3D design, when it comes to urgent cases, they work together. The multilink loaf pan is an example of this.”

New developments are underway. In 2018, Sanneng created a new brand called Sanneng Premium; the first product in this line is a steel chef knife.

The knives sell at medium and high price-points, with the most expensive costing almost $600. Development engineers in the R&D center used Solid Edge to create the design for the range and took into careful consideration all details, including handle ergonomics, titanium coating and antibacterial treatment.

“Although these knives are very simple, the process of making them is far from easy,” says Cheng. “We studied it and held discussions with invited chefs and the manufacturing department.”

With Solid Edge in its toolkit, Sanneng is on track to become an even hotter name in kitchenware, by always staying on the cutting edge.

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