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New enterprise Graftin turn great ideas into reality with ICEE

by | Jul 20, 2017

Makes high-end tables in sheet metal for furniture design company

Company Details

With a big emphasis on British design innovation, Graftin – wittily drawn from ‘hard grafting’ – is a new and ambitious UK enterprise founded by three energetic and talented young designers. Launched in 2016 the company designs and sells high quality furniture and lighting products to design-aware consumers and buyers, respectively in domestic and contract markets, the latter embracing interior design and architecture. Manufacturing is outsourced to ICEE Managed Services. Visit Graftin website

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“ICEE are always forthcoming on good ideas and advice. That’s very important to Graftin. At the same time, if I say let’s try this – something new or different – their people are immediately responsive and helpful. In short, they listen and act on what I want. They cheerfully go the extra mile.”

Dan Andrews, Co-founder, Graftin Studios

Summary

Designed by Graftin’s Dan Andrews the company’s first furniture collection is the Havant table range, made from mild steel sheet metal, finished in powder-coated colour options. ICEE advises on design-for-manufacture, cuts sheet metal parts by fibre laser and fabricates the tables. Dan’s design features a simple, accurate and economic way of locking parts together for welding – derived from traditional woodworking practice – minimising jigs and fixtures and speeding assembly.

Challenges

Seeing a market gap Dan Andrews wanted to design a robust and long-lasting table range in a minimalist, industrial style, in sheet metal. Lacking experience of the material and unfamiliar with associated fabrication processes, he sought a UK manufacturer to guide him and act as a helpful partner. Graftin focuses purely on design, marketing and sales, so for manufacturing it relies entirely on working with a reliable and experienced contractor.

Solution

Most companies shortlisted did not meet expectations and lacked flexibility, except ICEE. Dan Andrews had met the company earlier in his career when seeking a high quality waterjet service to cut plastic composites. He remembered the manufacturing firm also offered fibre laser metal cutting, fabrication and related services. When approached, ICEE was refreshingly enthusiastic about helping him. It could develop prototypes and then provide full-scale production in the timescale required.

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“We really enjoy working with Dan Andrews and Graftin. Coming from a different discipline – the world of architecture, interior design and furniture – he and his company bring fresh challenges to our world of manufacturing. We always welcome that, especially the chance to help a new business flourish and to support UK innovation.”

Paul Harris, Managing Director, ICEE Managed Services

Results

Graftin’s positive experience has led to other sheet metal table products being successfully developed with ICEE. Manufacturing excellence is important, but what also matters is the right attitude from the supplier, meaning close collaboration and attention to detail. In short, a total willingness to partner with the customer and meet all requirements. From the top floor to the shopfloor, the response has been consistent, so results have been right-first-time.

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A Complete Solution From ICEE


Zzoomm found the ideal solution in a highly integrated, one-source package from ICEE Managed Services. Based on four decades proven experience delivering successful outcomes to large and small telecommunication customers, ICEE would have no problem providing the total solution required. Specialising in designing, manufacturing, installing and maintaining enclosures for highway, rail-side and FTTx applications, it offered all the relevant business credentials, quality standards accreditation and track record required. Sven Huster explained: “For us to undertake that whole process by ourselves, without having an engineering R&D function and so on, would be quite difficult to do, and that’s why it was important to pick a partner like ICEE, that can help us with the expertise and advise on the equipment we want to use.” He and his team began working closely with ICEE’s design department. Early in the project, at the prototype stage when the first enclosure was being developed, the internet service provider wanted to insert an equipment assembly into the active cabinet, but in one large piece. It was hard to fit in from the front, so ICEE quickly modified the structure enabling the whole assembly to be easily manoeuvred in from one side. This meant creating a side door, tested at the design stage on a screen-based, three-dimensional prototype constructed on ICEE’s Solidworks 3D CAD system. ICEE does a lot of screen-based, virtual prototyping using 3D simulations. Options may be explored rapidly and accurately, it eliminates building several costly physical iterations, design for manufacture is optimised, right-first-time production made faster, and the work may be done collaboratively over the web, saving meeting time and travel.

Another bespoke benefit


ICEE Key Account Manager Chris Arnold points to another practical design feature: “The active cabinet we designed with Zzoomm consists of two distinct bays, one for power, the other for equipment. This clear separation makes it easier and simpler for a maintenance engineer to work. It cuts the risk of accidental damage and gets jobs done more efficiently.” To prevent unauthorised entry into a cabinet Zzoomm also required a high level of security, plus a way of monitoring and recording access by authorised engineers. “The locks and keys we sourced for Zzoomm are smart and incorporate Bluetooth wireless communications,” explains Chris Arnold. “The company’s management sends an engineer out to a cabinet and through Bluetooth-enabled keys and the engineer’s mobile phone, unlocks and locks the cabinet doors remotely and records job time. Full security is assured and the transmitted data helps streamline maintenance, provides an audit or traceability trail and ultimately, makes a positive contribution to business process productivity and profitability.”

Outcomes and tangible benefits


With all ICEE’s design, development and manufacturing resources, plus dependable installation and ongoing maintenance services, Zzoomm has gained an experienced and dependable partner. The customer also has full confidence, knowing ICEE will reliably and fully support its business growth plans. In short, the customer benefits from the provision of a complete and scalable support solution. This is vital as the ambitious ISP expands to other towns across the UK. Sven Huster concluded: “I was told by my colleagues ICEE would be a great partner to work with. I think everything I have seen so far supports that. First of all, they have the expertise on what we want to achieve, but they also have the relationships as well. “This is important because the cabinet is not just what they make, which is like a metal shell and so on, but it is a lot of things which then get put into the cabinet, which they source and help us put together in a useful way, so we have a durable and robust solution there. They have always been quick to respond and that reinforces the sense we have picked a good partner to work with us.”