Kitchen design houses are increasing relying on manufacturers and suppliers to have a digital component as part of the information available for their products. CAD drawings and BIM blocks are among the technologies used to this end, so how is the supply chain helping distributors to create kitchen concepts?
Warewasher manufacturer Meiko is one of the pioneers in this field, as it offers a full CAD library on all of its models via its tailored Mi-Plan portal. According to UK MD Paul Anderson: “This allows for ease of access and information at all times. It is a fast and easy way to gain the specific information, and in addition Meiko can offer dedicated CAD support with our own in-house team.”
From this database it can also provide full BIM drawings in Revit format, which are compatible with the majority of systems used. Bespoke models can be rendered, if required, by its in house team and issued accordingly. Anderson added: “For larger projects we can offer rendered BIM drawings of the complex designs, offering a clearer and more understandable concept.”
Major combi oven producer Rational also offers a full design library via a dedicated portal for distributors. All models are available as CAD and BIM/Revit files. UK MD Simon Lohse explained: “We make sure our distributors are familiar with the portal through our Deal training events. We also offer individual training to dealers and a full support programme for their design teams.
“Our aim is to make as much information as possible available, via the Rational Portal. This information is continually updated, to take into account the latest technologies and product launches. Working with dealers we’ve created initiatives such as the Tomorrow’s Kitchen concept and the Deal training programme to help promote modern kitchen design.”
Over at Welbilt, UK and Ireland sales director Steve Hemsil revealed: “We fully understand how important it is to have as much information as possible and for this to be easily available to support CAD operators. They can access our information via our website as well as via Caterquotes and KCL.”
The manufacturer is currently embarking on a major equipment launch via BIM with Specifi, due to go live in Q1 2019.
Hemsil added: “Dealers can come to see our equipment at exhibitions and in our kitchens. Seeing in reality still gives the best way of understanding the design and footprint of any piece of equipment. This also allows questions to be asked and answered in person – questions which may have not have sprung to mind when viewing equipment behind a computer screen.”
At MKN, it assists distributors with its CAD library (including the FlexiCombi, FlexiChef and modular equipment), a BIM library, and other supporting information. UK head of sales Wayne Bennett reported: “During our visits to distributors, we give them our libraries or send them the link to download from our website, ensuring that they have what they need at any time.
“Our team places emphasis on visiting our dealer partners on a regular basis, allowing us to keep up-to-date and train their design team. This allows us to give all the support that they need and request, enabling us to assist with design and input our technical and chef information.”
Fellow cooking equipment manufacturer Blue Seal can offer BIM Revit data sets on its Evolution and Waldorf products as well as standard 2D and 3D CAD files. The manufacturer can further support dealer designer and sales managers by providing rendered 3D images to complement the plan drawings when presenting to their client, thus helping the end user get a better perspective and visualise the kitchen, before they agree to the sale.
National accounts manager David Chesshire commented: “As a manufacturer supporting the UK distributor network 100%, we are duty bound to provide these marketing and design tools to ensure our equipment is easy to specify and desirable for the sales teams to confidently present to their potential customers.”
For supplier Grande Cuisine, providing CAD blocks is part of the service for the Athanor and Mareno brands it imports. Mareno’s blocks are available in both 2D and 3D formats and can be downloaded from the Italian manufacturer’s website. As Athenor ranges are bespoke, any proposed design needs to be confirmed by the factory before quotation.
Mareno also holds BIM blocks on the EFCEM BIM library, while both brands offer 3D visualisations for their cook suites. Grande Cuisine director Steve Hobbs commented: “We offer design training for technicians on both Mareno and Athanor in order to give them a better understanding of how cook suites can be configured and designed as well as what options can be provided on a project by project basis.”
Elsewhere, warewashing specialist Winterhalter offers a CAD facility and its drawings are available through the CESA library. The manufacturer has also created BIM models of all its products which are fully compatible with standard BIM software packages.
Paul Crowley, marketing development manager of Winterhalter UK, revealed: “Winterhalter is working with FCSI, CESA and CEDA to determine industry standards for BIM in the future.
“We update our BIM library as new machines and accessories are launched. A new website is currently in development, where BIM blocks will be available to download.”
Furthermore, Winterhalter offers regular training sessions and initiatives, such as a training truck roadshow, where it demonstrates the ergonomic features of its warewashers to dealers and their customers.
Quotation software firm CaterQuotes’ CQD application is built from the AutoCAD platform. Operations director Paul Shaw detailed: “We have incorporated an easy click and place functionality to allow the end user to simultaneously create a floor plan from our online catalogue whilst creating a specified equipment list and or quote.”
CaterQuotes’ BIM library consists of Revit families for equipment where the manufacturer has offered or contracted the company to produce BIM objects. Its online catalogue includes 3D objects for these manufacturers too.
Shaw added: “We can best help dealers with education and providing the most accurate up to date specifications for quoted or design equipment. During the education process, we provide industry standards, design suggestions, trends, and user-friendly tools found in the plugin application provide through CaterQuotes.”
One supplier using the platform is Metcalfe Catering Equipment. MD Neil Richards said: “We try to get as much info to CaterQuotes as possible including drawings, spec sheets and pricing, as well as any other detailed information that a dealer might require.
“In addition, we are about to be included on Specifi. It took us a long time to pull this information together, especially with regard to the larger prep equipment such as slicers peelers, mixers, and our Hallde range.
All Metcalfe, Roband and Hallde products are available as BIM models too.
“We know everything there is to know about food preparation equipment so our job is to share that information with dealers to enable them to specify the right product so that the end user gets the best results,” added Richards.
British induction hob manufacturer Induced Energy has its own in-house designer who is happy to work with the dealer’s design team to ensure that the supply and installation of the firm’s induction equipment runs as smoothly and cost-effectively as possible.
Sales director Nic Banner explained: “Induced Energy was the very first induction company in the UK to offer a full BIM service which can now be downloaded from CESABIM.
“Many of our products require bespoke installations; this means it is important for me to work extremely closely with both the end user and the dealer to ensure that installations run smoothly, within budget and on time.”
Over at Liebherr, the refrigerator manufacturer has just completed a BIM project and part of this project is the creation of CAD drawings which it will make available on application or via CaterQuotes. It already has a complete BIM library and is interested in being involved with 3D or virtual reality applications.
Stephen Ongley, national sales manager – business and industry – refrigeration division, commented: “We work closely with equipment dealers to look at the project requirements and challenges they have. A good example would be offering solutions like reversable door hinges and factory-fitted castors on some of our larger cabinets to allow them to be flexible in location.”
In Scotland-based manufacturer E&R Moffat it has a CAD block library which it can supply on request, plus creating bespoke design models when required. As well as offering 3D models of its products, it is progressing with a BIM library, but this is not yet complete.
Sales manager Donald Reid advised: “If a distributor needs a specific Moffat product as a BIM model, we can usually (though not always) create one for them. To be honest we find most of our distributors are still working in CAD rather than BIM, so it hasn’t been an issue.
“Our dealers know that we have a very flexible approach in areas such as fabrication and bespoke counters, so they can come to us with concepts, knowing that we will turn them into reality, if it’s at all possible.”
While kitchen filtration specialist Purified Air provides drawings of its equipment in BIM and DWG formats, as well as holding a full BIM library on request. Sales director Andrew James remarked: “We can also help dealers with full support on design, free of charge site surveys, and DEFRA risk assessments.
“We educate them about kitchen exhaust filtration and odour control systems, as often these are sited outside the kitchen, with a large space required. We carry out free seminars across the country, as part of our strategy to build long-term relationships.”