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Weatherhaven Solves Production Challenges with Inventor
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Weatherhaven may not make medical equipment but they do make devices that save lives and they may not make sophisticated research tools but they help make a lot of scientific research possible.

Weatherhaven are the designers and manufacturers of custom portable habitats that have been deployed for use in life-saving operations such as army field hospitals and as emergency habitats for disaster victims. The habitats also serve as housing for the remote research stations used by scientists working in the world’s many undeveloped areas.

One of Weatherhaven's portable military shelters

The Burnaby, BC-based company has been creating portable habitats for over 30 years and in addition to military, disaster relief and scientific expeditions their products have also been used for storage, mining camps and military workshops. “Anything you want to do, anywhere on the planet you want to do it we can provide accommodations and work quarters,” said Ryan Savenkoff, design engineer for Weatherhaven. “There are very few jobs that we are willing to turn down.”

One specific job was providing emergency habitats for victims of last year’s earthquake in Haiti.

Thanks to Autodesk and its Inventor software Weatherhaven has been able to expand its ability to create habitats for scientists, disaster victims, the military and whoever else needs them. In recognition for the company’s deployment of the digital design software to improve its operations and bring both life-saving and mission critical projects quickly to their customers Weatherhaven were named Autodesk’s Inventor of the Month for March 2011.

For Weatherhaven moving to digital prototyping with Inventor has been the solution to one of its biggest challenges of having to do numerous physical prototypes.

According to Savenkoff most of their habitats must be custom made to their customer’s specifications, which can feature a wide variability in terms of power supplies, insulation packages and building codes. Thanks to Inventor they can now create digital prototypes rather than physical prototypes, which has helped save the company a great deal of time and money.

“The whole digital prototyping concept is fairly new for us, “said Savenkoff. “The company is 30 years old and we only started using Inventor about three years ago. But it’s already helped reduce the money and time we spend on creating prototypes. That alone has paid for the cost of the licenses.”

Weatherhaven has also found ways to leverage the Inventor technology to expand their marketing and collaboration capabilities. Savenkoff said the company can now take design documents and deliver them directly to their sales department to create marketing materials and to help keep customers apprised of the design process. In addition the ability to share design data amongst engineers has allowed the team to share and work collaboratively in ways that Savenkoff said were impossible for the company before its adoption of Inventor.

Even more impressive than the ability to reduce the costs of prototyping, expand their collaboration capabilities and improve their marketing strategies the software has given Weatherhaven the ability to expand its production capabilities and grow its customer base.
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Published  05/09/2011 
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