|Driven by the global hardware and computer chip shortage, and a need for hybrid working
Bedford Pumps, a British manufacturer of robust pumping plants for the water and wastewater industry, has become one of the first companies in the UK to deliver its 3D CAD/CAM product design systems via Azure Virtual Desktop as a work around to the challenges of the pandemic.
Implemented by Foundation IT (FIT), infrastructure specialists, the system has given the manufacturer’s design team the necessary computing processing power to cope remotely with the complex designs of computer-aided design and engineering programmes, leading to increased productivity and staff morale.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Bedford Pumps struggled to procure powerful, 3D capable laptops or desktops for their design team as staff began working from home. The lead time on delivery of suitable computer hardware, particularly computer chips, was long and unpredictable and, at its worst, simply unknown, while costs were inflated.
The company also had issues with teams using existing machines from home during the pandemic.
“We needed a quick resolution to prevent any downtime and ensure our business could continue to design and deliver products,” says Alix MacDonald, Head of Design at Bedford Pumps.
“Foundation IT helped us to overcome these challenges by leveraging modern cloud computing advances and cloud-hosted Azure Virtual Desktop to digitally transform our CAD/CAM system and ensure we could continue to design and deliver products.
“The system has enabled our product designers to operate remotely from any location and has enabled us to extend the use of our legacy hardware which also has environmental and cost benefits. Overall, this solution has given us a massive boost in the way we operate. It has also enabled us to onboard new staff members much more quickly, saving time and hardware costs,” says Alix.
Jim Walters, a Support Analyst at FIT, explains that there was a high degree of collaboration between Bedford Pumps and FIT.
“While we have been involved in many AVD deployments, the concept of running 3D modelling software on virtual desktops was new, so there had to be some iterative testing influenced by user feedback,” explains Jim.
AVD has now been adopted in full and other lines of business applications are streamed to users via this method.
“In time, this will become our only method of accessing corporate resources,” says Alix.
“The wider benefits became apparent as the system was deployed. Not only does the system work reliably, with fewer crashes, but the performance has also been consistently high which, in turn, has boosted productivity considerably. The result is that we have a scalable, flexible solution which is a major benefit as we want to grow as a business in the next five years and we now have a method of adding users to the platform as and when needed.
“It has also created a level playing field in that every team member has access to the same processing power and software capabilities,” says Alix.