TNN’s KAON 4x4 accessory brand runs on Autodesk Fusion
With support from Cadpro, Autodesk Fusion supercharges design and production for TNN’s 4x4 accessory brand KAON.
Finding a software platform that could meet their growing needs, particularly for their own-brand product design and manufacture, was the key challenge for TNN.
Established in 1994, TNN Engineering is a second-generation Brisbane-based engineering machine shop servicing customers around Australia. Led by General Manager Tin Hua, the business’ B2B offerings include CNC machining, steel fabrication, laser-cutting and pressing.
In 2017, they launched an own-brand B2C enterprise with the KAON range of 4x4 after-market accessories, including storage shelves, brackets and mounts.
TNN handles almost every part of the KAON product pipeline. They initially used SolidWorks for CAD and CAM, but the increasingly complex design processes demanded a more capable and powerful software platform.
TNN’s main objective was to implement software powerful and flexible enough to handle complex 3D scans, designs and models. ‘A lot of the success of the KAON brand has come through our adoption of 3D CAD / CAM and scanning,’ explains Tin, ‘and these processes really drive the product pipeline. They had to work for us, not the other way around.’
TNN acquired some initial licences direct from Autodesk, but as licensing complexity grew, they built a partnership with Cadpro to add more licences. Following the initial implementation, Cadpro visited TNN to gain insights into their processes, from which they were able to suggest ways the company could make more use of Autodesk Fusion’s broad functionality.
Says Tin, ‘We got a lot more traction when we moved over to Autodesk Fusion. At first we didn’t realise the capabilities Cadpro offered, but now we use a range of complementary services we lean on when necessary. Thanks to Cadpro, today we use Autodesk Fusion for the whole process – through data acquisition, design development, prototyping, documentation and machine production.’
'We got a lot more traction when we moved over to Autodesk Fusion. At first we didn’t realise the capabilities Cadpro offered, but now we use a range of complementary services we lean on when necessary. Thanks to Cadpro, today we use Autodesk Fusion for the whole process – through data acquisition, design development, prototyping, documentation and machine production.'
- Tin Hua, General Manager
Autodesk Fusion has allowed TNN to create bigger and more complex models, with greater detail than before. ‘Vitally, it handles scans and big meshes really well,’ notes Tin. ‘And from that initial modelling stage, we design using the CAD function, which fast-tracks our ability to bring to market a product that fits 4x4 vehicles like a glove.
‘We can transition to prototypes, which we either 3D print or send off to be laser-cut and pressed. For some parts, we use the CAM package within Autodesk Fusion to programme the CNC machines in-house. The sheet metal unfold function is really useful, for instance. Documentation, rendering, product images for media . . . we use the software a lot.’
The collaborative functionality of Autodesk Fusion has helped, and having file management in the cloud means revisions are much more straightforward. That said, another benefit is being able to programme offline – ‘it’s made a massive difference’, adds Tin.
Cadpro’s input has been invaluable. ‘For a start, they made licensing very easy,’ says Tin, ‘and they streamlined our access to deals and promotions. Beyond that, they’ve boosted our learning curve with Autodesk Fusion. Scott from Cadpro helped our machining team create templates and shared libraries to make programming and tool path generation faster and more reliable.’
While Autodesk Fusion is delivering on TNN’s objectives, Tin is quick to point out that this is just the start of the journey with Cadpro. ‘There is endless opportunity to do more with Autodesk Fusion. For instance, we’d like to explore stress and strain analysis. And the fact that Cadpro understand the full range of software applications takes us a long way down the road. We now know that if we’ve a specific goal, there’s someone who can help us achieve it.’