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Scout Drone Inspection was looking for a way to produce product documentation driven by bill of materials (BOM) data; the tools built into Autodesk® Fusion 360™ made this a laborious and error prone process. They adopted Bommer to simplify data entry and automate exports that are then composited into a KPI spreadsheet. Bommer was easy to install and configure, and enabled the engineer at Scout to edit their component metadata, export specific subsystem BOMs to Excel, observe key metrics such as product weight, and ultimately incorporate these BOMs into the existing documentation. Using Bommer, Scout Drone Inspection achieved:

  • 2.5 hours per week of heavy design activity time savings for single engineer over performing documentation updates manually (**20-30 hours **total throughout 2018)
  • Repeatability and a net reduction in the opportunity for engineering and manufacturing errors to occur.

Challenges

Scout Drone Inspection is a startup that builds drones for inspecting indoor facilities, where GPS or other guidance technologies cannot be used. They serve markets where inspections are mandated by regulation but otherwise costly and dangerous to perform, like offshore oil and gas, or shipping. They had recently adopted Fusion 360 as their CAD BOM package and were looking for a better way to maintain their bill of materials data. Previously, they maintained their bill of materials in a manually updated spreadsheet stored alongside the design files, which did not scale with their engineering processes or with the documentation/data requirements placed on the engineers by company leadership. The tools built into Fusion 360 make it hard to extract to a complete bill of materials and compute KPIs such as assembly weight based on a configuration of parts. The built-in tools also do not support custom properties that are critical to letting the engineers and company determine part mix, cost drivers, and other product development key performance indicators. The overhead of manually updating their spreadsheet with this information was **several hours per week, **incurred at a time when they needed to produce documentation quickly and accurately.

How Bommer Helped

Bommer is a plugin for Fusion 360 that provides an in-app bill of materials editor, custom BOM properties, and a “two-click” export process to help users quickly and easily build and extract their bills of materials. For Scout Drone Inspection, their CAD tool is the hub where all information about their product is gathered. “We figured that, since everything had a representation in CAD, that would be a nice place to sort of branch that information off of,” says Kristoffer Slåttsveen, mechanical engineer at Scout, “and that’s when I went looking for a BOM plugin for Fusion”.

Slåttsveen uses Bommer to generate subsystem spreadsheets for the different major systems that make up the drone; Bommer’s tight integration with Fusion gives him the ability to change visibility within Fusion and only export visible components into his BOM without any additional effort. These spreadsheets are combined and processed into charts that show cost, part count, weight, and other KPIs broken down by subsystem. This information both informs future engineering work (e.g. where should they work to reduce the most weight from the design) and helps communicate progress to his leadership and to external stakeholders.

Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans

By incorporating Bommer into their engineering workflow, Scout Drone Inspection was able to realize tangible time savings in their engineering processes. In 2018, over several development cycles, it is estimated that Slåttsveen and his team spent 2-3 months on “heavy CAD” work, during which he estimates Bommer saved him 2.5 hours per week (or **up to 30 hours **in total) as compared to performing those tasks manually. But the savings were not only in terms of hours spent: Bommer helps Slåttsveen “both in terms of hours and also mental strain. Yeah, it saves me on both those accounts.” Slåttsveen says their usage of Bommer will continue to grow in the future: as their product transitions to a more mature state, the BOM built with Bommer “is going to be a really good, good way of analyzing the assembly that we have,” and they are planning to bring more users onto the BOM software. “Updating our bill of materials with Bommer is an insignificant amount of time compared to other methods. Having to do an update in the bom previously was a chore. Now, that's just something that I do”.

Authors

Krisstoffer Slåttsveen - Mechanical Engineer, Scout Drone Inspection
Jesse Rosalia - Co-founder/CEO, Bommer, Inc.

Want to try it out for yourself? Download Bommer from the Autodesk App Store here, or contact us for a demo!