3D online parts catalogue ups web traffic by 42%

Three months after introducing a 3D online parts catalogue for its customers, a pneumatics manufacturer has seen website downloads rise by 42%. Dean Palmer reports

A manufacturer of pneumatic valves and cylinders has seen downloads on its website increase by 420%, just three months after installing a new 3D parts catalogue to the site.

The company, Mead Fluid Dynamics, said it was helping its customers accelerate their product development by using '3D PartStream.NET' (from Solidworks), an online catalogue that helps design engineers quickly find and configure pneumatic components that fit their designs.

Using the new software, Mead's customers can now find, configure and download 3D CAD models and 2D drawings directly into their product designs, ensuring correct fit and function prior to actually buying the parts. Since deploying the software in December 2004, Mead has seen its 3D model and 2D drawing downloads increase by 420%.

Previously, the company had a static website, with products and parts that were simply reproduced from the pages of its printed catalogue. Customers who wanted a 3D model or 2D drawing had to wait while Mead shipped them a CD.

Pete Zamutto, applications engineer at Mead explained: "Because our components are so customised, our engineers spent hours generating 3D designs for our customers to try out and then adjusting them when customers wanted changes. 3D Partstream.NET has a quick download time so that clients can check component fit and function in seconds, not days. That reduces the engineering cost of each sale and helps to close the deal."

He added that Mead needed to simplify customer purchasing decisions and encourage them to "design-in our products".

The software also allows customers to download product designs in the CAD format of their choice, so that they can check compatibility without spending time and risking errors from file translation. The interactive catalogue lets customers choose pneumatic components in numerous variations based on parameters such as bore size and stroke.

Zamutto said he expected the new software to "greatly increase Mead's sales leads each month, while lowering cost per sales lead and increasing revenue".

Tom Shelley

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